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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, April 20, 2024
Julien Baker

The three singers melded into a seamless marathon show, each woman capable of hollering notes listeners feel in their entire bodies.

​Boygenius outsmarts expectations of collaborative trio show

Stores boast crazy sales like “Buy three, get one free!” Concerts do the same thing, in a way, giving audiences an opener along with the headliner they’re paying to see. The joint show of indie-folk singer-songwriters Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus was the best three-for-one deal though, all three of them headlining acts worth every cent and tear.

The three singers melded into a seamless marathon show, each woman capable of hollering notes listeners feel in their entire bodies. It was all wrapped with a giant bow at the end when the trio came together to perform as their newly-made group, boygenius.

According to Baker, the band formed after the three agreed to tour together, but the way their powerful voices rose in unison felt like they started playing together years ago when their careers launched. Their lyrics and cohesion were, in fact, genius — they’re the one group project I actually want to be a part of.

Just weeks after their self-titled EP dropped, the musicians held the crowd in suspense before sharing new tracks with a build-up of solo performances from each artist. Dacus kicked it off with her warm presence, swaying in her combat boots and striped socks, truly settling in with us for an intimate basement show vibe. Underneath her sweet demeanor, however, lies an intensity she reached especially during her popular tune “Night Shift.” She bounced across her range, and each note sounded as flawless as the last.

Bridgers followed up with her country-tinged, quietly heartwrenching set. She and her band dressed in all black, silhouetted by yellow string lights, immersing us in the music best listened to while sitting and contemplating under stars. With a folk-goth presence and ghostly guitar strums, Bridgers brought edgy melancholy to the stage, touching on domestic violence and death in her songs. But bold notes and a cover of a love song about the internet (Gillian Welch’s “Everything Is Free”) sliced through the dreariness to get the audience screaming.

After Dacus and Bridgers’ full bands jammed with the crooners on stage, Baker entered The Sylvee accompanied by her own guitar and piano, and violinist Camille Faulkner for a few songs. Baker played both instruments while also pushing a vocal loop pedal at her feet, all while shaking the venue’s walls with her powerful, drawn-out notes. The singer is known for her wild range and bold, held lyrics — big enough that she must have been told to step back from the mic. At times she seemed to be too far, making the notes seem far away when I wanted to be wrapped in a cocoon of her creaky voice.

The audience was a collective puddle of emotions after moving to each of the uniquely talented songstresses. When Dacus, Bridgers and Baker waltzed on stage wearing personalized blazers covered in hands and constellations, the powers from each of their guitars blasted the audience.

Baker’s sound mimics a church choir, full of vibrato and interlaced with the piano backing her lyrics. When she was joined by her two friends, they became a women’s choir, their voices layered perfectly. Separately they were magical, but together they were a full force to be reckoned with. They became a delicious combination, like a layered cake. Each piece, each key was better than the last and I was sad to have an empty plate, especially when the last bite was a sweet taste of them singing “Ketchum, ID.”

Fresh off an appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk and Late Night with Seth Meyers, boygenius has gained critical acclaim just under a month after releasing their brief EP. I, for one, hope this performance was not the last and that the group continues beyond their joint tour. During the song “Salt In The Wound,” Bridgers and Dacus dramatically bowed at Baker’s feet as she shredded a guitar solo mid-tune — which also happened to be exactly what I felt like doing for all three of them after this impeccable show.

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