Jessica from Denmark is a super fan and is always at the forefront of Phoebe Bridger’s European tour concerts. This evening in the Tempodrom for the last time. No need to be sad because this time the Los Angeles musician notices her devoted follower and says to her between songs, “You look familiar, what’s your name?”
That’s how the crowd gets to know Jessica – and it’s one of the many heartwarming moments of this hundred-minute show, which begins with Phoebe Bridgers setting herself a task: She only wants to tell stories about her songs that she’s never told on stage before. This is entertaining and gives the impression of experiencing something special.
About the origin of her piece “Kyoto”, the 27-year-old says that it was originally supposed to be about a relationship, but then became a song about her father. “Don’t freud me on that!” calls Bridgers, alluding to the founder of psychoanalysis, and starts their fine indie rock hit, which reaches a high level of euphoria in a matter of seconds.
A big part of that is trumpeter J.J. Kirkpatrick with his jubilant lines. He’s already one of the main attractions in the sound of the five-piece band, whose members all wear jumpsuits with skeleton prints.
Phoebe Bridgers mainly plays songs from her second album Punisher, which came out two years ago and earned her a Grammy nomination. It is characterized by quiet mid-tempo numbers, which gives the concert a certain uniformity.
Most of the tracks begin tentatively, then the band slowly layers more tracks on top of each other until they build into a powerful crescendo. She manages to do this very atmospherically on “Saviour Complex” or “Graceland Too”, in which drummer Marshall Vore plays the banjo next to Bridgers.
The two used to be a couple, wrote a lot of songs together and apparently still get along well. This is also evident during Bridgers’ sewing-box chats, in which she involves Vore on several occasions.
The singer and guitarist, dressed entirely in black, can only be recognized in these intermezzi, otherwise she disappears into the really beautiful light installations, which make the stage look like an enchanted forest, like a smoldering mountain landscape. The audience is moved, sings along a lot and sometimes even applauds in between.
At the end, Jessica may wish for the encore. Her choice falls on “Me And My Dog” by the trio Boygenius, in which Bridgers starred with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker. She sings it, only accompanied by her acoustic guitar – once again the hearts in the Tempodrom glow.