Faye Webster enveloped the crowd in a melodrama-infused performance, marked by her distinctive indie-folk sound. As she graced the stage, her presence exuded a captivating blend of vulnerability and confidence. Kicking off with “But Not Kiss,” the lead single from her fifth studio album, Underdressed at the Symphony, the audience was swept into a whirlwind of emotion, unprepared for the depth of feeling Webster brought to the live experience.

In her 10-track album, Underdressed at the Symphony, Faye Webster masterfully balances brevity with emotional depth, delivering a collection of songs that are concise yet rich in sentiment. With tracks like “Thinking About You” and “Lifetime”, both performed during her show, Webster invites listeners into her world of introspection and longing. She revels in the instrumentation, keeping the lyrics simple yet staying true to her wispy tone.

Intriguingly, during her performance, Webster integrated rock elements into her music, all while staying anchored to her Fender Mustang PJ Bass. The combination of these rock influences and her unwavering commitment to her dreamy yet vulnerable vocals created a captivating experience for the audience. Amidst the dramatic guitar breaks and drum solos, she managed to maintain an ethereal quality in her singing.

What fascinated me most was how she artfully layered various sounds onto her seemingly straightforward four-chord songs. It’s as if she conjured incantation from simplicity. Surprisingly, music theory played a minimal role in her songwriting process. Instead, she allowed her compositions to grow from the depths of her emotional contemplations. This approach lent an authentic and raw quality to her music, resonating with listeners profoundly.

Webster’s fusion of technical mastery and emotional openness stands as a resounding testament to her artistry. Beneath the sun-kissed guitar melodies interwoven with synth, she weaves a poignant tale of unrequited love in her fifth performance of the evening: “Better Distractions.” Despite the mellifluous timbre of her voice and the haunting melancholy embedded in the lyrics, the atmosphere was electric, energies soaring.

Webster spent little time transitioning from song to song, and kept audience interaction to the minimum side, most likely due to preparation for her Coachella performance that took place a day after. However, that did not diminish the impact of her performance. As I glanced around, I witnessed groups of friends and couples embracing, their eyes fixed on Webster, each person absorbed in their emotional journey. It was a testament to her ability to connect on a deeply personal level, transcending mere performance to create a shared moment of catharsis.The encore consisted of her more popular tracks, including “Kingston”, knitting together nostalgia and longing. A duet with her best friend and bassist, Luna, titled: “Feeling Good Today”, was certainly the pièce de résistance and a testament to their lasting bond. So much so, it seemed as if the audience was intruding, interrupting a vulnerable moment shared between the two lifelong friends. Throughout her entire set, Faye remained steadfast in her invitation for the audience to join her on a journey of introspection and vulnerability, solidifying her performance as an unforgettable experience.

All Photos by Tasjanei Ballard (2024)