Wednesday, November 07, 2018
boygenius played Brooklyn Steel
Musical super groups often have a bad rap due to overpowering brilliance that results in projects blown entirely out of proportion. Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus are ready to bust that thought right out the door and at their second show ever, they put any unbelievers to shame.
Over the past several years, these women have released a steady stream of country-folk records that have propelled their names throughout the indie scene and given a light to music that has often felt underrepresented in the age of the internet. Coming together under the moniker boygenius, not only has this trio upped their game and released perhaps their most compelling work to date (both as individuals, but also as a band this might be their most endearing material yet), but they've also confirmed that Camp Cope's undoubtedly correct when they scream about the fact that the ability to sellout a room is not something of luck, but rather of earned talent. Dividing the night into four distinctive sets, there is no real opener and their respect and admiration for each other is unquestionably apparent. Lucy Dacus kicked off the night with the most explicit country vibes of the evening, her angelic voice and soft guitars lulling the crowd into the night ahead. Phoebe Bridgers led her band through an impressive march that lingered more into folk aesthetics, her bashful demeanor only aiding to her charm and drawing the crowd into her splendid sonic palette.
Julien Baker took the "headlining" slot alone, the stage struck bare with the exception of a lone piano and her microphone. Sending her guitar through infinite loops, Baker entranced the crowd with her polarizing force of isolated vocals that invoke some of the deepest emotions and sends listeners into a vortex of suspended rhythm and melody. Aided only by a violinist, Julien utilizes her voice to give each song an incredible rush of power and vulnerability and armed with just her guitar by her side, there is no layer of dependence and not once does Julien ever give a sign that she's not fully immersed in the moment. Captivating the crowd to the utmost degree, there was barely a phone raised to take a photo let alone engage in a conversation that could distract from the brilliance unfolding onstage. At times she'd back away from her microphone and allow her voice to carry on with just her own power behind it leaving the audience with their jaws dropped to the floor. She's an empowering force on her own, but with her friends by her side, there was no denying the powers of this newly formed super group.
For the final act of the night, the three stars reconvened on stage to fully display their love and gratitude for one another in one of the most pure and honest showings of friendship and utter joy of playing music together I've ever witnessed. Adorned in matching jackets (Bridgers' idea according to Dacus), it was an inspiring experience as each lended their talents and clearly displayed personal highlights without ever drawing the spotlight away from their partner. "Bite the Hand" and "Stay Down" were direct and sharp, hyping the crowd up to their most energized moments of the night, but it was "Me & My Dog" that really brought the crowd to their knees. Bridgers' carries the weight of the track as it begins, but when all three hit the harmony of "I wanna be emaciated," it's something that shines out as a song that would conjure up an equal amount of joy at the Lilith Fair as it would the Pitchfork Festival, and that alone is enough to confirm the impact this group is having and the power onto which they hold. In another moment, Baker absolutely shredded a guitar solo as Bridgers and Dacus bowed down, Wayne's World style, to once again enhance the outpouring of love and respect they have for one another. There were no egos on stage and as each of them took turns expressing their talents in unique, remarkable fashions, it was a stellar reminder of the care and support that can still exist and the future ahead for each of these remarkable women.