Last Saturday, MisterWives and Bishop Briggs brought their co-headlining Don’t Look Down Tour to Atlanta’s historic Tabernacle. The Tabernacle, originally founded as a church and later converted to a concert hall, was an appropriate choice for a show that felt like a musical baptism, cleansing us, the audience, of all our worldly problems and pledging ourselves to the religion of live music. Plus, they even brought their own Bishop! (Apologies for the corniness, but it was right there and I had to take it.)
The show started squarely at 7:30 with opener Raffaella, who praised both of the headlining women’s energetic stage presence, commenting on how they make it look easy, but she begs to differ. She was not overstating it.
After Raffaella’s peppy opening performance, MisterWives performed first. On a high-rise platform, about 4ft off the ground, in the middle of the stage, lead vocalist Mandy Lee began the performance with incredible gusto, rocking out to “Out Of Your Mind”. The platform was surrounded by screens that played visuals related to each song, adding an impressive technical touch.
After and energetic run through “Dagger”, and “Where Do We Go From Here?” which seamlessly transitioned into “Rock Bottom”, Lee takes a moment to speak and pledge that MisterWives is going to give their all to this performance, followed with “all that we ask in return is for you to feel whatever it is you need to feel”, promising that we’ll dance, cry, sing and laugh it out until we “leave here better than when [we] got here”.
In the floor section, it felt clear that audience members took her plea to heart and mirrored her energy. Lee recognized this and in a moment of vulnerability, paused to reflect before their next song, confessing that she’s been “battling a[n] anxiety attack” since the show began. At that moment, she looked truly overwhelmed by the audience’s response.
A little over halfway through the set, MisterWives performed “Ultraviolet”, a stripped and emotional confessional about insecurities. In an ode to the song’s music video and the album cover, Lee climbed back on top of the middle platform and sat on the edge with three arrows sticking out of her back. The delicate nature of the song and Lee’s existing anxiety surrounding the show pushed her slightly over the edge and she began to cry towards the end of the performance, which felt like real testament to her earlier statement about needing to feel whatever it is you need to feel.
Leading in to “SUPERBLOOM”, a triumphant, upbeat piece which repeats the refrain “I deserve congratulations ‘Cause I came out the other side” again and again, felt like emotional whiplash. After “Ultraviolet”, this one felt like a cathartic release, which (embarrassingly) left me tearful despite the joyous declaration. Perhaps because sometimes, the hardest part of believing something is to admit it to yourself.
Evidently, Briggs had her work cut out for her, following a performance like that. Mirroring MisterWives, Briggs began her performance atop the middle platform with her single “Art of Survival”, dedicated to her late sister, who passed away in 2021 from ovarian cancer. The screens below her featured the song’s music video.
Briggs came down from the platform, breathless and brimming with enthusiasm, repeatedly stating “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh”. One couldn’t deny her enthusiasm for being on stage and finally kicking off the tour. She segued into “High Horses”, where her electropop sound was in sharp contrast to the full-band pop-rock of MisterWives.
During “Baby”, Briggs led the chorus among an eager audience screaming and dancing to their heart’s content. During “Jekyll & Hyde”, a clever play on a classic literature trope, the screens projected various monsters, which for some reason briefly included Jack Skellington. This also heavily channeled the song’s accompanying music video.
Briggs is still a young artist with a handful of EPs and just two full-length albums. As a developing artist, she doesn’t have a cohesive image that I find myself being able to cling to. She’s raw, honest, and vulnerable, which are traits her fans admire the most, but her visuals feel scattered and disconnected.
Despite my skepticism, the fans absolutely adore her. The power she projects on stage holds a lifeline to audience members, who respect and identify with Briggs’ pains and joys. In the back of the room, I can see a group of friends in a circle, jumping up and down, singing every word.
During an acoustic performance of “Dream”, Briggs strips it back for a concert staple: the phone-light sway-along moment. After a few songs, she throws in a cover of “Take Me To Church”, admitting she’s a big fan of Hozier. It’s a crowdpleaser, the audience sings along loudly.
A few songs later, Briggs wraps up her set with her most successful single, “River”, which naturally, makes the audience ecstatic, putting a neat period at the end of an impressive night of music.
Buket is recent graduate of the University of Georgia (Music Business Alum) and the current Editor-in-Chief of Vinyl Mag. She believes that a sincere lover of music can find something to like in just about any song. She loves to write to observe and learn about the world. She is currently on a gap year abroad, spending her free time drumming up new ideas for Vinyl Mag and trying to beat her previous Spotify Wrapped "My Minutes Listened" record.