Singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers gives surprise performance at Healdsburg’s Little Saint

On the heels of a European tour and an upcoming appearance at the Outside Lands music festival, singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers gave a free concert Thursday night in Healdsburg. The Grammy-nominated singer was the “super-secret special guest” at an intimate free show at the Little Saint Lounge.

“We really wanted to get people here,” said Jenny Hess, the director of Little Saint. The Lounge opened just three weeks ago and offers free music on Thursdays and frequent ticketed music and arts events. The recently finished upstairs space includes a 12-foot-by-16-foot stage, outdoor patio, bar and seasonal bites from chef de cuisine Bryan Oliver.

“We want Little Saint to be a music venue and destination,” Hess said. The 10,000- square-foot space, formerly known as SHED, includes a plant-based cafe, takeout food and a bar program curated by Single Thread restaurant founders Kyle and Katina Connaughton.

Though news of Bridgers’ appearance was supposed to stay under wraps, most of the attendees were anything but surprised and by 7:30 p.m., a line snaked down the block.

Sometimes compared to Billie Eilish, Bridgers’ emo-indie music has a deep, soul-searching rawness and delves into complicated issues of mental health, family relationships and breakups.

“I was sworn to secrecy,” said Izzy Sellers, 28, of Santa Rosa, who heard about the concert from a boyfriend who works at Little Saint. She invited Linnea Huomo, a die-hard Bridgers fan, without spilling the beans until just before the concert.

“I had to know what to wear,” said Huomo, 28, also of Santa Rosa. “I’m a huge fan, and I love her music. And we don’t have enough money to go to Outside Lands,” she said.

“This was just a real blessing for me,” she added.

If you’re over 40, Bridgers may not ring a bell, but ask a millennial about the singer, and you’ll likely get a swooning reply.

“I was told she was super-popular,” said Sue McCutchan, 60, of Healdsburg. “I asked my kids, and then I started watching YouTube and Instagram. I did a ton of research, and I thought it would be fun to see her.”

Bridgers, who is from Pasadena, lived in Ukiah for several years and spent time in Healdsburg writing music and dining, according to Hess.

The 27-year-old musician had met Little Saint co-owner Laurie Ubben at several music festivals and agreed to the all-acoustic performance that lasted just over an hour. A bandmate, Harrison Whitford, opened the show and accompanied Bridgers’ laid-back set.

“(Laurie) has good connections and finds new, fun talent,” Hess said. “We want Little Saint to be where people just come and want to play music.”

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