Concert Reviews

boygenius concert review | Pittsburgh, PA | Stage AE | 06.20.23

boygenius has chemistry, stage presence, and the ability to create art together in a way that is unlike anyone else.

A sold-out crowd screaming the lyrics “Sleep in cars and kill the bourgeoisie“? That”s exactly what you get at a concert from this supergroup. The all-female trio, which consists of musicians Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus, performed to a sold-out crowd on Tuesday (06.20.23) at Stage AE in Pittsburgh, PA. These gals undoubtedly put the “genius” in boygenius.

“The boys,” as their fans affectionately call them, put out their first EP in 2018. The eight-song EP gave the band space to do a handful of shows to debut the group but ultimately left fans craving more from the iconic trio. Fast forward to 2023, after nearly five years of silence (due to the individual members embarking on their own endeavors and consequently finding their own success), the group suddenly dropped three songs and made an announcement for a new album, ‘the record,’ which dropped in March. The already successful band has found even more success and has embarked on a summer tour across the globe to share their songs with the world. The Pittsburgh tour stop was hosted at a relatively small venue compared to others on the tour. Some fans flocked to the venue as early as 1:30 AM to ensure they had a front-row spot to see the group in action.

The group’s touring backing musicians took the stage to Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town”. Moments later, the trio appeared on screen and began singing their album opener “Without You Without Them” a cappella before seamlessly transitioning into “$20” while storming the stage in their classic school uniform-style outfits.

‘the record‘ truly takes fans on an emotional journey of love, heartbreak, friendship connection, and everything in between. The band’s live show does the exact same. Songs like “True Blue” and “Leonard Cohen” highlight the beautiful friendship of the trio, celebrating the highs and lows. Other tunes including “Cool About It” and “Emily I’m Sorry” discuss the devastating end of a relationship. The lyrics writing of this trio hits close to home for fans and band members alike.

While singing the opening notes to “Letter to an Old Poet” Bridgers stopped a few bars in and asked fans to put their phones away so she could look into their eyes as she sang the heartbreaking lyrics:

“But you’re not special, you’re evil, you don’t get to tell me to calm down.”

The ladies also took a moment to highlight their individual music careers and each member performed a song from their own collection.

  • Dacus performed “Please Stay,” from her 2021 release, ‘Home Video.’
  • Baker performed “Favor” from her release, ‘Little Obvlivions
  • Bridgers performed “Graceland Too” from her 2020 ‘Punishers‘ album.

The respective solo music blended seamlessly into the set, and to an outsider, it would not have been noticed that these songs are not part of the boygenius catalog. There’s an old adage that “you are only as strong as your weakest link.” Tonight, there is no “weakest” — hell, not even a “weak” — just three powerhouse ladies kicking ass.

boygenius performs “$20” at State AE in Pittsburgh, PA on June 20, 2023. {Video courtesy of YouTube user Michael Palm}

‘The boys’ closed the show with “Not Strong Enough,” before returning for a two-song encore. Rather than the full band returning, the trio came on stage with a single acoustic guitar to play “Ketchum, ID” off of the 2018 EP. During the second chorus, the gals abandoned the microphones to sing with the crowd, and all 3 grinned as fans belted the lyrics back to them in (almost) perfect harmony.

The show closed with “Salt In The Wound” and as the backing musicians closed the song, Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus dogpiled onto of each other, hugging and kissing and rolling around the stage together. Baker popped up and sprinted across the stage, leaping into Bridgers’ arms to be carried off stage as the song ended.

A show with as much life as a boygenius concert needs an AMAZING opener to get the crowd in the right gear. Claud’s fun “bedroom pop” sound had fans dancing and jumping despite the summer heat, serving as the perfect way to start off the night. Their song “That’s Mr. Bitch To You” was an immediate favorite, and they even gave fans a taste of new music with “Every Fucking Time.” They even threw in a cover of Taylor Swift’s “betty” to get the crowd singing along. Be on the lookout for Claud’s sophomore album, ‘Supermodels’ to drop in July.

boygenius Setlist Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA, USA 2023, the tour

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