Donning a grandpa sweater, long trousers and Buc-ee’s nail decals picked up on the road, 22 year-old Atlanta indie-folk artist, Faye Webster, performs with the comfortability beyond her years and a vitality and charm that only her age could offer.
Story by Gabrielle Sanchez
As the night’s show opener for British synth-pop singer Shura, Webster and her band walked out on stage at 9:59PM, ready to get the set started. The sound proved to have different plans, with Webster’s vocals barely audible during the opening “She Won’t Go Away” from her sophomore self-titled record. After an earnest smile and the proper adjustments made, Webster says “Now I’m ready,” before going into “Right Side of My Neck,” a song about a lover’s lasting scent.
In the half-filled 3Ten, devotees and curious listeners were able to enjoy Webster and her band up close. The small space allowed for clear communication between the guitarist and the audience and provided much more intimacy than the ACL stage she performed at on Sunday. Sensing this need for increased support, listeners whooped and cheered at every song’s start and end. Rapport flowed between everyone involved in the show. Fans held off-side, swaying dance parties and sang the lyrics to “Kingston” with Faye so much at the end that she broke off into giggles and smiles, unable to finish the verse. Webster seemed to enjoy this more chill ambience than the Austin City Limits late night show had to offer, remarking at the end “You guys are quiet. I like that because I have a headache.”
The set consisted mainly of songs from her 2019 album, Atlanta Millionaires Club, the young adult’s third record to date. A stripped down “Flowers,” with delicate three-part vocals and keys moved into the bass heavy “Come to Atlanta,” with head bops and grooving abound. In her phrasing, she pushes and pleads to the subject on the track, not to the listeners. Whimpering at the end of verses, questions such as “What do you prefer? I don’t have to offer” and “Is it too much to ask you to never let me go? Is it too much to ask you to hold me even close?” reach a listener far beyond the small downtown venue. During the 40-minute set, she played “Pigeon,” which she admits stems from the fact that she did send a pigeon to a boy in Australia and “Room Temperature,” a sad introvert’s diary entry about needing to go out more to keep from wallowing. We even got to hear a new song called “In A Goodway,” where themes of yearning and romanticism continue in the repetition of the lyric “you make me cry, in a good way.”
The time in between songs became Webster’s shot at making the audience laugh through short, comedic narratives. Her ability to charm and induce laughter hardly made her tuning her guitar or slyly asking for adjustments on the PA system noticeable. When the jokes make their natural end, a serious, focused look comes over Webster’s face; She looks up and over the audience, and the music starts again. Playing tentatively and with a reserved intensity, the pedal steel guitar swooned throughout the tracks, with classic Americana seeping through, mixing with R&B and indie rock sounds reinforced through the drums, bass and keys. Webster was cool and confident, taking up space on the stage during jam spots of tracks and asserting control over her instrument and voice, which rang out with clarity and earnestness.
Although she was raised in Atlanta, her family’s from Longview, Texas and said she grew up there sometimes around Christmas. Looking out into the audience she asked, “Is my cousin here?” and with a response from a woman in the back who was in fact not her cousin, she went into a long narrative about the Baylor freshman who probably stayed at ACL to watch Childish Gambino rather than come to her show, even though she put him on the list.
The comedic antics hit a fever pitch when drummer Tessa Piccillo, a certified yo-yo world champion (yes for real, the 21 year-old won the women’s division in 2017 and 2014), following audience chants egged on by Webster, smiled sheepishly took center stage to show off her yo-yo skills. With Webster providing background music by beatboxing and scatting, the otherwise bashful drummer erupted into a yo-yoing fantasma, slinging and twirling a yo-yo in ways that I’ve never seen with the audience laughing and cheering the entire time.
The show offered a perfect mix of heartbroken soft ballads and punchlines. Spectators can walk away learning more about Webster and the art of yo-yoing as well as enjoying the revelry of a young artist who’s not budding, but solidifying herself in the genre, leaving audiences wanting more.