The title of Faye Webster’s latest album is I Know I’m Funny haha, which always begged me to ask: but is she really? After her show on September 20th, I can now proudly say that Faye Webster knows she’s funny and I agree. You wouldn’t expect this from her music alone, which is composed of dreamy and introspective love songs. With her soothing voice and meandering melodies, the word I would use to describe her is chill, not funny. In fact, I didn’t expect Webster to have much stage presence at all. I expected her to be seated with her eyes closed, singing to the audience as if she was in her own world.
However, when she took to the stage, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a night full of surprises, beginning with the opening act: Danger Incorporated. Their bass-heavy electro-rap seemed to be the exact opposite of Webster’s vibe but made sense after I discovered that one-half of the duo was Webster’s longtime boyfriend from Atlanta. The juxtaposition worked, however, and Danger Incorporated successfully hyped up the audience in preparation for Webster’s set.
Webster strolled on stage in a long, oversized blue t-shirt that she wore as a dress, coupled with smiley face socks and the kind of clogs you might find on an uncool mom. On anyone else, this outfit would look hideous. But, of course, Webster looked effortlessly cool. Here she was, no makeup and baggy clothes, giving another middle finger to any preconceived notions of female indie artists. Surrounding Webster was a smattering of neon red lights that copied the aesthetic of her latest album cover. I don’t know what I wanted more—to look that good in clogs or to own one of those lights.
With this tour promoting I Know I’m Funny haha, her fourth release, much of the setlist was devoted to her new material. She opened with “Better Distractions” and also sprinkled in tracks like “Kind Of”, “In A Good Way”, and “Cheers” throughout the night. Webster still made sure to include crowd favorites like “Right Side of My Neck” and “Jonny”, encoring with “Kingston”.
Between the weaving of old and new material, Webster took time to engage with the audience and also her band. (Which included two female musicians!) During one break, she sang happy birthday to an audience member. During another, she explained where some of the inspiration for her album came from: she was playing Animal Crossing and realized “I should go to therapy.” As the whole room laughed, she went on to share her worry that the villagers in the game were upset with her after she took a long break from playing. Faye Webster: the gamer. Yet another surprise.
Still, the comedic aspect of the show didn’t distract from the emotional vulnerability that Webster displayed within her performance. She effortlessly transitioned from jokes into “Half of Me”, a ballad that she performed alone, lit up with a single spotlight. While most artists would end their set with a more upbeat track, Webster closed the show with “Half of Me”, which felt like an emotional climax rather than a mood dampener.
The whole show was less than an hour and a half, but even with a single song as an encore, I didn’t feel cheated. Webster wasn’t about fluff or anything unnecessary. Instead, she cut straight through to the real truth of sadness and love, without sacrificing her trademark lightness. It was intimate and personal, with Webster offering up one surprise after another in an effort to help the audience understand who she really is: multi-dimensional, no-nonsense, and most of all, funny. Really, really funny.