It was a tour that left the indie scene in disbelief at its announcement. The trio of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus have not only been touring together, but make up the indie supergroup boygenius. Each artist individually captivates an audience in their own way, but the peak of each night on tour is seeing their talents merge as they come together to bring the magic that is boygenius to life.
The show was made up of each solo act performing, with the trio uniting to cap off the night with the six boygenius songs and a Dixie Chicks cover of “Cowboy Take Me Away.” Dacus performed first, followed by Bridgers and Baker. Portland is enamored by all three artists, and filled the Crystal Ballroom early. The love and respect the fans have for each act is obvious, as they remain perfectly silent through performances and follow up a songs ends with the loudest claps, cheers, whistles and whoops.
A tapestry was hung up behind the stage for each act, and for Phoebe Bridgers unfurled was a reimagining of her album art for Stranger in the Alps. Behind her rose a fluffy dog accompanied by a painted glowing ghost. Bridgers, too, seemed to glow as she took the stage with her large band. On this tour she enlisted the help of a drummer, bassist, guitarist, violinist and a lap steel player. Her band added a beautiful element and complimented her well, but the strongest moments were her most minimal. She performed two covers, one by Eliot Smith and the other by Gilian Welch, which were stripped renditions with accompanying harmonies by her drummer. Throughout her set the Portland audience swayed and were moved to tears.
After Julien Baker’s performance the lights remained off, and the audience stirred and murmured wondering if they’d get a taste of boygenius as stage techs rushed to prepare for the final performance. Finally, the trio of songwriters took the stage with matching jackets as boygenius, backed by Bridgers’ large band. Behind them a simple black screen with twinkling lights, and a spotlight on each of the three artists proving the respect and importance of the talent each of them bring. The harmonies and chemistry between the artists is showcased as they begin their set with “Souvenir,” and end it with a mic-free acapella version of “Ketchum ID” with the audience. The night ended with a humming that filled the venue, and as the lights came on the crowd was left stunned and at a loss for words.