The Troubadour in West Hollywood has always been able to maintain its iconic, historical energy as one of the most famous intimate venues in the Los Angeles area. Many musicians have gotten their United States start at this venue since 1957, and many performers who have reached a level of stardom that has long outgrown a 500-capacity room have returned to the simple magic of performing in the small but mighty venue, such as Elton John, Hozier, Billie Eilish, and Finneas. I’ve seen many people soak up the energy of headlining at the Troubadour for the first time, but no performance has left me in such an impressed state as Catie Turner as she headlined on June 27, 2023; a long awaited day after she had opened at the venue four separate times in the past. Before she even stepped out to begin her set, I realized that I don’t ever recall seeing another artist find room to place props on the Troubadour’s very small stage. Catie had set up a dressing room mirror adorned around the edges with lightbulbs, a colorful spinning prize wheel, and a corded telephone prop on small tables.
Turns out, Catie’s set absolutely had it all and included everything I love in a memorable performance; it became immediately clear that she was made for the stage and deeply cared about giving the best show possible to her fans. She planned and executed every single transition between her songs with natural ease, disguising them in heartwarming voicemail audios that filled the room from her mom and dad, joking with her fans like a girl would chat with her best friend, and a disruptive “phone call” with her real life best friend and opener Sophie Holohan (“Catie it’s been like 20 minutes and I miss you”) that was followed by a skit and a choreographed duet of only the most iconic duet ever done, “Breaking Free” from High School Musical. Throughout her set, her upbeat pop songs such as “Nothing” and “Hyperfixations” had the entire room dancing and jumping while Catie matched their own energy without missing a single lyric. Her more emotional, slower songs such as “home”, “Love On The Moon”, and currently “i luv him.” all gave me chills as her fans carried the choruses of songs that clearly meant a lot to them. Catie made sure to engage with as many fans in the front row as possible as she held their hands, gestured a fan to the front who told Catie that she got a tattoo inspired by her, and asked another to spin her game wheel that would tell her what song to play next in the set (spoiler alert: it landed on drum solo).
Overall, it was so heartwarming to see Catie get to finally headline one of her dream concert venues and take full advantage of the night. She gave every second of her performance everything she had, and was so generous and strategic with including the voices of her loved ones between songs and sharing the intimate stage space with her fans in the front. Catie gave the best, cleanest performance I have ever seen in this venue, never missing a beat as she highlighted her June 2023 EP “Comedy & Tragedy: Act 1” while the entire room sang, danced, laughed, and cried along, and I can’t wait to see where else she brings her striking stage presence and beautiful discography in the future.