Live Review: Phoebe Bridgers @ The Anthem — 6/11/22

Phoebe Bridgers performs at The Anthem on June 11, 2022. (Photo by Katie Child)

Phoebe Bridgers has become Generation Z’s favorite emotional and musical translator.

L.A.-based indie-pop singer/songwriter Phoebe Bridgers mended the gap between indescribable, depersonalizing thoughts and a beautifully crafted blend of lyrics and melody, joining the two in her immaculate discography, in a thrilling performance at The Anthem in DC recently.

Bridgers is highly acclaimed for not only her catchy, audibly pleasing music, but also, perhaps more strikingly, her painstakingly relatable lyrics. Bridgers’ witty, yet realistic, glass-half-empty attitude, in many ways, helped validate feelings that her fans have experienced in the first of two sold-out shows at The Anthem on June 11. Hearing such raw, perfectly placed words, tied together seamlessly with equally emotional music, hit especially hard for many of her listeners. This incredible skill of hers separates her from a lot of other artists in her genre.

Opening for Bridgers on June 11 was indie-pop up-and-coming star Claud. Leading the LGBTQ+ community towards increased representation in music, Claud has topped indie charts with their hits Soft Spot and Wish You Were Gay.

Claud set the stage for Phoebe with bright lights and a popping digital display in the background, reading a simple but aesthetically fitting “Claud.” Claud warmed up the sold-out crowd as late-comers trickled in off of Wharf Street SW. They wonderfully complemented Phoebe’s more muted performance style.

Tensions rose as time ticked toward Phoebe’s entrance. Fog machines hazed the stage and the band dispersed, catching the fog in their swift movement and further tossing the smokey film across the wide set. Dim but saturated lights glinted off of each other and the audience thundered with anticipation and energy as it bounced off of fans and spread like a wildfire throughout the venue. Phoebe emerged and led the crowd straight into her top-charting song, “Motion Sickness.”

Watch the official music video for “Motion Sickness” by Phoebe Bridgers on YouTube:

In her set at The Anthem, Phoebe played a handful of songs from her debut solo record, Stranger in the Alps, and she heavily favored her 2020 sophomore album, Punisher.

Phoebe wore one of her wardrobe staples: a skeleton-beaded, high-necked tank top, while she displayed her platinum blonde hair (as she always does.) Phoebe, of course, pours her heart, soul, and creative identity into her songs, and showed no less effort toward each aspect of her live performance. Beautiful and intricate drawings and animations lined the stage during each song, skillfully accompanying each poetic verse.

Bridgers brought all the emotion out to The Anthem this past weekend. Though her songs are emotional and carry quite some weight in their sometimes heartbreaking themes, Bridgers is never too shy to lighten the mood with a joke or two.

Phoebe closed her set fittingly with “I Know the End” from Punisher and returned for a one-song encore deep cut of “Waiting Room.”

Watch the official music video for “I Know the End” by Phoebe Bridgers on YouTube:

The superstar welcomed her fans with open arms and stories from her past, further contextualizing the music which she played. The way Bridgers empathized and communicated so freely with her listeners was strikingly magnetic, and witnessing her ability to unite a room, with such speed and ease, was a pleasure, to say the least.

Setlist:
Motion Sickness
DVD Menu
Garden Song
Kyoto
Punisher
Halloween
Smoke Signals
Funeral
Chinese Satellite
Moon Song
Scott Street
Savior Complex
ICU
Sidelines
Graceland Too
I Know the End
Waiting Room

Here are some photos of Phoebe Bridgers performing at The Anthem on June 11, 2022. All photos copyright and courtesy of Katie Child.

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