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The Dickinsonian

Boygenius IS strong enough, rocks Philly

24 hours beforehand, I did not think I would be spending my Saturday night in Philadelphia getting to see one of my favorite bands. However, because of a last-minute request from a friend, I was able to attend the Sept. 30 Boygenius concert at the Mann Center. I think the reaction I have given to everyone who has bothered to listen sums up my thoughts pretty well: “Absolutely amazing!” However, I will go more in-depth, because I simply can not stop talking about it.

The show was opened by Samia — an indie artist I had not heard of before the show — but I really enjoyed her content. I particularly liked her songs “Kill Her Freak Out” and “Honey,” both of which are from her album “Honey” that came out in January. I do wish that the screens on the sides of the stage were on for Samia’s set, since it was difficult to see her and the rest of the band from where we were sitting, but other than that her setup was great.

Before the headliners came out to play, Tailinh Agoyo, the founder of We Are the Seeds (which is an Indigenous arts and culture group in Philadelphia) came out to give a land acknowledgement. In Philadelphia, the concert took place on land originally held by the Lenape tribe, and I loved the fact that Boygenius has been having local Indigenous activists giving these acknowledgements at their recent shows.

After that, Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back in Town” played over the speaker system, and everyone around me immediately stood up, because we all knew what was coming. From that point on, even going all the way back to the venue’s lawn, most people stood for the entire show. Then there they were – the superstar trio of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker up on the big screen backstage singing their song “Without You Without Them” before running out to a thrilling opening of “$20.” It was the first of the original three singles they dropped before the release of their album “The Record.” Then they played another high energy song right after, “Satanist,” and you can tell everyone was ready to yell “sleep in cars and kill the bourgeoisie” with how loud that line was.

After that came the longer set of slower songs during the show. They played the other two singles they released from their album “The Record” earlier this year: “Emily I’m Sorry” and “True Blue,” the latter of which I adored for Dacus’ singing.

At Boygenius concerts, it is common for fans to make little projects to surprise the band. There were two at this show — one to hold different colored slips of paper over your flashlight for the next song, “Cool About It,” and one later on in the show to hold yellow stars and moons over the flashlight for “Me and My Dog.”

The next stretch of songs included material from “The Record” and the group’s self-titled debut 2018 EP. After that came a song from each of the band member’s already notable solo careers: “Please Stay” for Dacus, “Favor” for Baker, and “Graceland Too” for Bridgers. These were all pleasant surprises that I did not expect them to play, as I was only expecting the band’s original material and not their solo material.

After that, I would say the latter half of the concert was my favorite. Before “Me and My Dog,” the group played “Powers,” a song off of their upcoming EP “The Rest,” which will be released on Oct. 13. The EP will have four songs, and they have been playing each at different shows on the tour, and this was the last one they had to play. It is a slower song with Baker on lead vocals, and I am incredibly excited for the song to come to streaming.

After those songs came “We’re in Love,” and Dacus, who was singing lead vocals, walked along the walls of the pit in a way that made her look like she was walking above the crowd. It was an incredible sight to go with such an amazing performance, which was followed by the high energy song “Anti-Curse.”

The song “Letter to an Old Poet” produced the most incredible part of the concert. Bridgers, who sang this song, asked that we all put our phones away due to the song being emotionally difficult for her to sing. After she said that, I yelled “We love you,” and there was a good bit of cheering following that.

Then, during the song, she came up off the stage, and skipped past the further back section of seating where I was seated. There were only two rows between Bridgers and me, and the fact that happened left me awestruck for the rest of the night – and even now. I think not being able to have my phone out to record it made it an even better experience.

After that came my favorite song by the band, “Not Strong Enough,” and an encore of “Ketchum, ID” and “Salt in the Wound.” The last song was prefaced by Bridgers asking, “Do you guys want to see something weird?” before pulling up her shirt to show marks from a cupping massage she had earlier, which is not the first time she has flashed people during this tour.

Throughout the show, the whole band and performance was absolutely amazing, and I loved the venue (except for the parking situation, which took us 50 minutes to get out of). If you get the chance to see Boygenius or any of its members live, absolutely do so. You will not regret it!

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About the Contributor
Walker Kmetz ’25
Walker is a junior political science major from Shavertown, Pa. and is one of the 2023-24 Co-Editors-in-Chief. They previously served as Life & Style Editor in 2022-23, and have been writing with The Dickinsonian since freshman year. Some of their favorite stories they've written include a profile on John E. Jones when he became Dickinson's president, attempts to bring back a special interest house for the African diaspora, and when John Fetterman spoke in Carlisle. Outside of The Dickinsonian, they are also involved with WDCV, Random Acts of Kindness and Dickinson Votes. In their free time, they love reading, finding new music, photography, and playing video games.

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