Phoebe Bridgers, Soccer Mommy pack powerful punch at Constellation Room

This past Saturday night had OC concertgoers all warm and fussy with an evening of strong female musicians — Phoebe Bridgers headlining the Constellation Room with Soccer Mommy opening things up.

It was the first night of tour for our emotional goddess Bridgers. Opening the night was Nashville singer-songwriter Soccer Mommy, the project of Sophie Allison — but no she’s not a soccer mom. If you enjoy musicians like Mitski and Jay Som then Allison’s music could very well be right up your alley. The 20-year-old has cultivated a solid following by recording songs from her bedroom and putting them out on Bandcamp.

Now with her debut full-length record Clean dropping March 2 via Fat Possum Records, she tours with her full band. I am super into this girl! She has everything I love about that “sad girl” music but adds her own unique twist which is definitely necessary and makes her stand out. She performed all of my favorites – “Henry” the somewhat mellow pop rock jam with lyrics that make you wonder who Henry is, and her second to latest single “Your Dog” — which feeds to the catchy melody-craving listeners such as myself. For a young woman, Sophie Allison writes these in-depth songs that touch on the fantasies going on in that brain of hers. She has super intelligent word play and I’m so glad we got to catch her on this special tour. You can catch her headlining her own show at The Echo on April 10.

Soccer Mommy

Without further ado, the lady of the hour made way onto the dimly lit stage. Having seen Phoebe Bridgers maybe seven or eight times now, this crowd stuck out with so many young women cheering like their favorite musician was in the same room as them. The other new additions took form in a bassist and keyboardist on the stage.

Bridgers’ band has grown from her original two sidekicks – Marshall Vore on drums, who she openly introduced as her ex-boyfriend, and Harrison Whitford, best friend, on guitar and pedal steel. She had the jam-packed room laughing as she introduced her band as “11 Reasons Why”. Regardless of the talented musicians alongside her, Bridgers is the ultimate standout performer.

This being the first show on her first-ever headlining tour, it held that much more special. Since the release of her debut full-length record Stranger In The Alps last September, the buzz on Phoebe hasn’t seemed to die down. Her songwriting is so rich and brutally honest, which I personally craze over.

Sticking with the flow of recent local shows, Bridgers brought out, as she referred to as her “associate” Conor Oberst. The two performed their sad-folk duet “Would You Rather” that is written for Phoebe’s younger brother. The evening carried on for about an hour and a half filled with more “bangers” as Phoebe likes to call her songs. She’s quite the character.

So much could be said about this incredible artist, but for 23 years old, let’s hope she’s just getting started. Her background is filled with many different influences, including the late and great Tom Petty, whose song “It’ll All Work Out” she beautifully covered towards the end of her set. The show ended with the track, “Scott Street”, which is about her home in Los Angeles. The performance was flawless and ended with giant balloons being tossed around! Until next time, this was definitely a show to remember.

Words and photos by Danielle Gornbein

Conor Oberst


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