Sunday, November 26, 2023

Liz Phair revisits her classic debut album at D.C.’s Anthem

When it comes to female indie rockers of the 1990s, I put Liz Phair, Juliana Hatfield, and Kim Deal at the very top. So it was awesome to finally see Phair live last night at The Anthem in Washington D.C.

After a really enjoyable opening set by Blondshell (which, at the moment, has my 21st favorite album of 2023), Phair entered with her crack band and launched right into playing 1993’s Exile in Guyville in its entirety. Even the lesser songs on that release translated really well to the live setting, but I still would have preferred more inclusions from my two favorite Phair albums: 1994’s Whip-Smart and 1998’s Whitechocolatespaceegg.

The sound at The Anthem impressively matches D.C.’s other perfect-sound-always venue The 9:30 Club. The night’s clear highlight, Fuck and Run, really popped and put on full display how wonderful the sound operators and acoustics are there.

Another clear highlight was the first song of the encore, Supernova, off of Whip-smart, which got the crowd dancing and having a great time. We had actually moved back from our 13th-row seats by that point and had a much better view than the one we started with jammed in tight on tiny chairs up front.

Johnny Feelgood and Polyester Bride were next, both from Whitechocolatespaceegg. Spanish Doors off her excellent 2021 album Soberish and Why Can’t I? from her 2003 self-titled release rounded out the encore. See the setlist.

4.5 out of 5

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