Chelsea Wolfe @ Rough Trade East, London, 22nd April 2024

As a music fan, it should hopefully come as no surprise that I would have a bucket list of artists I would want to see perform at least once before I die. In my time I would say I have witnessed easily ninety percent of my list, in one venue or another.

Everyone from The Gathering, to Metallica, via Alice In Chains, Jack White, and Mono, but there are still artists who I still to catch performing in a live setting, before the opportunities run out.

Chelsea Wolfe @ Rough Trade East, London, 22nd April 2024 – Photo by Lee Beamish

Top of that list in recent times has been both Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Ruth Rundle, and while one is still eluding me, the other I had the opportunity to catch on Monday evening in London, in an incredibly intimate location, to a very small audience. Considering the previous days leading up to it she played Roadburn Festival, and then a sold out show at Heaven in London too, there was, however, still time to wow fans in a very niche setting.

Rough Trade East in London was the location, and it was a very special night indeed, entitled An Evening With Chelsea Wolfe: Acoustic + Signing, the capacity was limited to three hundred, so access was incredibly limited, and I had the opportunity to be there to catch it all, on behalf of The Sleeping Shaman.

Over the course of the evening, I got to witness Chelsea perform, and then meet the artist too, which was an absolute honour for me. It was very much a memorable evening, one which I won’t be forgetting for the rest of my existence.

Being early to the venue gifted me the opportunity to get to within the first few rows for this intimate performance, and a prime view to watch Chelsea perform with little restriction at all.

Chelsea Wolfe @ Rough Trade East, London, 22nd April 2024 – Photo by Lee Beamish

Coming on stage at eight, and promptly reaching for her acoustic guitar, Chelsea opened with a couple of classic tunes and fan favourites from previous albums, before unveiling several tracks from her latest release She Reaches Out To She Reaches Out To She.

It was a truly captivating performance, and as each new track unfolded, Chelsea poured herself into the experience, making it seem effortless, yet at the same time being absolutely full of emotion. Stripped back versions of tracks such as Whispers In The Echo Chamber were a revelation, and the whole experience was so intoxicating, that I never wanted it to end.

Getting to hear acoustic variations of tracks such as The Liminal and Everything Turns Blue was wonderous, and with a low-key last third comprising of Chelsea’s vocal, and a minimal key driven soundtrack, the whole evening was simply magical. Seeing new album closer Dusk performed acoustically was, for me, the whole pinnacle of the entire experience, and when it aired, it was completely overwhelming, and left me utterly speechless.

Chelsea Wolfe @ Rough Trade East, London, 22nd April 2024 – Photo by Lee Beamish

Having watched a version online I knew it would be something special, but I wasn’t in any way ready for just how much. Throughout the whole set, Chelsea made it all look so effortless, and any fatigue from having been so busy for the few hours, and days before this performance was barely noticeable.

Such is the artists’ aura and mystique, that even meeting briefly after the performance, it still hasn’t, even now, days later, fully sunk in that I got to both witness a performance by, and then meet, the enigma that is Chelsea Wolfe.

This year is the year of Chelsea Wolfe for me, after reviewing the latest album, and then being at an intimate acoustic show, and meeting the artist too, the next time I will be sharing the same hemisphere as Chelsea will be in London in October, at the Koko. I am already counting the days, it won’t be such a low-key event, but I can guarantee it will be a phenomenal experience to behold, nonetheless.

Words & Photos by: Lee Beamish