boygenius are seriously really good

MGM Music Hall at Fenway, Boston, September 26, 2023

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

boygenius would not plead guilty to being too serious. When your intro song is Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back in Town" and the trio at hand consists of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus, it's certainly meant as tongue in check.

But that was only the preamble to a wildly successful outing from the female super trio in the second of two shows in Boston.

Each of the members of boygenius has enjoyed successful careers on their own, joining forces for a co-headlining tour in 2018. Recording a song to be able to play together ended up in unintended consequences, the formation of boygenius (the name itself is a joke on males, who think of themselves as being too smart for school).

One wouldn't know it from the start of the night with "$20" and "Satanist," but boygenius is not a flat out rock band. When they did rock, Baker never seemed so unleashed and free as she did on those two songs out of the box, strutting her axe and playing with glee.

But for the better part of 100 minutes, boygenius was more disposed to softer, indie folk, even Americana-ish sounds at times. There was most definitely a power in numbers as Bridgers, Baker and Dacus were all quietly passionate, engaging vocalists. Baker, who sometimes occupies far too much of the same sonic territory on her own, particularly benefitted from the group setting.

The beauty of boygenius were the gorgeous vocal arrangements with the principals sometimes trading stanzas, many times singing in harmony. What a pleasure to hear.

Each played one of their own songs – "Please Stay" for Dacus, "Favor" for Baker and "Graceland Too" for Bridgers – before offering a brand new song for the first time, "Afraid of Heights," a sort of country leaning softer song about standing up for yourself in a relationship (the song will be released in an EP coming out in October).

Sisterhood is definitely powerful for boygenius and its fans, who were overwhelmingly female and pretty much sang along to every song. Bridgers and Dacus even took a leap into the crowd at the end of the night. The backing quartet was all female as well.

boygenius clearly enjoyed the night as they should have. How else to explain Bridgers all of a sudden leaving her perch for Baker, who was seated in the middle of the stage and planting a seemingly spontaneous big kiss on the lips to cheers from the crowd.

This was a most exuberant night of music from boygenius – from the singing to the songs to the staging (excellent use of the backing screen throughout the night) to the warmth so obvious between band members (and the crowd). Seriously.

© Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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