I went into Wednesday night’s Bishop Briggs show at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel with a lot of curiosity. I’ve seen the alt-pop singer blow people away at festivals all across the country, but Wednesday posed a different kind of task. Could she get a crowd into it at a seated venue?
That question was answered right off the bat when she came out on the stage. Seconds into her opening song “The Way I Do”, the entire crowd was on their feet. Bishop Briggs thanked the crowd for rocking with her, saying she wasn’t sure if she was going to have to ask the crowd to get to their feet. A couple of songs into the show, she was beaming.
“We are only two songs in and this is already the most magical night of my life,” she said to applause. “I’m not trying to jinx it but what I’m seeing is promising.”
She jumped into “Dark Side”, one of my favorite songs from her catalog. It’s dark and catchy (albeit slightly repetitive). It gets stuck in your head immediately. At this point in the show, she was skipping along the stage like a kid headed to recess.
She’s got a helluva voice, that’s for sure. She has the power of an Amy Winehouse, but can also deliver a harrowing whisper. Briggs also utilizes her voice the way EDM songs use drops, shouting the final bar of a verse before exploding into the chorus.
Another highlight of the show was “White Flag”, which just got great placement on HBO’s Hard Knocks football reality show. It’s a perfect sports metaphor that will probably find its way into highlight videos for years to come.
Bishop performed her version of the INXS classic “Never Tear Us Apart”. The song appeared in one of the 50 Shades films, she reminded the crowd. Her performance had a stripped-back approach and it really highlighted the strength of her vocals.
Before she played “Water”, she told a hilarious story. The singer talked about how she remembered playing a show to six people in LA that had a stripper pole. She utilized the pole in her performance and smelled urine when she was done. Bishop Briggs has come a long ways from playing to crowds that small — the Ace Theatre was packed.
“Wild Horses” had the crowd chanting along to the simple and anthemic chorus. Instead of walking off stage for an encore, she jumped into her final two songs. Her latest single “Baby” was met with a thunderous reception, which was then eclipsed by “River”, the song that blew her up.
Bishop Briggs is clearly going to be an alt-rock radio favorite for years to come. It’s impossible not to be happy for her and her 10000-megawatt smile. Her songs may be a bit dark, but it’s impossible not to leave a Bishop Briggs show with a big smile yourself.
Joywave provided a nice contrast with their electro-pop jams.
Photos by Betsy Martinez