Less than an hour (depending on traffic) from the Pasadena Farmers Market where she used to perform, Phoebe Bridgers entered the Greek Theater for the first of two sold-out nights, as the Returning Heroine from his hometown. Dressed in what has become their official-unofficial uniform, the skeletal bodies of Bridgers and his group were a collection of ghostly figures guessing all the mighty doldrums of his genius confessionals. Opening with the frenzied lows of “Motion Sickness”, a visceral song that follows Bridger’s exceptional skill / burden of writing moving hymns drawn from his own deep wounds.
She then slipped into her second album punisher, slyly playing the album in its entirety with the occasional interlude of past sobs in “Smoke Signals” and “Funeral”. Its cavernous soundscapes, sometimes supported only by a few precise hits of the guitar and Bridgers’ own heavy-souled lyricism (“Garden Song”) and sometimes propelled by bass rumbles and bugle calls (“Kyoto” ), found fiery amplification on the stage of the Greek Theater. The orchestral textures that surround his gutted words are rarely relegated to the background – with songs like “Savior Complex” and “I Know the End” resounding in resounding pity.
Charlie hickey opened the night for Bridgers – whose attention he caught when he was 13 when he sang one of his songs. Playing since its beginnings Counting the stairs EP, Hickey leans his guitar to eliminate the existential angst that has already built up in him. Like Bridgers, his songs meander through gutted melancholy, composed of his dreamy chirps and the distorted moan of scattered guitars.