Phoebe Bridgers @ Toyota Music Factory, Irving, TX

Words and photos by Scott Rowe
It's incredibly painful to think that Phoebe Bridgers' amazingly majestic release, Punisher, was released nearly two years before her show the Pavilion at the Toyota Music Factory in Irving. It's painful because the world has yet to hear these beautiful songs in a live setting because this pandemic has put the clamps on almost everything fun for the better part of two years. But an album such as Punisher is exactly the sort of medicine everyone needs during this hopefully one-in-a-lifetime stretch of bad luck we call the pandemic. Her rise from budding musician to indie superstar is well-deserved and her night in front of a sold out Pavilion was the icing on a cake, two years in the making.

As the lights went out inside the amphitheater, a song that may puzzled many of the fans sprayed out of the house speakers..."Down with the Sickness" by Disturbed. She was even given the rock start treatment, emerging from the back of the stage in a cascade of lights. But the opening notes of "Motion Sickness" left little doubt that this show was all about her catalog of music. In a full-length black dress with skeleton ribs adorned on the chest, she belted out the lyrics from one of her standout songs from the 2017 release, Stranger in the Alps. Together with her army of skeletons (her band), they captivated the audience with a strong, 17-song set that covered the entirety of Punisher and a select few from the aforementioned Stranger.

While the set's music was dynamic and provided a much needed escape from the world at large, it was Bridgers' banter and conversation that made some of the purest moments of the night. In the decisive world we live in, it's a breath of fresh air to have an artist who's not afraid to be absolutely frank and direct, who can provide honest context to one of the most hotly contested topics in American culture. Abortion. With the recently leaked opinion from the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, Bridgers called out the "old ass men in charge" and that the current state of the matter "fucking sucks" but there were ways to help. She expressed to her fans to help by donating to organization such as the Mariposa Fund or Planned Parenthood. Only a couple of weeks earlier, Bridgers acknowledged the she had an abortion in October the previous year and that everyone should have that access. Honesty in our world today is a rarity but Phoebe speaks nothing but the truth, so there's no better time to sit back and listen.

Photos of the show are below:

Phoebe Bridgers @ Toyota Music Factory, Irving, TX Phoebe Bridgers @ Toyota Music Factory, Irving, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on May 23, 2022 Rating: 5
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