Bishop Briggs | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN
With CHAMPION on the horizon, Bishop Briggs treats fans to a dynamic set at the Fillmore Philly
Bishop Briggs appeared before her audience at the Fillmore Friday night enveloped in an orb of smoke. Head shaved, cheekbones highlighted, and dressed in a reflective gray tracksuit, she was the love child of an endearing glow worm and Dr. Evil. The 27-year-old opened her Champion tour with the unreleased album’s redemptive title track “CHAMPION” while sprinting around the stage and jumping in place. Accompanied by apocalyptic bass and a generous amount of strobe lights, she then transitioned into her ominious yet upbeat song from Church Of Scars, “Wild Horses.”
Though Briggs’ stage presence was that of a zealous boxing instructor, it was not at the expense of her vocal delivery. Bishop Briggs voice is heroic without sounding overworked. She matches the same level of vocal prowess demonstrated on recorded tracks, resolutely belting demanding choruses such as those in “Hi-Lo (Hallow),” “The Way I Do,” and “The Fire.” Briggs also knows when to embrace the quieter moments. Her voice was velvety and humble in the verses of “Be Your Love” and “Dark Side,” able to captivate the crowd through her dynamic tone.
Channeling the angst of an adolescent having a full-blown fight with their parent in Hot Topic about whether purple hair is age-appropriate, Briggs sang a mid-set pop punk arrangement of “Stressed Out,” “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” and “Black Parade.” In her post-song banter, Briggs said she wrote down the lyrics to “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots at 3 a.m. and soon realized she could live out every emo kid’s dream of emulating Brendon Urie circa winged sideburns.
Bishop Briggs was especially eager to sing her new single “JEKYLL & HIDE,” co-written with her friend K. Flay. Featuring a synth organ and silvery vocals, the song is a timely spooky bop that interrogates two-faced “fuckboys.” While “JEKYLL & HIDE” rebuffs schemers, Brigg’s songs “Baby” embraces a man who is flagrantly volatile and bad. “Yeah he’s fuckin’ crazy but he’s still my baby,” she roared. “Sometimes I run my fingers through his hair / Think of the crazy shit that’s under there” – presumably she was talking about more than the dandruff that builds up from unstable men’s use of two-in-one shampoo.
Bishop Briggs gushed about conspicuously waving her tampon in front her female openers, Miya Folick and Jax Anderson, and wrapped up her set with a throbbing performance of “River.” Check out photos from the show below; CHAMPION is out on Island Records on November 8th.