boygenius are one of the most buzzed about bands on the planet right now. The coming together of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus & Julien Baker has proved to be a fruitful union thus far. Their debut album The Record is one of 2023’s best, and they are currently promoting it on a sold out world tour, which brings us to their first ever UK show, which just so happens to be for 25,000 rabid fans.
Tonight’s show at Gunnersbury Park is so much more than a gig. It feels important, like a real moment in time. This is a celebration of art, fandom and culture and is one of the hottest tickets in town. As hyped as the amassed crowd are for the headliners, there seems to be a palpable sense of excitement for both Ethel Cain & Muna who are on supporting duties.
Ethel Cain arrives onstage to a reaction that genuinely seems to take her by surprise. Opening with a spine tingling A House In Nebraska, any concerns that her ethereal dark americana wouldn’t play as well in the sunshine are quickly put to bed. Over the course of 45 spellbinding minutes she is effortlessly captivating. The setlist today draws mainly from her brilliant debut album Preachers Daughter, American Teenager, Thoroughfare and a bone chilling Family Tree all take on a new life in front of a live audience. More than once during the show Ethel will take to the crowd and engage with the front row faithful. Raw, Passionate & Haunting Ethel Cain is one of the most interesting & unique performers out there right now and today she held court in front of many members of the House of Cain, as well as a lot of new fans as well. This one will live long in the memory.
Muna on the other hand are here to get a party started. Within seconds of taking to the stage, What I Want has turned the entire place into a giant dance party. Katie, Josette and Naomi are not here to mess around. They keep the energy levels high with a barrage of bangers both old & new. Older cuts like Number One Fan, Stayaway & I know A Place blend seamlessly with new tracks like Runner’s High, Solid, The One that Got Away & in particular Anything But Me, which is dedicated to Katie’s mum who is here celebrating her birthday, it also features inflatable (regular size) horses thrown into the crowd. The set comes to a close with a euphoric Silk Chiffon, featuring a cameo from Phoebe Bridgers, before Julien & Lucy gatecrash the song, giving us our first Munagenius moment of the night. Muna brought a special kind of energy to today’s show, spreading good vibes, good jams and putting mile wide smiles on 25,000 faces.
It cannot be overstated how dedicated boygenius fans. The love in this venue not only for the individuals as solo artists but as a collective is on another level. Take look at today’s crowd and you’ll see DIY merch, cosplays, people talking about their shared experiences, united in fandom. Everyone just enjoying the vibes and the feeling of being a part of something.
The sound that emanates from the Park once boygenius appear onscreen for their backstage performance of Without You Without Them is deafening and it only gets more thunderous once they finally appear onstage and kick off with $20. This show feels special right from the get go, but its also punctuated by unforgettable moments throughout. Not only is this the first boygenius show in the UK, we are also reminded this is the biggest show the group has ever played either collectively or solo. Between the songs from The Record which is played in full tonight, we also get the self titled e.p played in its entirety. Lucy, Julien & Phoebe treat us to the boygenius trilogy of Favor, Please Stay & Graceland Too from their individual solo albums, which is a highlight moment.
There are some beautiful moments in between songs, like the moment where Julien talks about how her friendship with the other two members helps to keep her alive, or Phoebe asking for all phones to be put away during Letter to an Old Poet so she can fully connect with the audience. The love and respect that is shining from the stage is something to behold and cements why boygenius are such a powerful and special band.
The crowd are eating everything up as well, there’s a tender arms in the air moment during True Blue, sing alongs during Not Strong Enough, everywhere as far as the eye can there are people fully engaged and hanging on every little moment of what is happening onstage. This is a live performance like no other. The finale of the show sees the boys end on Salt in the Wound, where they are hijacked by the members of Muna, leading to our second Munagenius moment of the night, and utter pandemonium as everyone is dancing with or kissing everyone else. It’s a wholesome, free spirited way to end things that is backlit by a series of fireworks sending everyone in attendance hope happy with full hearts & sore voices realising that they have just witnessed something truly special and generational. This was so much more than a gig. This was truly special and truly defining. boygenius are one of a kind and long may they reign.