Phoebe Bridgers review – the cathartic indie superstar helps her young fans emotionally purge | Phoebe Bridger


YesYou can feel the screams ring out before you hear them. With her clever, self-deprecating approach to sadness, Phoebe Bridgers appeals to an audience that probably knows a thing or two about suppressed emotions. As fans weave in and get closer and closer to the stage, you get the feeling this is a show where more than just beer mugs will be left behind.

Given the abundance of TV performances and direct interviews that have charted Bridgers’ rise in the pandemic era, it’s easy to assume you might already know exactly what she’s talking about. Instead, the thrill of her performance in the flesh proves quite powerful. Rich with a contrarian wit, she breaks the fourth wall early, coming out to present supporting act Sloppy Jane. The screams are gospel, but they get really wild when she starts her own set, wearing a trademark skeleton dress and ribcage.

From the opening note of Motion Sickness, each song is punctuated with the enthusiasm of the school anthem, swelling even louder on the most provocative punchlines: “I hate your mother (USI), you know she’s been through this to get to this moment” (Graceland Too), “fuck the cops” (Smoke Signals). The latter is particularly exquisite, but is briefly interrupted for a member of the crowd who passes out, other fans calling “bingo!” once they are confirmed OK. It’s a dose of dark humor worthy of Bridgers, but quite accurate; fainting has indeed become a recent staple of his shows, an influx of young fans more determined to stay close than stay hydrated.

Burning down the house… Phoebe Bridgers. Photograph: Joel Goodman/The Guardian

To their credit, it’s a sight that’s pretty hard not to get lost in. Bridgers’ songwriting is often praised, but his accomplished vocals are on par, with trumpeter JJ Kirkpatrick adding cinematic gravitas. Its illustrated storybook displays are also deeply effective, allowing its ghostly themes to come to fruition. Ricocheting between teenage humor and crushing emotional blows, his conversation can be memorable (“Look at that bug bite I got on my ass! Anyway, this song is about death “), while other moments are genuinely poignant, inviting moments of heartfelt connection. . Ahead of Chinese Satellite, she reiterates her frustrations over the recent Roe v Wade decision, while closer, I Know the End actively encourages the crowd to shout their loudest, one last moment of emotional purging. Flames lick the picture book house behind it, evoking chaos and destruction and, ultimately, relief. Bridgers may just be a storyteller, but tonight she’s the guardian of 3,500 different exorcisms, our cries bringing us all one step closer to solace.

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