At her November 1st performance at the Wiltern in DTLA, Bishop Briggs radiated confidence. After an ingenious video introduction inspired by the visuals of old-school arcade games, Briggs ran onto the stage in a neon-yellow suit and white mask. Her getup and shaved head made her look more post-apocalyptic heroine than pop star – an impression that intensified as soon as she launched into the first song of the show: this year’s “Champion.” Anthemic and energetic – with lyrics that speak of crawling back from the lowest places – it was a perfect opening. Briggs’ performance of the song sold the sentiment, and when she belted the chorus “I’m a champion,” I could believe it.
Next was “Wild Horses,” in a rendition that cast off any ties to pop and reveled in its own dark electricity. This was the case with many of the next songs: Bass levels were pumped up high and Briggs fully embraced the growl in her voice, leading to presentations that sounded quite different from their studio-recorded counterparts. Even softer and more sultry numbers like “Dark Side” and “White Flag” had a prevalent EDM vibe that jived well with Briggs’ aesthetic.
In an impressively courageous decision, she also sang excerpts from songs that were an inspiration to her – My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade,” and “Stressed Out” by Twenty-One Pilots. Both of these are well-written and culturally significant, and other artists might have had concerns about them overshadowing any original songs performed. But Briggs had no such qualms, even confiding to the room how she sometimes wishes in the middle of the night that she were Twenty-One Pilots or My Chemical Romance.
She displayed this vulnerability a few times throughout the night, with a speaking manner vastly different from the way she sang. Coming across as breathless and girlish, almost giddy, she shared more personal parts of her life: the way her sister screens reviews before letting her read them, and her anger at an ex-boyfriend.
Whipping out her hit single “River” to finish the show, Briggs was back to her edgy, boisterous self. She bounced enthusiastically as the audience sang along under a spray of red confetti.