If there’s one thing about me, it’s that if Phoebe Bridgers is playing in New England, I will be there.
After catching her Reunion Tour leg in Boston last fall, Phoebe’s team was nice enough to let me check out her show in Portland, Maine this past week, and I couldn’t have been happier to take a trip back home to see her play Thompson’s Point.
Up first was singer/songwriter Claud, the premiere artist to be signed to Phoebe Bridgers’ label, Saddest Factory Records. Known for their relatable writing style and bedroom-pop sound, Claud did not disappoint live. Their performance included some of their best, including crowd favorites “Soft Spot” and “Cuff Your Jeans”, and immediately won over the crowd with their charming energy and iconic electric green guitar in hand.
One of the coolest things about seeing an artist multiple times is seeing them grow alongside you. A lot has happened in my life since I last saw Phoebe, and I can tell from an outsider perspective that things have more than changed for her as well. With Grammy nominations, a Taylor Swift co-sign, and a MET gala appearance dotting her calendar in the last nine months alone, there’s no denying Bridgers has carved herself a sizable niche in the spotlight.
Though a lot has changed, some things stay the same. The singer/songwriter's humility and wit was on full display as she interjected her tracks with clever one liners and banter with her bandmate and co-writer Marshall Vore throughout the set. The same wit can be felt in virtually any of Bridger’s tracks; her songwriting style perfectly mixes dreamy vocals with cutting and heavily-charged lyrics. Her latest album Punisher especially excels in this balance, creating a somber, sometimes apathetic, sound while keeping her tongue firmly planted in her cheek.
I’ve said it before, but Phoebe’s live performances are really just something you need to witness firsthand. The range of emotions in her performance and striking; gentle dreamy vocals turn over and give way to powerful and emotional belts, and solo guitar strums to a raucous cacophony of sound. Bridgers played through the entirety of her 2020 album, Punisher, in order during the set, with interjections of tracks from her debut album, Stranger in the Alps, including "Motion Sickness", “Smoke Signals”, “Funeral,” and "Scott Street". As she played, storybook illustrations paired with each song to give audiences an even deeper look at each of the Punisher tracks, ending with a pop-up house catching fire to the screams of “I Know The End”. To close the show, Bridgers stood alone and gave the audience a choice between hits “Georgia” and “Waiting Room” as a stripped back encore, with “Georgia” winning out for the night.
And just like that, another Phoebe show was in the books for me. If you haven’t caught the tour yet, there are a few more US dates before the tour makes its way to the UK and Europe for the rest of the summer, and I would highly recommend checking out a show if you can.
Huge thank you again to Phoebe’s team for having us out, until next time!
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