Phoebe Bridgers: Don’t be a stranger to her music
Anna Falk | Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Just before the one year anniversary of her Grammy-nominated album “Punisher,” artist Phoebe Bridgers announced her upcoming North American tour. Tickets sold out almost instantly, and she certainly did not disappoint.
Her Indianapolis stop, while originally scheduled for the Egyptian Room at Old National Centre, was held at the TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park in favor of health checks and greater safety with the presence of coronavirus. Sitting on the edge of the river, this venue offered copious amounts of space to mill about before, during and after the festivities; it was clean and provided lots of coverage in case of unfavorable weather. Even while filled with teens and young adults donning pink hair, Doc Martens and skeleton clothing (a reference to the “Punisher” album), the stage was easily visible and the sound quality was impressively high.
Opening for Bridgers was an all-female pop band named MUNA, and they provided an electric and invigorating performance. For their set, the band kept up the energy of the house, and it was easy to dance along to every song regardless of previous knowledge. They had no visuals with their performance, but that detail was easily forgotten with the quality of their playing and the atmosphere they were able to create. Not only is MUNA touring with Bridgers for most of her tour, but the two artists released a collaboration titled “Silk Chiffon” the day prior. This song rounded out their setlist and left a lasting and positive impression on the crowd.
Upon the entrance of Phoebe Bridgers and her band, clad in skeleton clothing, the crowd went wild. Almost immediately, they began playing the popular hit “Motion Sickness” — a song that sounds equally good in concert as it does on your phone or computer. Continuing with the first five tracks of the “Punisher” album, Bridgers and her band led the audience through waves of emotions and musical themes. One of the defining traits of Phoebe Bridgers’s music and lyrics is the addressing of mental illness and the struggles of romantic and platonic relationships, something that many members of her fan-base find comforting and affirming.
The rest of her show confirmed her status as a rising artist in the music industry; her vocals soared throughout the venue, heavy with emotion, her band added the extra instrumentation which carried the effects of her lyrics. The stories and banter from the group gave audience members a feeling of belonging and camaraderie. Her set consisted of the entirety of the “Punisher” album with regrettably (but understandably) only two songs from her first LP “Stranger in the Alps.”
Through the duration of the show, a projector displayed beautifully illustrated depictions of each song. With string lights wrapped around the instrument stands, decorated bookshelves in the background of the stage and impressive lighting transitions through the set, this show provided a feast for the eyes. A final surprise was uncovered with the ending song, “I Know the End,” a song about the apocalypse that contemplates the realities of current American culture. The last few minutes of the song consist of a fair amount of screaming and upheaval of emotion, and the set design reflected this. The storybook illustrations looked as if they were catching fire and burning, fog machines started to rage, and the lights began to flash and flicker with oranges and reds. The descent into chaos of the stage perfectly matched that of the song, and was a great joy to those in the audience.
Overall, this concert showed that Phoebe’s folk rock sounds and poetic lyricism are worthy of more popularity in the mainstream. Besides her own music, she has recently collaborated with Lorde on “Solar Power” and the Killers on “Runaway Horses.” Fans of hers should also expect to see her featured on Taylor Swift’s upcoming album “Red (Taylor’s Version).”
Artist: Phoebe Bridgers
Tour: Phoebe Bridgers Reunion Tour
Location: TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park in Indianapolis, IN
Date: Sept. 8, 2021
Favorite performance: “I know the end”