It’s a rare chance when you get to see not one but two really exciting new musical voices on one stage. Starting off the evening was Soccer Mommy, which got its start as a solo showcase for the singer Sophie Allison. Now fleshed out with a full band and with the imminent arrival of their Fat Possum debut album Clean, Allison and her band mates took the stage captivating an already full house with their wistful and emotional pop songs. Live, the songs were a bit slower than their studio recordings but this actually rendered them even more powerful highlighting the singer’s striking voice. Allison’s songs are built on defiant strength but with a vulnerability that’s conveyed so strikingly by her beautiful ethereal vocals. You could see the crowd hanging onto her every word. Her cover late in the set of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” took an already wrenching tale of sexual tension and wrung even more heartache out of it. It was a lovely performance and the kind that should propel Soccer Mommy to be headlining shows in the very near future.
After a short set change and with the stage minimally lit save for a string of lights on the mic stand and drum kit, Phoebe Bridgers guitar in hand, launched into Smoke Signals, the first song off her late 2017 Dead Oceans debut Stranger in the Alps. For the next hour, her intimate and passionate brand of indie-folk sounded as good as could be in the confines of Music Hall’s top notch sound system and had the sold out crowd hanging on her every word. The 4th song of the night, “Would You Rather,” brought out as a surprise, Conor Oberst, who sings on the album track. There were other sweet surprises during the show. A cake and a crowd sing along of Happy Birthday for her drummer. For the set closer Scott St, Conor Oberst along with Soccer Mommy and other members of her touring crew joined Bridgers on stage along with giant balloons filled with confetti that were launched into the crowd. . The biggest surprise of the night though was the final encore, a rollicking cover of Sheryl Crow’s “If It Makes You Happy,” which brought everyone out once again and had the crowd ecstatically singing along. It was a joyous end to what was a great double bill of some exceptional new talent who will be playing much larger venues in no time.