An Awesome Live Performance by Phoebe Bridgers in a Hotel Room: “Smoke Signals”

Something happened when you were a kid
Music • Views: 32,291

YouTube

ADVISORY: This video contains explicit lyrics.

In a hotel room near midnight, Bridgers shares a lullaby for the lost. You can’t help but hang on for dear life.

By Lars Gotrich

Phoebe Bridgers was one of our top discoveries going into SXSW, a quiet and powerful voice in the loud din of the festival. After she performed at Central Presbyterian Church, a favorite venue among our staff, Bridgers and percussionist Marshall Vore came to Bob Boilen’s hotel room just before midnight to play the striking “Smoke Signals.”

Stripped of the strings on the studio version, there is still a sweeping quality to this acoustic performance, something like Low’s elegiac waltzes blurred into open chords, suitcase percussion, children’s toy bells and vocal harmony. You can’t help but hang on for dear life.

Credits:

Producers: Bob Boilen, Mito Habe-Evans; Director/Videographer: Nickolai Hammar; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann;

LYRICS:

I went with you up to
The place you grew up in
We spent a week in the cold
Just long enough to
“Walden” it with you
Any longer, it would have got old

Singing “Ace of Spades” when Lemmy died
But nothing’s changed
L.A.’s all right
Sleeping in my bed again
And getting in my head
And then walk around the reservoir

You, you must have been looking for me
Sending smoke signals
Pelicans circling
Burning trash out on the beach

One of your eyes is always half-shut
Something happened when you were a kid
I didn’t know you then
And I’ll never understand
why it feels like I did

“How Soon Is Now” in an ’80s sedan
You slept inside of it because your dad
Lived in a campground in the back of a van
You said that song will creep you out until you’re dead

And you must have been looking for me
Sending smoke signals
Pelicans circling
Burning trash out on the beach

I want to live at the Holiday Inn
Where somebody else makes the bed
We’ll watch TV while the lights on the street
Put all the stars to death
It’s been on my mind since Bowie died
Just checking out to hide from life

And all of our problems
I’m gonna solve ‘em
With you riding shot-gun
Speeding, ‘cause fuck the cops

And you, you must have been looking for me
Sending smoke signals
Pelicans circling
Burning trash out on the beach

I buried a hatchet
It’s coming up lavender
The future’s unwritten
The past is a corridor
I’m at the exit looking back through the hall
You are anonymous
I am a concrete wall

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