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  • Julia Soulsby

Fellowship of the Nose Rings: The Wild Hearts Tour at the Salt Shed

So, like, what is The Salt Shed?

Chicago is not a stranger to new and unique art experiences popping up across the city; The Salt Shed is no exception to this idea. Created from the vision of repurposing the (not-so-recently) decommissioned Morton Salt factory—yes, the salt with the umbrella girl on it—The Salt Shed has officially opened its doors to the public after a long-anticipated building stage. Christening the gorgeous outdoor stage of the venue were the highly esteemed “jazz” performers Makaya McCraven, Sons of Kemet, and Nubya Garcia (I put “jazz” in quotations in an effort to not put these musicians in any sort of box that limits what they are actually producing). I had the opportunity to attend the opening night on my own accord, and let me just say that I was extremely impressed by what the venue was able to put together. My hopes and expectations were high when I was told I would also be able to attend The Salt Shed’s third ever show on behalf of UIC Radio, with Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, Julien Baker, and Quinn Christopherson performing that night.

Doc Martens, septum piercings, and PBR

The crowd for this show was pretty much exactly what you would expect it to be for the Wild Hearts Tour—lesbians and dudes who are deeply in touch with their emotions. The ages ranged from around 14-45, which I personally thought was pretty cool. Usually shows like these have a distinct age demographic that is fairly directly met, but I was pleasantly surprised by the variety.

There were several different vendors that night, including food, clothing, music, and anything in between. Some of the food vendors claimed to be “Chicago’s Best,” which I am honestly not buying, but I didn’t stop to get anything, so that will ultimately be up to you to decide. Reader’s choice, if you will. The lines to get merchandise were long, but you can see and hear the stage from practically anywhere in the outdoor space, so it seemed to me that most people didn’t mind waiting. There were multiple places to get drinks (of different alcoholic varieties) throughout the space, and if you’re smart about it, you won’t need to wait very long either. Between you and me, there are two places to get drinks stage left/house right, and the closer you get to the stage, the shorter the line will be. People tend to stand in line wherever the first entrance they see is located, but all you have to do is walk a little bit further forward and the line is practically nonexistent. UIC Radio readers, I hope you use this information wisely.

Julien Baker

Julien’s set was phenomenal. She has such a great stage presence, and the music is super tight. I won’t lie, I don’t think I saw her smile once during the show, but that also completely adds to the vibe that we were trying to achieve that night. Plus, she’s just so freaking cool. She began her set with a solo acoustic intro before the rest of the band entered the stage area and kicked ass. They all seemed so into the music; it was pretty refreshing to watch. Julien Baker is definitely one to look out for if you are on the hunt for interesting new music.

Sharon Van Etten

After the release of her latest album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, I was excited to see what she had to offer. I loved the record, but this was my first time seeing her live, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Immediately when she walked out on stage wearing a super decadent mirror-ball-esque shirt tucked into sleek black skinny jeans, I knew it was going to be a hell of a show. Songs Like I Used To (featuring Angel Olsen) and Come Back are all-timers in my mind now because of how beautiful the set was. Sharon Van Etten is just so cool.

Angel Olsen

One thing I will never forget about Angel’s set was when someone from the crowd yelled “I love you!” at her, and she responded with the deepest sincerity, “Then be with me. Step up to the plate b****.” The crowd went absolutely nuts. I went absolutely nuts. We all did. Angel Olsen is so damn cool (underlined for emphasis).

Angel and the band brought Sharon Van Etten back on stage for the encore to sing a few songs from the album they wrote together along with Julien Baker, Like I Used To. The final song of the set was a beautiful cover of Harry Nilsson’s Without You. I will conclude my review of Angel Olsen at The Salt Shed by stating that I had never cried at a concert until I heard that closing song. I really underestimated the power of a vocal duo like Sharon and Angel.

A Supermoon in Aquarius

So, basically, it was the perfect night for cathartic realism. With a full moon in Aquarius, we might want to run from our emotions, but Julien, Sharon, and Angel were there to grab us all by the collars of our funky-patterned button-ups and force us to feel all those things we chose to ignore. A supermoon just means these emotions are amplified. Lots of feelings all at once, and that’s such a cool thing to experience with 3,500 other people in one open space. I recommend checking out The Salt Shed if you get the chance, and scope out all the vendors I didn’t quite get the opportunity to vibe check. Grab a beer (or a different non-alcoholic drink if you’re not drinkin’ age) and enjoy some music. I wholeheartedly believe that The Salt Shed is at least worth checking out.


Julien Baker:

Sprained Ankle



Relative Fiction



Faith Healer




Sharon Van Etten:


Comeback Kid


Come Back

I’ll Try

Used To It



Every Time the Sun Comes Up




Angel Olsen:

Dream Thing

Big Time

Ghost On

Right Now

Shut Up Kiss Me


Go Home

All The Good Times


Like I Used To

Without You


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