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July 18, 2022
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Smoke, skeletons and sentiments: Phoebe Bridgers' terrific performance

The stage is framed by led-lighted black mountains. The piano seat is covered by a large pride flag. Minimalistic yet playful and eerie, Phoebe Bridger’s stage design set the tone for a performance rich in various emotions.

If like Paige Evans from “Crush”, sad lesbian music is an integral part of your identity, Phoebe Bridgers must take a lot of room in your 3am playlists. The artist known for her silver hair and spooky aesthetic passed by the Montreux Jazz this weekend to close the festival, and what a performance it was.

Though she started wearing skeleton jumpers because they were comfortable to perform in, they quickly became a symbol and a major part of her visual identity. As seen on the cover of her 2nd and last album, “Punisher”, skeletons always sneak in her performance fits, and none of her band members are exempted. Last night she was seen in a more polished version, with a sequin rib cage top under her black suit. With her glitter electric guitar, she opened her show with what became a sad girl anthem, “Motion Sickness”.

Phoebe Bridgers is known for her very specific yet oddly relatable song lyrics that fill your existential crises and trips looking through the window glass. Her rather short discography of only two albums is filled with iconic songs everyone sang in echo during the performance. If her charisma is quite electric, she stayed casual and friendly all along the show, walking to the public and listening to their requests. When one of the audience members gave her a sticker that read “You should be glad queers want equality and not revenge”, she outbid it and shared her desire for revenge. “I’m in my revenge era”, she said between two songs, after an important reminder of the abortion status in the United States, for which she invited “rich people that want to be cool” to donate to the Mariposa Fund.

The singer, musician, and songwriter hasn’t been releasing much music lately, but she has been touring the globe for the pleasure of all the sad queers out there. She hasn’t been inactive either, launching her own record label, Saddest Factory Records. The Elliott Smith-super fan has probably more in store for us, provided we’re patient enough. In the meantime, you can watch the music video of her newest single, "Sidelines", and check her next performance dates if you, too, want to cry on “I know the end”.

Pictures © FFJM 2022 Marc Ducrest

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