Faye Webster commanded the stage and enchanted everyone in attendance at Metro Chicago Feb. 22. Though the next day she would post on Instagram explaining her next two shows would be postponed due to vocal issues, one would never know it from her performance.
Webster’s keyboardist, Annie Leeth, opened the show after opener Kate Bollinger canceled due to vocal issues of her own. Leeth’s act featured lo-fi beats, several violin interludes and vocals that were high and soft without being pitchy.
Leeth didn’t offer too much in terms of energetic stage presence — she spent her set seated on a chair in the middle of the stage. The air was so smoky it seemed like whoever was running the fog machine was going out of their way to obscure her.
But something intangible made her performance mesmerizing. In the haze of fog and with echoey vocals looping in the background, the whole crowd stood transfixed. Apart from some gentle swaying, the audience was nearly still, as if her violin sent the entire crowd into a hypnotic trance.
Though she was a last-minute replacement, Leeth’s performance fit into the show seamlessly.
The set dressing for Webster was incredibly simplistic, with only a black curtain behind her and four glowing circles with “haha” written on them in black type, which was a reference to her 2021 album “I Know I’m Funny haha.”
Webster appeared on stage in a long, loose cobalt blue frock with matching blue socks and brown clogs. Her stage presence was captivating, her live performance added a dynamic layer to her music with the addition of several musical interludes that let band shine. Webster showed off her skills on the guitar and Matt “Pistol” Stoessel played a pedal-steel guitar which added a striking and unique sound to the performance.
During the many guitar riffs, Webster bent over her guitar in a move that contorted her neck in a nearly 90-degree angle and made her trendy shag haircut fall over her face. It was a move that could only be described as rock ‘n’ roll.
As Webster’s soothing voiced resonated through the venue, the head-bopping crowd resembled the tendrils of a sea anemone slowly swaying and moving in the ocean current.
Toward the end of her set, Webster went on a tangent about her Nintendo Switch which introduced her cover of K.K. Slider, the animated musician of “Animal Crossing”’ fame. The quirky song was a massive crowd-pleaser as Webster bopped around the stage to the unintelligible electronic sounds of K.K. Slider.
The last two songs were a personal serenade, as if her voice was reaching out to wipe tears from your cheek.
The second to last song on her setlist was “Overslept,” which she performed solo. The only instrumentation was her guitar which beautifully complimented her crooning vocals and created a number overflowing with heartache.
Her closer, “Half of Me,” was performed in a similar stripped-down style. It’s a simple anthem with lyrics, “I’m stuck at home with nothing to do but think/ And I cried all the way home last week/ And I felt bad for strangers sitting next to me.”
It’s a song that inspires the urge to lay on the ground and curl into a ball while crying (unfortunately, that kind of behavior is frowned upon in most concert venues).
After “Half of Me” and “Overslept” emotionally battered the crowd, Webster encored with “Kingston,” her most popular song, which seemed to rally the audience.
Webster truly captured the magic of live music, as she moved along to the music and softly sang her sentimental lyrics it was impossible to not be charmed.