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Indie supergroup Boygenius brings intimate show to San Diego

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Indie supergroup Boygenius brings intimate show to San Diego

Spencer White

Spencer White

Spencer White

by Spencer White, Staff Writer

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On a rare rainy day in San Diego, concertgoers were especially eager to get inside the North Park Observatory for Boygenius on Nov. 29.

Boygenius is a supergroup composed of three singer-songwriters: Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus, who have all developed their own following. Baker and Bridgers released albums last year, and Dacus’s latest effort came out earlier this year.  

The women together formed Boygenius and put out a self-titled EP in October, and have been on tour supporting since with appearances on NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series, and various late night TV programs. The concert format would include solo sets from all three singers and then closing out the show together.

Dacus started off the evening, at first coming out solo with an electric guitar to perform a new song with nothing behind her but a neon sign resembling the artwork from her album this year, “Historian.”

Soon after, Dacus was joined by her band and began a stunning performance with distortion-heavy guitars, playing songs about life in her home of Richmond, Va., and forgetting about previous connections with lost lovers.

On the penultimate song of her set, “Timefighter,” Dacus played an electrifying rendition of the song with her soft voice in stark contrast to the belting guitar singing, “And I fight time / It won in a landslide / I’m just as good as anybody / I’m just as bad as anybody.”

Shortly after Dacus’s set, Phoebe Bridgers and her backing band came on stage to perform with string lights adorning each instrument and a backdrop of the same dog from her appraised album from last year, “Stranger in the Alps.”

Bridgers had introduced herself to the crowd by saying it was not the first time she had been in San Diego, as she had previously opened for emo band American Football and indie singer-songwriter Conor Oberst.

Bridgers had a violinist and a sliding guitarist in the band that set the tone with ease for each of her songs. The songs “Funeral” and “Would You Rather” were big highlights of Bridgers set, and Bridgers even made a joke about the recurring themes of her music to the audience: “Just to mix it up, this next one is a love song and it’s super sad,” she said.  

Bridgers also performed an older song of hers, “Steamroller” from her first album “Killer,” per a request from a couple that traveled all the way from New Mexico to come to the concert.

Before performing her most well-known song “Motion Sickness,” Bridgers described the track as being about a guy who’s in love with video games and hates women.

Bridgers opened the song with its piercing lyrics, “I hate you for what you did / and I miss you like a little kid / I faked it every time but that’s alright / I can hardly feel anything / I hardly feel anything at all.”

The last of the three women to perform solo was Julien Baker, who ran out on stage to My Chemical Romance. Baker played sweeping guitar melodies reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky or Death Cab for Cutie, and was joined by the previous violinist for the first couple of songs.

Otherwise, Baker played solo electric with a large effect pedal board she would use to loop herself while also hopping on the piano from time to time. Despite the delicate nature of her songs, Baker packed the Observatory with robust, invigorating sounds.

On the last song of her set, “Appointments,” Baker’s vocals and guitar nearly burst out of the speaker as she sang about the struggle of losing someone she loves, “Suggest that I talk to someone again that knows how to help me get better / And ‘til then I should just try to not miss any more appointments.”

The most anticipated set of the evening, was when the three finally joined together as Boygenius. The women took turns singing lead vocals and were clearly having fun, like when Baker delivered a blistering guitar solo and Bridgers and Dacus both had inflatable guitars brought to them and shredded along with their band mate.

They performed every song off of the self-titled EP that came out this year, and a cover of the Killers’ “Read My Mind.” For the last song of the evening, “Ketchum, ID,” the trio decided to perform without microphones, singing “I am never anywhere / anywhere I go / When I’m home I’m never there / long enough to know.”

Choosing to sing without the microphones made for an incredibly intimate moment to end an emotional, unforgettable evening of music.

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