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REVIEW: Boygenius’s two nights at MGM Music Hall leave unforgettable impression on fans

The+indie+group+boygenius+performed+at+MGM+Music+Hall+at+Fenway+on+Sept.+25+and+26.+Hozier+joined+boygenius+on+stage+to+sing+%E2%80%9CSalt+in+the+Wound.%E2%80%9D
Hanne Brabander
The indie group boygenius performed at MGM Music Hall at Fenway on Sept. 25 and 26. Hozier joined boygenius on stage to sing “Salt in the Wound.”

The indie supergroup boygenius performed at MGM Music Hall at Fenway on Sept. 25 and 26 for the fall leg of their ongoing tour featuring outstanding vocal performances, a surprise musical appearance from Hozier and touching audience engagement. 

The band is composed of three best friend solo singer-songwriters, Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus. They released their highly anticipated debut album “the record” in March 2023, their first release since the widely loved self-titled debut EP, “boygenius” in 2018.

The trio kicked off the night with the opening track, “Without You Without Them,” a raw blend of harmonious a capella vocals and love-letter reminiscent lyrics. Then, almost with the blink of an eye, Baker made the stage her own as she fiercely began singing the punk-driven and uproarious “$20,” shortly followed by “Satanist.” 

Baker’s performance was one of my favorite aspects of the show, evident from the fact that I was fangirling everytime she showed up on the display screen. Her incredible guitar solos and her strong vocal belts, especially during “Stay Down,” showcased her astounding talent. 

What defines and characterizes the beauty and ingenuity of boygenius is their ability to create a melodious balance of each other’s voices. No one performer outshines the others, and while sometimes a member may take the reins on a certain song, they consistently showcase the touching harmonies that result from the blending of their distinct voices.

This is best seen in the slower ballads of the show such as “True Blue,” and “Emily I’m Sorry,” the latter a somber, folk-inspired confessional song led by Bridgers. During the chorus, Dacus and Baker come together to harmonize, enhancing the track’s striking emotional power with their mesmerizing blend of voices.

“Bridgers sings “Me & My Dog” from boygenius’s self-titled “boygenius.” (Hanne Brabander)

I attended both Boston shows on Sept. 25 and 26 and found myself deeply moved by the enthusiasm of the crowd and their relationship with the band. Not only were concertgoers’ spirits bouncing off the walls (quite literally when everyone collectively shouted “kill the bourgeois,” during “Satanist”), but they were dedicated to cultivating a welcoming and loving community. 

On the second night, a fan distributed pride flags throughout the crowd, which captured the attention of Dacus during “Souvenir” as she took a few and distributed them across the stage, highlighting the band’s dediation to embracing LGBTQ+ acceptance. 

It was hard not to smile while witnessing the tender, lighthearted and genuine banter between the three members, whether that be them teasing Baker when her guitar was tuned incorrectly for a song, or poking fun at the Berklee College of Music in Boston when Bridgers convinced everyone in the pit to make friends, make a band and drop out. 

The open-hearted vulnerability of their connection laid bare when each member sang a song from their solo catalogs, “Please Stay” by Dacus, “Favor” by Baker, and “Graceland Too” by Bridgers. A powerful trilogy of songs, each reference and pay homage to each other; not only do all three artists sing as backup vocalists, they were also notably recorded on the same day. 

This was one of my favorite parts of the show because it allowed each member of the band to individually flourish, and I was able to hear “Graceland Too” live, one of my favorite songs off Bridgers’ phenomenal 2020 record “Punisher.” 

Following the performance of their solo tracks, boygenius surprised the audience with an unexpected announcement: their upcoming EP, titled “the rest,” is set to be released on Oct. 13. To the delight of the crowd, they also treated us to two unreleased songs, a different one on each night, “Black Hole,” followed by “Afraid of Heights.”

A&E Senior Staff Writer Hanne Brabander writes about the enthusiastic atmosphere of the crowd during the boygenius concert. During the concert, boygenius released the cover art for their upcoming EP “the rest,” releasing Oct. 13. (Hanne Brabander)

As the show’s main set came to a close, the trio ended with the energetic “Not Strong Enough,” a song critiquing the music industry which aligns with their name, boygenius, which satirizes the norm of overpraising men. The crowd embodied the passion of the track as we shouted one of my all time favorite lyrics, “always an angel, never a god.” 

Amid cheers from the crowd, boygenius made their encore appearance, concluding the night with a performance of “Salt in the Wound,” leaving everyone in awe as Hozier, who performed at the BankNH Pavilion the previous night, unexpectedly joined them on stage for the grand finale. I am afraid to rewatch the video on my phone at the moment when the crowd realized Hozier had walked out. Trust me, it probably would blow out my headphone speakers. 

The boygenius experience is simply unforgettable. It is rare to find a band that is the culmination of so much raw talent, one that not only recognizes the value of visibility but truly and powerfully embodies it each and every night.

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Hanne Brabander, A&E Senior Staff Writer
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