This past April, London songstress Bishop Briggs released her debut album Church of Scars, instantly emerging as a force to be reckoned with in the alternative rock scene. Her scheduled performance on the Saint Xavier University Stage was already one of the most highly-anticipated sets at this year’s WKQX Piqniq – which took over the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre on June 30 – and the excitement only grew when she stepped up to the Main Stage to replace Greta Van Fleet (who cancelled due to drummer Danny Wagner’s wrist injury).
After being forced to move up a weight class, Briggs unleashed a knockout set that revealed her to be an impossibly magnetic performer with enough soul, talent and force to fill the largest of stages. Someone get this woman a championship belt, please.
WKQX has been featuring Briggs on heavy rotation, and she didn’t wait long to perform one of her biggest radio hits, “Wild Horses.” “I hope you sing along,” she said, and soon echoes of “Wild horses run faster” spread across the venue. With each instrumental break, Briggs jumped, stomped and stampeded across the stage, her irresistible smile growing with each defiant move.
“I’m soaking this up so much right now,” Briggs said, sharing her excitement to be performing on the Piqniq 2018 Main Stage along with The Neighbourhood, Bush, Dashboard Confessional and the evening’s headliners, Awolnation. “This is so cool.”
With the endurance and precision of a prizefighter, Briggs attacked each song with every fiber of her being. At times she resembled a lone wolf stalking her prey – only to pounce at the perfect moment – while elsewhere her raw vulnerability caused a stilled hush across the audience. This duality was perfectly spotlighted during “The Fire,” which began with Briggs on the keys belting out her throaty vocals in hushed whispers before rising up to sweep the stage with menace during the next round of the song. “Shout out to my ex,” she joked.
Briggs’ boundless vocals are beyond impressive in the live setting. Songs like “Hallowed Ground” and “Dreams” revealed her seemingly effortless talent to simultaneously embody sensitivity and strength. The new track “Baby” – beautifully manic in its celebration of imperfect romance – gave an exciting peak at things yet to come from this talented young singer-songwriter.
When it came time to close things out, Briggs once again flexed her musical muscles to tackle the topic of maddening love with her monster hit, “River.” “Let’s go Piqniq,” Briggs said mid-song. “I want to see you jump.” Temperatures were approaching 100 degrees, but the heat index proved to be no match for Briggs’ command as sweaty fans matched her energy with each cathartic move.
Church of Scars is available everywhere music is sold. Bishop Briggs will continue to tour across North America throughout September before heading over to the UK in the fall. Keep up with her latest news at www.bishopbriggs.com.