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A particularly rainy evening seemed to heighten the misty performances of the night, with the music accentuating the quiet drone of the San Francisco crowd on February 18. Revered local venue Rickshaw Stop has a penchant for its versatile curation of musicians and themed music nights. Typically hosting explosive and illuminating rock performances, it was a notably calm night for the venue, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary with a slew of celebrated Rickshaw regulars and well-known local bands. 

Punctuated by orchestral arrangements and candid recollections of faith and relationships, Katy Kirby’s second record was first conceived through conceptual ideas written on her phone. Entering her first queer relationship upon the completion of the majority of the songs on the album added to the already deeply personal nature of Blue Raspberry. Kirby majored in English in Nashville, and her songs often showcase her adept inclination to write lyrics that are reminiscent of literary prose.  

 

Shortly after doors opened, New York’s Allegra Krieger took to the stage, she was accompanying Kirby on the 26-stop tour. It felt natural to fall into the hypnoticism of her acoustic performance, and looking around, she had captured the gaze of the entire crowd.

Krieger described her approach to music as a means of catharsis. Her extensive background in classical piano and choir supplemented her 2023 summer record, I Keep My Feet on the Fragile Plane, which contained distinctive accounts of everyday life in New York.

Performing tracks like “Nothing In This World Ever Stays Still”, and “Carry Me Into Tomorrow”, the singer-songwriter played dissonant chords, supporting lyrics that felt like they were ripped straight out of her personal diary. 

Image5 Mentioning her religious upbringing, parallels linking Krieger and Kirby’s approach to songwriting became most apparent as she performed the closing track on her fourth album. “Lingering” was a standout. Krieger sings of the album’s omnipresent “fragile plane” and the contemplative experiences of sharing a static place with a loved one, and feeling safe between the confines of a mercurial, ever-changing city. 

Opening her set with the first track off of Blue Raspberry, Katy Kirby walked onstage whilst she accompanied herself on her Nord Electro keyboard. Building upon sweeping layers of piano, her band joined in masterful crescendos during the song’s chorus. 

Clutching a beer and bottle of water, she mentioned that she was feeling under the weather and that she had promptly taken a Dayquil prior to jumping onstage. She then advised the crowd not to interject unless they were A) a doctor and B) a touring musician. These conditions were not mutually exclusive. 

Image1 Kirby played a collection of songs from her newest release, as well as selections from her breakthrough debut album, Cool Dry Place. Produced and co-written with Kirby’s frequent musical collaborator, Logan Chung, “Table” featured a perfect cacophony of distorted guitar and percussive elements, packaged with clear evangelical allusions to her upbringing. In fact, the song’s music video showed her in Puritan-era attire, smashing a table inside a small chapel. 

Manifesting in lush orchestrations of sonic tension, “Wait Listen” pulled the audience into descriptions of an affair, pairing sharp lyrics with incisive folkish instrumentals. Calculated pauses in the middle of the song’s chorus were accessorized by Chung on guitar and drummer Austin Arnold’s subdued drum-playing.  

Image3 Right before singing a duet with Kirby, Chung eventually addressed the comically large cardboard cutout of a still from It’s A Wonderful Life. Shaped like a Christmas ornament, he and Kirby explained that they had picked up the relic from a family in Westminster. Kirby carried on, saying how she had plans to return home with it as a gift—they needed to bring it onstage so as to avoid any van onlookers from even thinking about stealing the precious offering. 

 

Image6 Kirby had written “Party of the Century” while on FaceTime with Christian Lee Hutson, another ANTI- records signee known for his own frequent collaborations with other indie musicians such as Phoebe Bridgers, Samia, and Conor Oberst. Heartfelt confessions flush with the ache of longing were paired with sweet fingerstyle guitar, as Chung and Kirby locked eyes while singing to each other. 

Returning to form with “Portals”, Kirby’s bandmates walked offstage, the spotlight shining on her so that she could close out the show with the quiet track from her first album. The song reflects on the possibilities of alternate universes. She contemplates how small interactions can lead to completely different versions of oneself, asking if it’s possible to even come back to the same relationship with the same vitality it held in another dimension. Image4

Oscillating between moments of stillness and incendiary guitar, it was easy to sink into the intentional vulnerabilities that Kirby had mastered with Blue Raspberry, even more so with stirring executions from her band. With that, Rickshaw Stop morphed into a hazy microcosm of consolation; Krieger and Kirby’s autobiographical performances effortlessly complemented each other, and Kirby finished off the night singing to a room filled with palpable introspection. 

 

 

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