Los Angeles received the best holiday present ever Friday evening. The supergroup of our dreams finally debuted live and the show served as the best the year had seen. Boygenius started as a perfect joke over the summer between fast friends and musical goddesses, Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus. What came from the collaboration hopes was pure magic. Alone, the 20-somethings are talented beyond their years. Before we got the holy trinity, each musician played their own set.
The show began with Lucy Dacus. Taking center stage, she gracefully welcomed the crowd and performed an unreleased, new track which she politely asked we didn’t record. It was the perfect start to the night really. Instantly taken back by her remarkable sense of melody, listeners swooned. The new song is a goodie, that’s for sure. Lucy has been touring in support of her sophomore record, Historian which is one of my absolute favorites of the whole year. She continues to tell her stories and give us purely beautiful music.
Her set covered just some of the favorites: “Addictions”, “The Shell”, “Timefighter” and of course “Night Shift”.
Following Lucy was the always-enchanting Phoebe Bridgers. We’ve been lucky enough to catch the local native many many times this year and yet it still always remains a treat. As one of the most intriguing songwriter’s of my generation, Bridgers’ finds a way to make every song uniquely incredible live. She performed all of the favorites off her well-acclaimed debut record Stranger In The Alps, giving the fans exactly what they could’ve hoped for and more. She’s backed by a string of talented bandmates which cover drums, bass guitar, keyboard, and pedal-steel. We danced along to the drum-beating hit, “Motion Sickness” and stood glossy eyed to the more somber “You Missed My Heart” while she held the microphone and slowly walked around the stage.
She’s backed by a string of talented bandmates which cover drums, bass guitar, keyboard, and pedal-steel. Her set was just great.
Swiftly after Phoebe’s set was of course Julien Baker. We love Julien! It’s really hard to put into words what kind of talent Baker is. It’s not far off when they say big things come in small packages. Confidently making way to her guitar’s pedal board, she fidgeted a bit and then quickly whispered into the microphone a warm welcome and her name. We won’t be forgetting her name any time soon. Unlike her other supergroup mates, Julien performs alone despite a single violinist. Beginning her set with the beautiful guitar notes of her heart-wrenching song “Sour Breath”, time and the room stood still. Captivating is truly an understatement in describing a Julien Baker performance. Her lyrics alone are ever powerful and then you add her unmatchable vocal range. Julien performed a perfect blend of songs from her two records, Sprained Ankle and Turn Out The Lights. What we weren’t expecting was a surprise appearance from none other than Matt Berninger of The National! Casually asking us to welcome her “friend Matt” on stage, Julien pulled a big one over on us. The two debuted their beautiful new duet which I’m sure we’ll hear about very soon! There was not a dry eye in the theatre as Julien closed out her set with her incredibly moving track, “Appointments”.
Phew. We grabbed some shirt sleeves to wipe our eyes before it was finally time. With no introduction or really any warning, the ladies of Boygenius gallantly took the stage once again. This time they were costumed in their individually unique blazers! Each blazer is personalized with her initials and embroideries that relate to lyrics from the band’s songs. Come on! This is the girl group of our lives! Catering directly to our hearts, Boygenius didn’t waste any time. With gentle guitar strums, Bridgers started the song off, while Lucy swayed and Julien prepared. Opening with “Souvenir”, they grinned at each other as the sold-out crowd loudly cheered. The harmonies were electrifying. It was only a few short months ago that the musicians announced the collective and released the six-song self-titled EP, and there we were hearing it with the biggest sound ever. The Wiltern’s acoustics were gold. It was an even more special evening because it was the very last show on this dream tour. After performing a near-perfect cover of The Killers’ “Read My Mind” the trio instantly broke into tears and collapsed into each other’s arms. It was a one-of-a-kind moment that I know everyone won’t forget. Sharply bringing themselves together once more, the three closed the night with an unreal performance of their song “Ketchum, ID”. The room fell quiet once again as they sang so quietly into one microphone. And there you have it. We ultimately attended a four-hour long show. It was the best night of the year.
Words & Photography: Danielle Gornbein