Los Angeles singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers has enjoyed a banner 2017, and she wrapped up the year with a hometown show at the new Highland Park venue, the Lodge Room on Saturday.
Bridgers has been riding the success of her stellar debut record Stranger In The Alps (which got its name from Jeff Bridgers classic film The Big Lebowski — Google it), which has landed on many critics’ year-end best albums lists (SPOILER: it will be on mine).
Bridgers treated Saturday’s show like it was a very special one. There was a Stranger In The Alps photo opportunity, limited edition posters for the show, and she even had people handing out candles commemorating the show afterwards. I actually bumped into her a few days earlier at Julien Baker’s show at the Palace Theater — a case of real recognizing real.
I first saw Phoebe Bridgers open for Julien Baker last year at the El Rey, and caught her play a set at KCRW’s studios for Morning Becomes Eclectic. At the KCRW set, she brought a full band with her, which really added even more depth to the sound behind her haunting and heartbreaking lyrics. At the Lodge Room, she had the same band assembled behind her, and the sound really filled the room nicely.
Bridgers brought out collaborator and friend Conor Oberst to perform a few songs, including their duet from Stranger In The Alps called “Would You Rather”, which was written for Bridgers’ brother (who was also walking around dressed in a Santa costume). Seeing Oberst nearly caused a girl near me to faint. Conor Oberst has a sold-out New Years Eve show at the Lodge Room, ironically enough. I expect Bridgers to make an appearance.
Bridgers was funny between songs. As she did at KCRW, she mentioned that closing song “Motion Sickness” was about Ryan Adams, which made me think of this interview she did with Vulture where she said “The guy who ‘Motion Sickness’ was pretty much entirely about was basically like, ‘fuck you.’ And he blocked me on Instagram.” I took a look and found that Ryan Adams now follows her on Instagram again, so it seems like the two made up.
She performed her cover of Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters fame’s “You Missed My Heart” in her encore, and it was a slowed-tempo haunting version of the song. I always loved that Kozelek song (and am a big fan of him as a songwriter) and she did the song justice.
I’m hopeful that we will see Bridgers on a number of festival bills in 2018 (though tour dates rule her out for Coachella 2018). Her album has been in heavy rotation for me since it dropped and she’s proven she’s as strong of a songwriter as we have in Los Angeles.
Photos courtesy of Joe Calixto