Written by Rosalie Cabison • Photography by Colleen Callahan, Live Nation • January 12, 2017
A wonderfully pregnant Aja Volkman played her set with a minimalist setup consisting of a chair, an acoustic guitar and a mic. This was her first time playing a show solo after a two-year break from her role as ferocious frontwoman of indie-rock power band Nico Vega. She debuted some soulful, bluesy solo material and we’re eager for her eventual return to the road. View glowing pictures of her set in all its glory and get the High Notes!
Above all else, the atmosphere was filled with infectious support for every act and the energy of the evening was less of a rock show, and more of a musical hangout. Whooping, cheering and even personal inside jokes rang out from the crowd. Right when I started to feel like I was among friends I have never met before, Aja said, “Let’s be real, these are all my friends here” while gesturing to the cluster of people surrounding the stage.
The biggest inside joke between Volkman and the crowd was her song “Husband,” an earthy tune where she pokes fun at herself about feeling lonely since her husband works all the time and can’t “play with her." Extremely relatable and even more funny when you learn the man she’s locking eyes with in the crowd while she sings happens to be Dan Reynolds of the multi-platinum rock group Imagine Dragons. Watch the fan-captured clip of the song:
Her last song was “Campfire,” which included a “la la la” section of the chorus that we happily sang all together for a warm ending to the set. When she took a bow, she pointed at her twin-carrying belly.
Stray observations: Aja’s vocal rasp over acoustic guitar is the most fulfilling sound I’ve heard in awhile
She smiles and shrugs while she strums the guitar and sings, making it feel like everything she says is so plain and matter-of-fact, like her lyrics are the truest words ever spoken.
Every song she played had emotional intent with a specific person and specific purpose behind it, which she shares candidly. From “Bother Me” about her stepdad and mom to “Disappear” about a beloved friend who is battling cancer (almost a tearjerker). Here’s the full setlist:
Fun fact: Aja returned to the stage later in the evening to perform and support headlining act Ray Little (aka Lauren Little, also a former frontwoman of the indie band Queen Caveat).