Just before the first anniversary of her Grammy-nominated album “Punisher”, artist Phoebe Bridgers announced her upcoming North American tour. Tickets sold out almost instantly, and she certainly didn’t disappoint.
His stop in Indianapolis, when originally scheduled for the Egyptian Hall at the Old National Center, was at the TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park in favor of health checks and greater safety with the presence of coronavirus. Sitting by the river, this place offered many spaces to move around before, during and after the festivities; it was clean and provided plenty of cover in inclement weather. Even filled with teenagers and young adults wearing pink hair, Doc Martens, and skeletal clothing (a reference to the “Punisher” album), the stage was easily seen and the sound quality was impressive.
Bridgers’ opening was an all-girl pop group named MUNA, and they provided an electric and uplifting performance. For their set, the band kept the energy of the house going, and it was easy to dance to every song, regardless of prior 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 did MUNA tour with Bridgers for most of their tour, the two artists released a collaboration called “Silk Chiffon” the day before. This song completed their setlist and left a lasting and positive impression on the crowd.
As Phoebe Bridgers and her group entered, dressed in skeletal clothing, the crowd went wild. Almost immediately they started playing the popular hit “Motion Sickness” – a song that sounds just as good live as it does on your phone or computer. Continuing with the first five tracks from the “Punisher” album, Bridgers and his band led audiences through waves of emotions and musical themes. One of the hallmarks of Phoebe Bridgers’ music and lyrics is the treatment of mental illness and struggles in romantic and platonic relationships, which many of her fan base find heartwarming and affirming.
The rest of her show confirmed her status as a rising artist in the music industry; his voice flew throughout the room, heavy with emotion, his group added additional instrumentation that carried the effects of his words. The group’s stories and jokes gave audience members a sense of belonging and camaraderie. His set included the entire album “Punisher” with unfortunately (but naturally) only two songs from his first LP “Stranger in the Alps”.
Throughout the show, a projector displayed beautifully illustrated depictions of each song. With fairy lights wrapped around the instrument stands, decorated shelves behind the stage, and impressive light transitions across the setting, this show was a feast for the eyes. A final surprise was discovered 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 emotional turmoil, and the set design reflects that. The illustrations in the storybook seemed to catch fire and burn, the fog machines began to rage, and the lights began to flash and flash with oranges and reds. The descent into the chaos of the stage matched that of the song perfectly and was a great joy to the audience.
Overall, this concert showed that Phoebe’s folk rock sounds and poetic lyricism deserve more popularity among the mainstream. Besides her own music, she recently collaborated with Lorde on “Solar Power” and the Killers on “Runaway Horses”. Her fans should also expect to see her featured on Taylor Swift’s upcoming album “Red (Taylor’s Version)”.
Artist: Phoebe Bridgers
To visit: Phoebe Bridgers Reunion Tour
Site: TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park in Indianapolis, IN
Dated: September 8, 2021
Favorite performance: “I know the end”