Who the fuck is Phoebe Bridgers? The skeleton onesie-wearing singer-songwriter female rocker was nominated for four GRAMMYs in 2020, including ‘Best New Artist’ and ‘Best Alternative Album’ for sophomore full-length release, Punisher. Needless to say, Phoebe Bridgers is one to keep an eye on!
Over the course of the pandemic, Bridgers dominated late night TV, appearing on shows like SNL, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and more. On Saturday, October 16th, I finally had my chance to see her live, as I made my way up to Berkeley’s Greek Theater for her sold-out show. It had been years since I’d been to Berkeley and I did not know that the venue was located on the campus of UC Berkeley! Upon arrival, the lines must have gone on for miles in both directions and I figured there was a school function until I started seeing people in the lines wearing skeleton clothing.
That’s when I knew that this was going to be a BIG show.
I made sure to get to the show early, due to the fact there was a secret opener. Who could it be? Rumor had it that it might be fellow Boygenius band mate, Julien Baker… Boygenius is a three-piece band, made up Lucy Dacus, Bridgers and Baker. Anticipation was at an all-time high, well before the lights dimmed. Some fans even had to be taken from the crowd, with the help of fellow concert-goers and security due to dehydration and exhaustion! I asked the people in the front row what was going on and they said that most of them have been waiting in line for the show since 9am! I couldn’t believe the dedication of these college students.
Finally, the lights dimmed and guess who walked out? Julien Baker! The crowd went absolutely nuts! Julien’s set consisted of songs mostly from her debut 2015 release, Sprained Ankle. Including the title track, she played “Blacktop”, “Good News” and “Something”. For the last song, Baker invited her friend Phoebe out to join her for a cover of Rufus Wainwright’s “One Man Guy”. It was a beautifully short and simple set, consisting of just Julien and her acoustic guitar. In just a few weeks, on November 6th, Baker will be returning with full band to headline at the Fox Theater in Oakland. There, you can undoubtedly catch them playing songs off the new album, Little Oblivions.
After a quick break for the stage to get prepared, it was finally time for Phoebe Fucking Bridgers!
Once again, the crowd went absolutely insane when the band came out and that iconic beginning guitar note from the song “Motion Sickness” rang out, followed by Phoebe herself. The Greek Theater in Berkeley is practically all cement and I cannot describe the song in the pit of the audience screaming along — it was phenomenal. Things got even crazier when she played the song that got her nominated for ‘Best Rock Song’ and ‘Rock Performance’, “Kyoto”. Bridgers’ connection with her audience and band was on fire. The audience screamed along to every word. Later in the set, Bridgers brought Baker back to join on songs from the new Punisher album, including “Graceland Too” and “I Know The End”. To close out the set, starting with just her acoustic guitar, Bridgers sang “That Funny Feeling” from Bo Burman’s hit new Netflix movie and brought out her band once more to end the show with a bang. All in all, Phoebe Bridgers is a hit, so definitely check her out if she comes to a town near you!
Photography by Katey Schoenberger