Bishop Briggs Walks on Hallowed Ground at the Royale

May 21, 2018 | By Cayley Ross, Photos by Sophie Cannon

Bishop Briggs channeled the energy of a hyperactive child onstage at the Royale Boston on May 19 — never seeming to stand still, her feet spent only about 50 percent of their stage time actually touching the ground. Her customary “space buns” hairstyle and mismatched socks — one black, one red and white checkered — set the tone for the spontaneous night to come.


Photos by Sophie Cannon

Debuting her album, “Church of Scars,” Briggs spent the entirety of the concert wide-eyed and giggly, never neglecting to thank the audience for their applause. From the first song, her most recent single, “White Flag,” the audience sang every word and interacted with Briggs, tossing gifts onto the stage — among them, a Hello Kitty plush and a hand-drawn portrait of Briggs. The excitement and dedication of her fans was palpable in this debut. 


In between songs from her album such as “Tempt My Trouble” and “Wild Horses,” she said Boston is a place to be yourself and express yourself — in a post-concert Tweet, she commented about how amazed and welcome she feels here.


Briggs also voiced her support for the LGBTQ community, and even had a GLAAD donation box (hand-decorated by her sister, she specified) at her merch table — stuffed to the brim at the end of the night.


Photos by Sophie Cannon

She dedicated “Lyin’” to the LGBTQ community, which she wrote with Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons. “I don’t know how it happened, either,” she said of her opportunity to work with the singer, and fellowsupporter of LGBTQ rights. 


In her writing session with Reynolds, their muses were depression, darkness, anxiety, and breakups. “We had such a human connection,” Briggs said, “but he betrayed me, he is not human at all, he’s super human.” 


She continued with more songs from the album, including “Water” and “The Fire.” As a prelude to “Hi-Lo (Hollow),” she shouted to the audience, “This song is on the album because of you.” 


Photos by Sophie Cannon

She explained the mentality behind the next song, “Dream,” which she wrote after many nights of recurring nightmares in which she was screaming and nobody could hear her. She urged, “You are worthy of your dreams,” and encouraged her fans that if anyone in their lives wasn’t empowering them to be themselves and act on their dreams, to “lead them to the nearest trash can.” 


She closed with a high-energy encore, admitting, “I’m always afraid to do encores because I’m afraid no one will cheer,” to which the cheering doubled. She revealed that she had an unreleased song to perform, but teased, “I only want to play it if you guys are comfortable.” After the new song, “Baby,” she ended the show with “River,” performed with increased passion and stamina.