The concert opened with a performance of “Woe,” the first track on Nymph. Part-R&B groove, part-explicit rap, the song is a perfect encapsulation of Shygirl’s diverse sounds. The live version of the track was no different – the audience was swaying to her floaty vocals and leaning into the sexual, fast-paced rap beats.
The stage was surprisingly barebones despite Shygirl’s association with hyperpop sounds and maximalist aesthetics. The minimalist design, however, was intentional. All eyes were on Shygirl, her floor-length black and white gown, and the single piece of set decor: a large, tilted mirror at the back of the stage that featured animated clips timed to Shygirl’s songs and movements. When she stood directly before it, the surrounding animations of nature and human figures created a haunting, eye-grabbing effect.
Shygirl has never shied away from spilling her heart into raw lyrics but maintains a playful, mischievous persona. This juxtaposition was on full display when her performance of “Coochie (A Bedtime Story),” a coy take on the nursery rhyme format that celebrates the vagina, was followed directly by “Firefly.” Though it’s an easy track to sing along to with catchy lyrics, the song explores the hollow, depressing feeling of loneliness after a breakup. Of course, dedicated fans know that “Firefly” is Shygirl’s favorite of her own songs.
While most of the show featured only Shygirl and her voice – a few songs of which were performed while lying down on the ground – things took a turn toward the end. After building up the crowd’s energy with her contagious charisma, Shygirl welcomed two pole dancers onto the stage to spin party-inducing tracks like “Poison” and “BB.” Although Shygirl needed no backup to bring her performance home, the dancers were a perfect cherry on an elegant evening.
Shygirl is one of those artists perfectly aligned with the times, and her New York City stop of Nymph on tour underscored her ability to keep a finger on the pulse of listeners’ tastes. So much of her popularity bloomed during the pandemic when audiences were hungry for sensual sounds, escapist aesthetics, and the nostalgia of a free night out on the town. A master of her unique craft, Shygirl effortlessly blended these complex themes into a perfectly bold Spring concert that audiences won’t soon forget.