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If Mazzy Star’s sound wasn’t so captivating, the mood at The Wiltern could’ve gotten dreary. With a stage lit by only a few scattered and flickering candles and little spotlight added on Hope Sandoval, the singer and the five members of the band were seen as mostly silhouettes against a backdrop of a swirling night sky.
Sandoval led the audience in hushed renditions of songs from across veteran group’s discography on Thursday night. It wasn’t until after the tenth song of the set, the 1994 hit “Fade Into You,” that the singer addressed the crowd with a brief whispered thank you. Later, she appeared to softly critique crowd members holding up glowing cell phones — which seemed to shine even brighter due to the intentionally dim stage light.
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The group, currently on a West coast tour, released the well-received Seasons of Your Day in late September, their first since 1996’s Among My Swan. The set drew four songs from the new album, which fit in seamlessly with older favorites like “Blue Flower” and the acoustic “Into Dust,” the latter of which received some of the loudest applause during the evening.
Throughout the set, the band stayed hunched over their instruments and Sandoval, aside from tapping a tambourine or playing harmonica, stood at the same place on center stage. But audience members who knew what they were in for didn’t mind. Two decades after the group’s first releases, the singer’s vocals sounded almost identical to what was heard on So Tonight That I Might See (1993).
For the band’s encore, Sandoval took the stage to perform the first single from Seasons, the aching “California,” one of the album’s more immediate songs. She ended with the poetic, spoken-word “So Tonight That I Might See” as the backdrop images sped up into ever-shifting medallions and symbols.
With that, many in the crowd thought that the set had ended and streamed for the exits. The band returned to the stage for a second time to perform a matter-of-fact version of “I’ve Been Let Down” and promptly left again as the house lights returned.
The concert openers included Mariee Sioux, a singer-songwriter who performed folk melodies like “Love Skulls” and “Twin Song” on acoustic guitar. She was followed by the Entrance Band, a psychedelic rock trio that included warbling vocals, fuzzy guitar riffs and a bassist who stole the stage from the lead singer with some dance moves.
Look Down From the Bridge
In the Kingdom
Lay Myself Down
Ride It On
Does Someone Have Your Baby Now
She Hangs Brightly
Fade Into You
So Tonight That I Might See
I’ve Been Let Down
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