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Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

A night of musical eclecticism: Faye Webster at Roadrunner

Photo: Sam Shipman

Since Roadrunner’s opening in March 2022, many artists have been featured on its stage. If you come an hour before doors open, you’re almost guaranteed to make it to the front row for your favorite artist.

On Oct. 20, Atlanta-based singer-songwriter Faye Webster was the main attraction. This was the 12th concert I’ve seen at Roadrunner and one of my favorites.

Getting there at 6:00 p.m. gave me a solid place to stand and watch. However, at 5:55 p.m., I was quickly humbled: I reached the back of the line, wrapped around the building and far beyond the end of the street. In all the concerts I’ve seen there, I had not seen this size of the line. I knew I was in for a treat.

Before she came out, Webster invited opening performers Upchuck, an Atlanta-based band formed by guitarist Michael Durham and fronted by vocalist Kalia Thompson. Upchuck’s performance was intense within the context of Webster’s concert, with snappy bass, heavy guitar playing, and screaming vocals. Upchuck is a mix of metal and punk and was a fresh take on those genres, with multiple members of the band belting out lyrics and keeping the crowd in awe. 

Webster has stated multiple times that Upchuck is her favorite band and enjoys having them open for her. However, it was clear watching from the second floor that the crowd did not sign up for that sort of vibe. Upchuck was a big fan of crowd surfing, which was an enjoyable spectacle, but the band members were dropped multiple times, proving the Webster crowd didn’t know what they were getting into with such a different opener from the main act. 

When Faye came out to the stage around 30 minutes after Upchuck, the crowd came back to life, ready to hear what they had waited so long in line for. 

Faye opened with her recent song from this upcoming album cycle teased in February called  “But Not Kiss.” In my opinion, this is a great way to open the concert since it’s a well-rounded track that highlights the talent of the backing band through its longer instrumental sections alongside its three catchy verses fans can sing along with. 

“Better Distractions” was the song that followed, giving me the first taste of how much the crowd loves Faye. The opener off her 2021 record “I Know I’m Funny haha” had the entire crowd screaming with joy since this is an established fan favorite of the album.  

The following song, “Kind Of,” is my favorite song by Webster, and I was very impressed by the live rendition. The track has a beautiful extended outro jam with Faye repeating the chorus’s main line: “I don’t feel this kind of, type of way.” In this live version of the song, the band carried a beautiful mini jam that captivated and satisfied me.

As soon as “Right Side of My Neck” started to play, it was clear how much TikTok has affected  her fame since that song has over 50k videos made with it. “I Know You,” from Faye’s self-titled 2017 album, has blown up much more, with almost half a million videos using the song. 

While I enjoy “Right Side of My Neck” very much, my problem with all her big songs is that people are chanting the lyrics so loud that it’s difficult to hear the actual performance. In a rap concert mosh that is incredibly fun; however, in this context, I found it endearing but annoying. 

This concept of certain songs being much more desirable than others is not unheard of. A larger and more common example is Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit,” which resulted in many people who weren’t fans of his work going to the shows anyway. This surged ticket demands, causing prices to exceed hundreds of dollars 

Following that song were “A Dream With a Baseball Player” and “I Know I’m Funny haha,” both fantastic songs to hear live with very nice projected graphics showing Faye on a rock formation looking like a goddess with various elements around her depending on what song was playing.

Next was “Johny: Suite,” which is a combination of “Johnny” and “Johnny (Reprise)” off of 2019’s Atlanta Millionaires Club. It was a very beautiful version of the songs with a longer instrumental section and a spoken word section by Faye that caught the crowd off guard.  

Despite “Kind Of” being my favorite song by Faye, the main highlight for me was the band’s cover of “Eterna City” from the Nintendo game “Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.” The game featured the debut of this cover and a lovely surprise, as I was a big fan of those games growing up. Faye Webster fans know that she is a massive Pokémon fan, so it was nice seeing her embrace that fact about herself. 

Following this cover, my least favorite part of the concert was “Lifetime,” Webster’s newest release. While I enjoy her songs a lot, “Lifetime” is instrumentally lacking compared to other songs—the main problem is that those instrumentals cannot save the simple and repetitive lyrics. You could argue the vision of the song is supposed to be dual to represent old age, which seems to be what the song is referring to, but I think the execution of this clever concept is flavorless. The crowd was completely dead during the song, so I can assume it’s not liked very much by the fans. 

After this, a new song called “Wilco Type Beat” was played, which I enjoyed much more. The crowd was also enjoying it. It didn’t sound like a Wilco song but it was still a strong addition to the setlist. 

Next was “In a Good Way,” the most popular song of the 2021 release. It was not my favorite, but it was nice seeing everyone in the crowd loving it. The set ended with “Cheers,” Webster’s only slightly intense song. During this version of the song, Faye was screaming a lot more while singing, and members of Upchuck got back on stage and crowd-surfed.

After the encore break, Faye and her bassist played an unreleased song called “Feeling Good Today,” an enjoyable, pretty piece sung by both performers. 

The final song of the performance was Faye’s biggest song “Kingston,” which had the entire crowd screaming as loud as possible—a dramatic way to close out the show.

It was a fantastic performance, and getting out before 11:00 p.m. at a concert in Boston is out of the ordinary—the fans were satisfied, and so was I. The merch line wrapped back to the end of the venue as many people waited for their Ubers to take them home. 

The set was constructed incredibly well, and despite not including the wildly popular “I Know You” from the 2017 self-titled record, hard-hitting opening track of Atlanta Millionaires Club’s “Room Temperature,” and  the increasingly popular “Hurts Me Too” from the 2019 record. While the opener Upchuck was enjoyable, the genre shift seemed too jarring for the average fan. The recent track “Lifetime” is lacking, but that’s a decision for Webster and her team to figure out depending on feedback received on the rest of the tour. Despite those nitpicks, the concert was a fantastic experience for any fan of Faye’s work.    

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About the Contributor
Sam Shipman, Staff Writer
Sam Shipman (He/Him) is a freshman journalism major from Natick, Massachusetts. He currently is a Staff Writer for the Berkeley Beacon. When he's not reporting he can be found listening to music or spending time with friends.

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