Recap: Julien Baker’s Spellbinding ‘Little Oblivions’ Tour Stops By the Wiltern in LA (with a Phoebe Bridgers Cameo)

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

There was an anticipatory aura at the Wiltern in Los Angeles on Thursday, Nov. 4 as singer/songwriter Julien Baker and her backing band delivered a set of songs culling from her three studio albums: Would one of Baker’s musical friends, perhaps L.A. native Phoebe Bridgers, show up for an unannounced guest appearance?

The reverse happened just last month at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley when Baker was the surprise opening act for Bridgers’s tour, the two appearing together for a few songs toward the end of Bridgers’s set. Their creative bond is strong, having worked together in recent years on their boygenius project with fellow musical friend Lucy Dacus and contributing to each other’s records.

And sure enough, Bridgers was at the Wiltern, emerging from the shadows during band introductions, having been referred to by Baker as “my friend Phoebe.” Bridgers provided backing vocals on “Favor,” one of Baker’s standout tracks on her 2021 album Little Oblivions:

Bridgers’s presence elicited shrieks of excitement from the crowd when she showed up next to Baker, but it was just one noteworthy moment in a night full of them.

For nearly an hour and a half, Julien and her band dazzled with a selection of songs pulling heavily from Little Oblivions but also touching on her 2017 album Turn Out the Lights and 2015’s Sprained Ankle, Baker at one point sitting at the piano for a moving rendition of “Televangelist” that put some of her many talents on full display:

“Song in E” and “Faith Healer,” two of the most devastating songs on Little Oblivions, also received the intimated piano treatment — to greatly affecting results:

There’s a quiet intensity to Baker’s songs that translate especially well live, adding to the anticipatory vibes. These are confessional songs of deep personal inflection and a thematic weight that she tempers with candid stage banter (speaking to the crowd a few times, thanking fans for their interest and for appreciating her music), resulting in a strong bond between artist and fan.

The opening notes of a few songs were met with roars of excitement, indicative of that bond and the feverish interest her audience has in her music. A rack of lights backing the band on stage, pulsating with different color schemes to suit individual songs, also added to the atmosphere and gave the proceedings an especially memorable feel.

2021 was a big year for Julien Baker, as Little Oblivions was met with near-universal acclaim and led to some high-profile television performances and, one would hope, an expanded audience of fans. The Wiltern show was the culmination of that growth, and it was a richly entertaining evening thanks to the dynamic nature of her performance.

Julien Baker’s set list at the Wiltern:

Relative Fiction
Highlight Reel
Sprained Ankle
Song in E
Faith Healer
Favor (with Phoebe Bridgers)
Turn Out the Lights
Sour Breath

Everybody Does

Opening the show were Illuminati Hotties, the Los Angeles-based grungy indie/rock band that just released a new album, Let Me Do One More, and Dehd, a three-piece, Chicago-based indie/surf-rock band with some serious buzz thanks to a trio of albums including 2020’s Flower of Devotion.

Catch the rest of Julien Baker’s upcoming tour dates, which include a run of 2022 shows, below.

11/08/2021 Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater
11/09/2021 Vancouver, BC @ Hollywood Theatre
11/10/2021 Seattle, WA @ Moore Theatre
11/12/2021 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
11/15/2021 Lawrence, KS @ The Granada
11/16/2021 St. Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall

04/15/2022 Utrecht, NL @ Tivoli
04/16/2022 Groningen, NL @ Vera
04/17/2022 Hamburg, DE @ Fabrik
04/19/2022 Copenhagen, DK @ Vega
04/20/2022 Gothenburg, SE @ Pustervik
04/21/2022 Oslo, NO @ Parkteatret
04/23/2022 Stockholm, SE @ Nalen
04/25/2022 Lund, SE @ Mejeriet
04/28/2022 Berlin, DE @ Festsaal Kreuzberg
04/29/2022 Prague, CZ @ Rock Cafe
04/30/2022 Vienna, AT @ Arena
05/01/2022 Salzburg, AT @ Rockhouse
05/04/2022 Padova, IT @ Padova Hall
05/06/2022 Zurich, CH @ Bogen F
05/07/2022 Schorndorf, DE @ Manufaktur
05/08/2022 Munich, DE @ Technikum
05/10/2022 Cologne, DE @ Kulturkirche
05/13/2022 Paris, FR @ Le Trabendo
05/14/2022 Brussels, BE @ Ancienne Belgique
05/18/2022 London, UK @ Electric Ballroom
05/19/2022 Leeds, UK @ Leeds Irish Centre
05/21/2022 Dublin, IE @ Whelan’s
05/22/2022 Dublin, IE @ Whelan’s
05/24/2022 Glasgow, UK @ St Luke’s
05/25/2022 Manchester, UK @ Gorilla
05/29/2022 Madrid, ES @ Teatro Kapital
05/30/2022 Valencia, ES @ La Rambleta
05/31/2022 Barcelona, ES @ Sala Apolo

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