‘boygenius’ at MGM Music Hall at Fenway
Written by Emma Kresge
November 20, 2023
boygenius, an indie-rock supergroup composed of renowned singer-songwriters Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus, have rightfully cemented themselves as a pillar of modern music. From their self-titled EP (2018) to their debut album “the record” (2023), boygenius have proven themselves to be an eternal flame of music fueled by generational talent, commitment to their craft, and unconditional friendship. Boston was recently blessed with their presence at MGM Music Hall at Fenway, and although Bridgers has clarified the use of “genius” is ironic, I have to say the group lives up to their name.
With two sold out shows at a venue with a capacity of 5,000 people, boygenius has garnered a dedicated fanbase that makes an effort to support their music. I arrived nearly two hours early for General Admission, yet I ended up at the back of a line that had already wrapped around the building. I came to realize that boygenius’ audience is more of a community than a fanbase; I soon found myself part of a heartwarming fan project to wave around mini pride-flags during the song “Souvenir,” a moment that spurred collective joy and solidarity.
The show opened with an impressive performance from fellow indie-rock band Palehound, leaving the crowd giddy with excitement as we waited for Bridgers, Baker, and Dacus to take the stage. The band's entrance brought a paralyzing awe to the venu. I imagine the first seconds of seeing their silhouettes illuminated and moving barely a dozen feet in front of me is akin to being struck by lightning. boygenius’ set began with the vulnerable backstage harmonies of “Without You Without Them,” and the slight falter in Baker’s voice caused a warm, beautifully human laughter to wave over “the boys” and audience alike.
Then came a quick jump into reckless, rebellious youth with “$20” and “Satanist.” A whirlwind of intense guitar solos, screaming matches between the frontwomen, and an array of flashing lights swept through the souls of the crowd. For a band known for their soul crushing, ballad-esque love songs, boygenius knows how to channel a bit of rock n’ roll.
Another highlight of the concert included a heartfelt triad of songs from the members solo careers about Baker’s struggle with mental illness: Dacus’ “Please Stay,” Baker’s “Favor,” and Bridgers’ “Graceland Too.” As Bridgers sang her iconic “Graceland Too” lyric, “Said she knows she lived through it to get to this moment,” the crowd sang and cried along with her, suggesting that for many attendees this was the moment they had been living for too.
Bridgers led the performance of my personal favorite tune, “Me & My Dog.” After asking the audience to hold up photos of their dogs, she performed a heartfelt rendition of the song that ended with a fervent belt of the lyrics, “I dream about it/ and I wake up falling,” leaving few dry eyes in the venue.
Naturally, the show closed out with the ever-anticipated encore of “Salt in the Wound.” Bridgers, Baker, and Dacus consistently go viral on social media for their exhilarating closing act, during which they often kiss each other, roll around on the floor, crowdsurf, or even rip off their shirts. MGM was no exception to this spectacular tradition, and Boston fans got to help Bridgers surf over them while Baker and Dacus sang (and kissed) their hearts out on stage.
Aside from ensuring boygenius’ place as an all-time favorite artist, the concert also gave me perspective on why the band is important outside of the music scene. In a world that grows evermore threatening to queer safety and stability, boygenius stands as a beacon of hope for young LGBTQ+ people. This is a group of women that is unapologetically queer, celebrates their ties to the LGBTQ+ community, and encourages their fanbase to meaningfully participate in inclusive LGBTQ+ activism. boygenius is on the precipice of a career that will leave a legacy larger than their music.