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Monday March 4th

boygenius’ sold-out Philadelphia debut is a show to remember

boygenius performing “Without You Without Them” (Photo courtesy of Cody Macnatt).
boygenius performing “Without You Without Them” (Photo courtesy of Cody Macnatt).

By Isabella Darcy

Opinions Editor

A sold-out crowd of over 12,000 Dr. Marten-wearing, indie music-loving boygenius fans brought venue-shaking energy to the TD Pavillion at The Mann on Sept. 30 for the supergroup’s first performance in Philadelphia. 

On stage first was the supporting act for the evening, indie-pop singer Samia. She played a nine-track set, including some of her most popular songs, like “Big Wheel,” “Charm You” and “Honey.” Samia’s performance was vivacious, entertaining and engaging, which made for a great opening act. 

Before she left the stage, Samia said that it was an honor to open for the “greatest band in the world.”

At 8:45 p.m., the lights dimmed and “The Boys Are Back in Town” by Thin Lacy blared through the venue’s speakers. It was almost time for boygenius, composed of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, who call themselves “the boys,” to take the stage. 

The boys began their set backstage by performing an acapella song, “Without You Without Them,” to a camera. The crowd watched, on three jumbotrons, as the boys finished their backstage performance and ran out onto the stage. Drums boomed, lights flashed and basses roared when boygenius started their on-stage set with their vigorous hit single, “$20.” 

The first six tracks that the boys played were off of the supergroup’s debut album, “the record,” which was released March 31. Despite the album's young age, many fans knew and shouted every word of every song. 

Fans, young and old, stayed passionate, especially during melancholic tracks like “Emily I’m Sorry” and “Cool About It.” Tears were shed, and lyrics were belted. 

Boygenius’ entire discography is 65 minutes long, only having released a six-track self-titled EP and “the record” in their career thus far. A discography of that length allows the boys to play all of their songs off their EP and album, as well as a collection of songs known as The Trio.

The Trio consists of the songs “Please Stay” by Lucy Dacus, “Favor” by Julien Baker and “Graceland Too” by Phoebe Bridgers. Each of these songs are from the boys’ solo albums, but are played at boygenius shows because they are products of unofficial boygenius collaborations. 

The boys played The Trio in the middle of their set. Once it was finished, the boys paused to make an announcement; they would be live-debuting their unreleased song “Powers.”

“Powers” is the fourth track on boygenius’ unreleased, second EP, “the rest.” The EP was announced just five days prior to the Philadelphia concert, and is to be released Oct. 13.

The live debut of “Powers” was one of many memorable moments from the show. Another notable moment was when audience members surprised the boys with a fan project. 

Fans who were running the project handed out tiny blue hearts and yellow stars, which instructed them to hold up phone flashlights with the cutouts in front of them during the songs “True Blue” and “Me & My Dog.”  

Written on the star cutouts were the words, “let’s create an ‘impossible view’ for the boys.” 

The combined effort made the venue light up blue during “True Blue” and yellow during “Me & My Dog.” 

The show perfectly represented who boygenius is: a successfully versatile supergroup with an emotionally evocative discography. 

The latter half of boygenius’ set was predominately melancholic, until it was time for the final song on their setlist. Fans jumped and screamed so hard that the venue shook as the boys ended with the banger “Not Strong Enough” and then ran off stage. 

The boys returned minutes later for a two-song encore, playing “Ketchum, ID” and “Salt in the Wound.” The show ended similar to how it began: with an extravagant performance filled with flashing lights, rattling walls and the booms of drums.

boygenius’ Philadelphia debut was an unforgettable show. The boys truly are (musical) geniuses.


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