Concert Review: Ethel Cain at The Basilica

HUDSON – The rustic venue of The Basilica in Hudson, NY served as the perfect atmosphere for an Ethel Cain performance on October 5th. Helen Ballentine, better known by her stage name of Skullcrusher, set the stage perfectly with her folkly melancholic based tunes. Though she only performed a few songs, Skullcrusher was a nice addition to kick off the night. 

After Skullcrusher left the stage, electric and thrilling feelings of anticipation began to fill the grungy room. Moments before Cain took the stage, the audience’s excitement only built as the lights began to dim and hushes from the crowd circulated the air. The wait was finally over and a surge of euphoria washed over us. 

Cain opened with a fan-favorite titled “Strangers,” off her most recent album, Preachers Daughter. Ethel Cain is a storyteller, and though sometimes dark, the stories she tells through her lyrics are unmatched. “Strangers” is the last track on Preachers Daughter, and in it Cain’s voice possesses a haunting quality as her story ends after being engulfed in the fiery embrace of her cannibalistic lover amidst the synthy metal guitars. To fully understand and appreciate this specific story, it is essential to listen to Preachers Daughter from start to finish – the album is by far one of the best that has come out under the alternative genre in the past decade. 

As the night went on, Cain continued to leave her audience in awe with her performances of songs like “A House In Nebraska,” “Thoroughfare,” and “Gibson Girl” to name a few. Though each song’s live performance exceeded expectations, the fan favorite of the night had to have been Cain’s track, “American Teenager.” Diving into her pop side mixed with a hint of twangy vocals, Cain had the entire crowd singing along with her. 

After performing almost every song on Preachers Daughter with such deep emotion, Cain decided to give the audience just a little more. Fans cheered for an encore, and Cain delivered as she came out and sang her beloved song “Crush” off 2021’s Inbred. Cain put her all into this final performance as she rushed into the pit and interacted with fans all around. 

Ethel Cain is truly a showstopper in regard to her performance. Between her rich vocals, fantastic storytelling, incomparable stage presence, and fan interaction, Cain is an artist that everyone should get to experience live at least once in their lives. She put on a breathtaking show and left Hudson with a night to remember.

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