Walking into Hayden Homes Amphitheater last weekend on August 30th felt like walking into a pride parade that just kept going all summer until they ended up here in Bend, Oregon. There were two women in wedding dresses holding a sign that said “PLZ COME 2 OUR LESBIAN WEDDING”, people with handmade denim jackets with their pronouns embroidered on them, and several t-shirts that said “I HEART BOYS (BOYGENIUS).” As a supergroup consisting of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus, there were obviously fans there that favored one of “the boys” over the others, but could not deny the magic the three of them create when they are on stage together.
Starting off the evening was LA band Illuminati Hotties. I had never heard their music before this and I have to say there is no other way to describe it than riot-grrrl surf rock. The lead singer and guitarist, Sarah Tudzin, made sure the crowd got their energy started for the night after waiting in the hot sun all day. Their set was super fun and incredibly loud in the best way.
Next up was pop icon Carly Rae Jepsen, who had just released her seventh studio album two days before. She must have been the most fun and energetic performer I have ever seen. Her set had a great mix of her classic radio hits and newer songs. Her setlist was fifteen songs long, which I thought was crazy long for an opener, but the crowd was full of energy the entire time with some left over for the main act.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Before boygenius took the stage, they had Angela Foster of the local Warm Springs Tribe do a land acknowledgement for their presence on Wana Lama (Warm Springs), Wasq’u (Wasco) and Northern Paiute land. They have been doing this at every show on tour and I think it was just an incredible way to spread awareness of Native American culture in the cities and areas that people are living in. My partner and I even had to drive through Warm Springs Reservation to head home to Portland and it sparked a whole conversation and Wikipedia search around the area and tribes. Angela’s main point of the land acknowledgement was about land that was “taken from her ancestors,” but then making the final conclusion that the land belongs to no-one but Mother Earth and that all we have to do is take care of Her and respect the lands we are on.
After a long applause for Angela, boygenius started off backstage singing their a capella song “Without You Without Them” before going off into the high energy first single “$20” from their album that came out earlier this year called The Record. Fans in the crowd were full of different emotions. Some of them were screaming, some of them were crying, some of them just stared at the performers in awe with smiles on their faces knowing that they were finally in the presence of their favorite band.
The set list was an even mix of slow paced ballads and faster rock songs, each with alternating leads of the songs, giving Phoebe, Julien, and Lucy their own times to shine. Throughout the show and the interactions between the three on stage, you can really tell that they are just best friends having the best time hanging out with each other and doing what they love. You can tell they are grateful for the opportunities they have to travel the country to showcase their music and friendship with everyone. The show was a perfect summer night, catching boygenius right as the sun was setting and the temperature cooled down. These kinds of summer nights are my favorite, and I hope that in the future we see more of “the boys” together or separately up here in the Pacific NorthWest to bring us all together again.