A spattering of Edison bulbs dot the stage as the band makes their way out to take their places. Dressed in sleek matching black suits, they settle in as Phoebe Bridgers joins them. There is a light that shines from Bridgers, in beautiful juxtaposition to her sweetly sorrowful sound. Her music carries a maturity that seems heavier and much older than her twenty-three years. It is melancholy and it is soul-baring, and maybe that is why Bridgers has garnered such a fervent following. While her voice is soft and sorrowful, it is also commanding. Each time she opens her mouth, the Troubadour becomes entirely still and nearly silent, aside from the uproarious cheers that follow the end of each song. She captivates and mesmerizes.
Bridgers mentions the time she paid to play The Troubadour – when she was sixteen. Fast forward to 2018, the pay to play days are over and she is playing to a truly sold out venue, there is hardly room to move in the whole place. She introduces “Steamroller” as a “song about someone I barely even know anymore” and her voice carries such a beautiful sorrow, seeped to the core and never lets up. She has a request for an older song, “Waiting Room” and introduces it with “I don’t know, dude..” and explains that she hates the version on the internet, because, “as a millennial your seventeen-year-old friend gets a hack of pro-tools” and you record it in their garage, you don’t get “cool 4-track demos”.
Early on in the show, Bridgers invites her friend Conor to join her on stage. Conor as in Conor Oberst. Oberst performs a couple of songs with Bridgers, including their Stranger in the Alps duet, “Would You Rather”. Their voices compliment each other so well, like the vocal equivalent of a dance. Conor was not the only special guest on the bill. Noah Gundersen of The Courage lent his vocals to a couple of songs as well, and it is clear Bridgers can hold her own next to seasoned industry veterans. Their voices melding together – but never getting lost, only weaving together to equally create a more beautiful whole.
If Phoebe Bridgers isn’t on your radar yet, she should be and she will be. Over the summer, Bridgers is playing various music festivals and will be supporting The National this Fall for their Los Angeles shows.