Bishop Briggs spoiled fans with an intimate Thursday performance at Hollywood speakeasy bar No Vacancy, stripping down hits and playing new tunes that stopped fans in their tracks. Briggs came off playing the first weekend at Coachella and she was noticeably pregnant, with braids hanging to her shoulders and draped in a goddess-like white dress, like a mythological character or a modern-day Little Bo Peep.
“I’ve been watching you from above, I know that sounds weird”, declared Briggs when she came down to the stage. “Thank you for being here”.
The soulful “The Way I Do” opened the set, showcasing an effortless vocal, with power and control and her body leaning full-force into the lyrics. “Thank you so much”, said Briggs in a wee old woman’s British accent.
She was accompanied by guitarist Taylor Van Ginkel, with Briggs emphasizing the lyric give up the fight, give up the fight on the anthemic “White Flag”.
“I’m Bishop Briggs” and this is Taylor”. “It is so cool being here. As some of you know, and some of the people who work here know this story, I played shows around LA for six years and my peers always got here and I didn’t. This is a very special moment for little me. This is the coolest thing ever”.
Next was the catchy “Baby”, stripped down like all of the other songs, which Briggs introduced as the song about her “baby daddy” [Sir Sly’s Landon Jacobs]. “Baby” was delivered with so much flair and amusement, with several of Briggs’ memorable lyrics standing out such as doin’ stupid shit, and he drinks too much, but he looks good in leather so I don’t give a fuck and she took poetic license to close it with yeah he’s fucking crazy but I’m having his baby. The crowd was loving it and responded with wild applause.
Bishop Briggs is so immersed in her own performances and gives so much of herself; there were moments in her white dress that her ticks and facial expressions felt very much like The Exorcist (we promise in the best way possible! Bishop Briggs later told the crowd that the 1902 house was haunted). She was intensely into it on “Wild Horses”, and completely flipped the switch, amusingly mouthing the production/sound effects “yum yum yum yum yum” at one point.
She offered the first of two truly heartfelt performances, with the blues-rock “Tattooed on My Heart”, accompanied by Van Ginkel, who was now on the keys. Briggs’ lower register was really beautiful on the timeless piano anthem, especially on the bridge for the lyric you’re holding me down, down down.
“I want to say hi to the bartender back there”, said Briggs. “I looked at you a lot during that song. Not sure if we knew one another from a past life.” The crowd laughed because she knew she was being creepy, but sweet-creepy.
Like most of her songs, there was drama on “Jekyll & Hyde”, full of mystery, with Briggs embodying the character in the song, whispering Jekyll and Hyde-ing me like a magical little nymph —or again, like a sweet-creepy nymph.
“I was told there are a few ghosts who linger here, so when I was Jekyll and Hyde-ing me those were the ghosts”, said Briggs, followed by laughter from the audience.
“I Tried” offered a kind of 90s rock vibe, with Briggs’ lovely falsetto “ooh ooh oohs” and some powerful belted moments.
She took a minute to poke fun at her Scottish mother, but prefaced that she’s only good at the British accent and said, “If you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all” in her made-up-mother’s British accent. “She’s also in the play Oliver“. Briggs then dedicated “My Shine” to all of her exes, wailing powerfully on the lyric that’s my shot, pouring so much emotion into it and shouting that’s my shot again at the end.
Bishop Briggs introduced the next one “Never Tear Us Apart” as appearing in the Fifty Shades Freed movie, by sharing that her friend Christine called to tell her about the sync whispering “you know it’s in the butt plug scene?’ Humor aside, Briggs smashed the incredible INXS cover with so much conviction, it would make the late Michael Hutchence proud. “I didn’t connect the ‘buttplug’ and ‘tearing’ until now, but just use lube”, said Briggs.
The incredible night of Bishop Briggs music led to the heart-wrenching, tearful moment with a performance of the prayer-like “High Water”, co-written with rockstar performer and songwriter K. Flay who was in the crowd supporting her friend and collaborator. The emotional song illustrates the raw, lingering feeling of loss, since Briggs recently lost her dear sister to cancer. The faint piano carried the tune and it was nearly impossible not to get tearful or at least feel somewhat uncomfortable as Bishop Briggs delivered a most stunning vocal, with delicate moments juxtaposing others where she was wailing in misery. It was quite the sight to see —and hear, and one that was stirring and certainly deserved a hearty Bravo. The simple lyrics without you and I miss you were enough to take each attendee to another place of sorrow and regret. Briggs did a final bar or two of the chorus without the mic, letting her voice soar above the Hollywood Hills, the ghosts and everything in between. Massive applause followed and a “Bravo” could be heard somewhere among the crowd.
It seemed like any other song would be tough to follow, but Bishop Briggs offered two more in her arsenal, including inspiring 2022 tune “The Art of Survival”, with so much confidence. Bishop Briggs shouted her massive tune “River” with its bluesy, swampy guitar, while the crowd joined in on the chorus.