Review by Laila Karkori, photos by Sydney Gimpl.
On the evening of November 7th, Oakland’s beloved Fox Theater was lined with an eager crowd awaiting the Atlanta singer-songwriter Faye Webster. Known for her genre-defying style, Webster has established a unique presence in the indie music scene as she seamlessly blends elements of folk, alt-country, and R&B.
Webster was joined by Venezuelan singer-songwriter Maye whose fun, indie-pop sound perfectly set the tone for Webster’s performance. Accompanied by her bandmates, Webster soon made her way to center stage, met with a burst of loud cheers from the enthusiastic crowd.
“I want to sleep in your arms, but not kiss” Webster began, followed by an explosion of piano-backed instrumentals. The lights began to swell, pulsating in harmony with the rhythm of the music. I was positioned at the back of the crowd and unable to see the stage; I became solely reliant on the auditory experience of the show. Webster’s voice was clear and crisp, filling every inch of the venue with her captivating lyrics. In this setting, just listening to the music became enough, heightening the focus on the intricacies of her sound.
Webster continued her set with “Better Distractions” and the venue transformed into a pinkish purple haze as the lights draped the emblematic architecture of the Fox. A personal stand out was her performance of “Right Side of My Neck” from her 2019 album Atlanta Millionaires Club. The audience erupted in cheers as soon as the first strum of the guitar resonated through the venue. This song in particular experienced a surge of popularity when it went viral online, starting a trend where individuals recorded themselves walking away while glancing back to the lyrics “You looked back at me once / But I looked back two times.” That particular lyric received a resounding response from fans who enthusiastically screamed it aloud. Another favorite was Webster’s performance of a new song titled “Wilco Type Beat.” I can hear Wilco’s influence in Webster’s music, and this song in particular paid homage to that. Webster finished with “Cheers” from her 2021 album I Know I’m Funny haha, a grungy departure from her indie-folk sound.
My first exposure to Webster’s music was in 2020 when I became hooked on her 2018 self-titled release. Since then, I’ve been eager to see her perform live. The setlist included personal favorites such as “A Dream With a Baseball Player” and “In a Good Way,” which had the crowd fully engaged. I was most excited to hear these two songs, and appreciated how their live renditions felt exactly like the versions I had cherished over the past few years. Webster and the band effortlessly brought their studio magic to life on stage. Although I wished there were more picks from her earlier music, I was satisfied with how up to date the setlist was.
Webster’s encore featured “Feeling Good Today,” a short, but sweet and intimate performance. The crowd shrieked as the first notes of Webster’s beloved hit “Kingston” echoed throughout the venue, a perfect way to close out the show. I left the Fox holistically impressed by Webster’s live prowess, humming the chorus of “Kingston” and eagerly awaiting her next performance.