Zola Jesus wasn’t judged by a celebrity panel on a reality tv show. Her powerful and operatic vocals are not what flavor of the week hit radio singles are made of. For these reasons, a lot of people in the United States will never know the musical excellence that is Zola Jesus. But how success is measured depends on the individual. Zola Jesus is building a fanbase that will stick with her throughout her career, fans like filmmaker David Lynch. In a relatively short amount of time, she has gone from playing small clubs to larger venues and theaters. On March 1, 2012 she played one San Francisco’s finest venues: The Great American Music Hall. Last time I saw her, she had a live drummer with her that brought a new energy to her songs. On this run, she brought with her a live violinist which helped bring a human touch to music otherwise made up of computerized and electronic sounds. Her set consisted of her new album Conatus in its entirety along with older songs like “Night,” “Stridulum,” “Sea Talk,” and “Poor Animal.” The highlight of the evening was when Zola came out to play the first encore, the song “Skin” with her on keyboard and vocals accompanied by violin. There is an energy and honesty to her performances that are nothing short of captivating. Throughout the course of four songs I captured these images. But the only real way to know what Zola Jesus is like live you need to experience it firsthand. See a full color gallery of Zola Jesus after the jump!