LIVE REVIEW + PHOTOS: boygenius in Boston, MA (09.26.23)
In the indie rock world 2023 has been the year of boygenius. In January the trio graced the cover of Rolling Stone, then they released their debut LP, The Record, in March as it debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. Among the songs on the album is “Not Strong Enough” which reached No. 1 on the Adult Alternative Airplay charts. They spent the summer as headliners on the Re:SET touring concert series that visited twelve cities across the US. The New England date came at The Stage at Suffolk Downs a new venue opened by Bowery Boston, and their night of the series was the lone sellout drawing a crowd of 8,500.
Their success has immediately cemented the group as one of the biggest LGBT bands active right now. The importance of that has come out in their music as well as their live performances, while performing in Tennessee over the summer they came out and played an entire set in drag shortly after Tennessee’s governor banned drag performances in the state.
Earlier this week they kicked off a run of fall headline shows with three New England shows, playing two in Boston and one in New Haven, CT. In the live setting boygenius shows bring along a particular atmosphere that often begins early in the day of the shows with fans lining up early in the morning and waiting all day. Many of the fans attending also take the opportunity to dress up in elaborate outifts, some of which are based around the group’s lyrical content or scenes from their music videos.
The Tuesday night show kicked off as all their shows do with the trio performing “Without You Without Them” acapella backstage while a video feed shows them on the screen. Once they take the stage things get kicked up a notch, especially during the third song, “Satanist” during which the stage production behind the group mimicks something you would expect to see at a Metallica show.
Shortly after that the stage lighting changes to all blue for the song “True Blue” on which Lucy Dacus takes lead vocals. Dacus actually sung the song for the first time earlier in the year during an intimate performance at Northeastern University’s Blackman Auditorium.
Later on in the show each of the three members get an opportunity to play a song from their own individual catalog with Dacus performing “Please Stay,” Baker playing “Favor,” and Bridgers performing “Graceland Too.”
During Monday night’s show they announced a surprise EP titled the rest which will be out on October 13th. On Monday they debuted one of the album’s tracks “Black Hole” and during Tuesday’s show the shared the song “Afraid of Heights” which was also being heard for the first time. As the show goes on the interactions between the band and fans grow, during “Letters to an Old Poet” Phoebe Bridgers asked the fans to put away their cell phones, telling them the song is emotional and she prefers to see the faces of fans over seeing phone screens. During the song she goes down into the barricade area to sing face to face with fans on the rail.
After completing their set boygenius returned for a two song encore, the second and final song of the show “Salt in the Wound” is famously an anything can happen scenario for the band. Monday’s show featured a surprise guest appearance from Hozier. On Tuesday Bridgers and Dacus decided to jump into the crowd and go crowd surfing.
Both shows in Boston were complete sellouts and secondary market tickets started at over $100. Later in this tour they will play at Madison Square Garden in NYC. The hype continues to grow around this super group and their trajectory is sill going upward. With only a few months left in the year and an EP due in October 2023 truly is the year of boygenius.
Photos – boygenius at MGM Music Hall in Boston, MA on September 26th: