Last month, Conan O’Brien announced that he’s cutting his late-night show to half an hour. As part of the cut, which will happen next year, he won’t be featuring musical performers anymore. That’s serious end-of-an-era stuff. These days, there’s a generous handful of late-night talk shows. Many of them feature musical performances, and all of them seem to be in competition to land up-and-coming guests. But once upon a time, O’Brien’s Late Night was the only place you could catch Pulp or PJ Harvey or Bad Religion on American television. And as of last night, Conan is still beaming cool musicians into people’s televisions before anyone else does.
The Los Angeles singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers is on her way to being a very big deal. Bridgers released the excellent debut album Stranger In The Alps last year, and she’s one third of the tremendously exciting new supergroup boygenius, alongside Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus. But before last night, Bridgers had never appeared on late-night TV.
On last night’s show, Bridgers sang her Ryan Adams kinda-dis “Motion Sickness,” conveying all that song’s emotional gravity. And as we can see in the video, she’s already figured out the crucial art of stagecraft. Her stage was decked out in Christmas lights, and all the members of her backing band wore Reservoir Dogs suits, which looked cool. Watch the performance below.
Stranger In The Alps is out now on Dead Oceans. “That was very impressive” –Conan O’Brien and also me.