boygenius didn't disappoint at their sold-out show at The Mann - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

It hasn’t taken boygenius long to achieve the resounding success and roaring admiration felt at Saturday night’s sold out show at The Mann. Now promoting their first LP the record, the trio comprised of singer-songwriters Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus were all pursuing solo careers before they discovered their writing chemistry and accidental friendship in 2018. “Sad girl” audiences, a term they’ve both acknowledged and dismissed, were thrilled to see the genre’s three stars join forces on an emotionally-charged, six-song, self-titled EP. Five years and at least one solo studio recording per artist later, and the super group has fully, tremendously arrived with the record and its adjoining tour.

To no one’s surprise, a majority of The Mann’s 14,000 capacity seats were occupied by young women Saturday night. Boygenius’ appeal, after all, not only comes from the success of the individual artists (all in their late 20s), but also the dialogue they’ve fanned surrounding the breakdown of the musical categorization “girl group.” Bridgers told Vogue back in 2018: “Nobody thinks twice about five dudes starting a band, but as soon as three fucking women start a band they’re like ‘girl band!’ or like ‘girl project!'” The three artists were conscious of their identity, and chose to lean in, hiring all women musicians to play on the record and touring with an all-female band. Another strong part of their massive appeal? The three songwriters’ chemistry as friends (and what has perhaps only been teased as something more), creating an environment best enjoyed with one’s bestie. But of course seats abound with a range of different music fans; at one point during “Bite The Hand,” the stage’s live feed camera turned around on the audience projecting a man’s “boomers for boygenius” handmade t-shirt to rapturous applause.

Bridgers, Dacus, and Baker kicked off the show from behind a screen, singing their harmonious, Carter-family nod of an album opener “Without You Without Them” projected onto the larger-than-life stage. They then came running out from backstage to play “$20,” the record‘s second song and one of the fan-favorite singles. “It’s a bad idea / and I’m all about it,” sang Julien Baker positioned center-stage, which seemed befitting to her status as the initial link between Dacus and Bridgers, and the emotional core of the group if it were fair to name one. Us photographers in the pit were allowed to shoot for four songs, one more than the industry standard, which felt significant. Another sign of generosity from the band was the sheer number of photographers–all women, coincidentally–approved to work that night, from publications large and small.

photo by Paige Walter for WXPN

photo by Paige Walter for WXPN

boygenius’ Philly set was both intimate and cathartic

Boygenius’ set was a fair mix of songs from the record with memorable standouts like “True Blue,” “Cool About It” featuring Baker on a hybrid banjo/electric guitar sounding instrument, and the chilling “Revolution 0,” in which the crowd sang along to every word of Bridger’s inner monologue including “I just wanna know who broke your nose / Figure out where they live / so I can kick their teeth in” and “Just let me pretend / I don’t wanna die / that’s a lie.” The trio won’t shy away from going to those dark places–many of the themes that show up in their music are mental-health related–but through creative songwriting, the debilitating moments are all obliterated by cathartic, dynamic bombs or crashing sonic highs and lows in the music. The night’s setlist also featured every song from 2018’s boygenius, an unreleased song titled “Powers” off the upcoming EP the rest out October 13, and three songs from the artists’ respective solo careers: “Please Stay” by Lucy Dacus, “Favor” by Julien Baker, and “Graceland Too,” by Phoebe Bridgers. A sobering moment for all of us, which be damned if you see evidence of these three minutes anywhere on the internet, is when Bridgers implored we all put our phones away so she could see our faces while she sang “Letter To An Old Poet” while walking through the stairways of The Mann’s amphitheater.

photo by Paige Walter for WXPN

You can, however, relive some of the moments from Saturday’s boygenius concert, which featured a stunning opening set from Samia, through the photo gallery below. Fun fact: the last time Samia and Lucy Dacus were at The Mann, it was for a bill with Courtney Barnett that many may remember as the night we got soaking wet in an instant downpour of rain. Suffice it to say, neither headlining act was able to perform. Samia, though, was as charming as ever, just like this past weekend. Her new album Honey is out now. Boygenius’ the record is also available now, with an EP titled the rest coming October 13th.

  • Without You Without Them
  • $20
  • Satanist
  • Emily I'm Sorry
  • True Blue
  • Cool About It
  • Souvenir
  • Revolution 0
  • Bite The Hand
  • Stay Down
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Please Stay
  • Favor
  • Graceland Too
  • Powers
  • Me & My Dog
  • We're In Love
  • Anti-Curse
  • Letter To An Old Poet
  • Not Strong Enough
  • Ketchum, ID
  • Salt In The Wound
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