April 30th, 2018 | Live reviews

Photos by Leslie Kalohi Words by Kristy Landis

“The first time I played here, I was 16 and I made some questionable fashion choices.” It’s hard to imagine that the polished musician on stage could have ever been a teenager with dyed black hair and ripped fishnets. While her former LA punk band Sloppy Jane is still kicking, Phoebe Bridgers is kicking it down another road, which led her to headline the Troubadour. But don’t let her angelic looks fool you – her lyrics pack just as much punch as the music in the punk scene where she got her start.

Bridgers played an electric show for a sold-out crowd. A full band decked out in black suits joined her on stage to create a fuller, more dynamic sound than she has had at previous shows in LA. Like her earlier shows, the star of the night was Bridgers’ vocals, her voice clear and intense and the lyrics full of emotional honesty, but the band supported her sound and found their own moments to shine. The set was bookended by singles off her new album, Stranger in the Alps, but Bridgers interspersed the setlist with covers and appearances by some special guests.

In the middle of the show, Bridgers surprised the packed house by inviting two musicians to join her on stage. Right before jumping into the next song, she casually asked “her friend Conor” to come up with her. Conor Oberst came on stage to sing “Would You Rather” with Bridgers, which he also contributes to on her latest record. Oberst stayed around to play a great cover of “Double Joe” by Simon Joyner and came back with some friends at the end of the show to make “Scott Street” one of the most memorable songs of the night. But one special guest wasn’t enough. We received another treat when Noah Gundersen, Bridgers’ self-proclaimed “friend and worst enemy,” joined her to play a beautiful version of her song “Killer,” which the two also recently released as a single.

Lomelda, a Texas based singer songwriter, started off the night by playing a one woman show. She accompanied herself on guitar and drum machine, though the machine caused some technical difficulties for her throughout the set. But those issues allowed her to play some new songs that we otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to hear. It was a loose, casual set, but it highlighted Lomelda’s beautiful vocals and simple, emotional lyrics which dovetailed perfectly into Phoebe Bridgers’ music.

This was a special concert for Bridgers – a hometown show and the last night on a long tour. Bridgers’ city came out to support her this weekend. As she put it, “Everyone I know is here tonight.” That everyone even included her mom, who got a shout out for driving her to “more concerts than she actually went to,” a sacrifice that definitely seems to have paid off.

It was crowded in the small venue and the show felt both casual and intimate, like old friends getting together to hangout. And that vibe of friendly nostalgia was only reinforced by the last song in the encore, a gleeful cover of Sheryl Crow’s “If It Makes You Happy.” While Phoebe Bridger’s music isn’t exactly happy and she takes you on an intense emotional journey with each song, she ended the night by asking us all, “why the hell are you so sad?”

You can read our interview with Phoebe Bridgers here.

Smoke Signals
Would You Rather (with Conor Oberst)
Double Joe (with Conor Oberst) (Simon Joyner cover)
Demi Moore
Waiting Room
It’ll All Work Out (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cover)
Motion Sickness
Scott Street
You Missed My Heart (Mark Kozelek & Jimmy LaValle cover)
If It Makes You Happy (Sheryl Crow cover)