I spent so many nights blacked out at Seattle’s Barboza, that this may have been the first and only time sober at the famed Capitol Hill music venue to catch the rising star, Phoebe Ryan. The decorum reminded me a little of El Gaucho steakhouse with its prohibition-esque booth style seating with stapled patent-like upholstery. The small, cozy venue is inherently dark with only a couple dozen steps from the full service bar to the slightly elevated stage. Ultimately, the layout, from my perspective, is that Barboza is great for a live, intimate show considering that the venue holds a maximum capacity of 150 patrons.
I was running a little late, but arrived in time to see the main act: Phoebe Ryan. Given my tardiness the crowd was packed in extremely tight, especially with the limited number of tickets needed to sell out the show. Initially, I felt like I was in the presence of would-be Jim Jones followers inside the People’s Temple. I could not have been more wrong!
These loyal, quixotic-eyed fans worshipped their idol, Phoebe Ryan, who, when upon first glanced, was beautiful but also had a little dangerous edge to her. It was like the Powerpuff Girls and fashion designer Tom Ford co-created this electric artist and her music was comparably a juxtaposition between cotton candy and a punch to the mouth. She was a chocolate-covered nail. Her music was powerful yet so delicate.
Lyrically, Phoebe Ryan made me feel this layered pain that she proactively masked with her sugary dark-pop style. The scorn in her voice on her latest single, “James Has Changed”, had me tempted to walk to the bar and find peace on her behalf in a shot of Wild Turkey. Her green hair was as vibrant as her songwriting and her unmistakable talent truly left the crowd, and myself included, in a state of pure awe. It was like falling into the looking glass peering into the darkness of her soul. She was truly a lollipop with a machine gun, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The green-haired singer-songwriter, Phoebe Ryan‘s brand new EP, James, is available on iTunes now! And check out the music video for “James Has Changed” below on YouTube!