If you were one of the millions who tuned in to watch Phoebe Bridgers’ Saturday Night Live debut, you may have briefly thought you had time-traveled to October. Each mic stand was wrapped in delicate orange string lights, red stage lights glowed beneath a thick layer of fog and the band were adorned in her signature skeleton jumpsuits while her haunting vocals echoed through her breathtaking performance.
Bridgers previously made headlines when she was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Performance, a category that was swept by all women in 2021. As if Bridgers’ four Grammy nominations (including Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album) weren’t enough to make her a household name, smashing her guitar on the SNL stage certainly propelled her to that magnitude. As Bridgers and her band powered through the performance with smiles on their faces and high energy reminiscent of a ’90s grunge band, no one expected that their live rendition of “I Know The End” would act as a glass ceiling and shatter right then and there to encourage young women in rock and alternative music.
Similar to the recorded outro of the Punisher single, “I Know The End” is a notably chaotic and destruction-riddled release. While more than a few naysayers belittled Bridgers’ performance, she made it abundantly clear that she wasn’t seeking anyone’s approval. With a smile on her face, her head held high and two discreet middle fingers up, floods of fans and even Dave Grohl showed their support for her debut.
But this isn’t about smashing a guitar—it’s so much bigger than that. It’s about the essential conversation of gender inequality, not only in music but in everyday life, that Bridgers has sparked. It would have been too easy for Bridgers to accept the negative comments as truth and apologize for her behavior. But she has absolutely nothing to be sorry for.
In the premiere Alternative Press Power Issue: Women Rising featuring cover star Phoebe Bridgers photographed by Frank Ockenfels, we’re highlighting an array of strong, independent women in rock music and within alternative culture. From empowering a new generation of female musicians such as Maggie Lindemann, Siiickbrain, Meet Me @ The Altar and Cher Strauberry to creating an open, safe and bold space for creators such as Manuela Soto Sosa, the Women Rising issue is redefining the alternative landscape.
It’s time to throw away your membership to the Boys’ Club because the ladies have arrived, and they’re breaking all of the rules—one shattered glass ceiling at a time.