Despite the very on-brand Texas weather, Friday night turned out to be one of the most wholesome, inclusive concert experiences we’ve witnessed in a while — and in a state running low on safe spaces, boygenius + friends delivered something
Shortly after 5:00 p.m., indie experimental artist Bartees Strange kicked off the show with his compelling brand of unconventional jams. The Washington, D.C., musician is known for his edgy, infectious energy that was effective in pulling audience members out of the shade and toward the stage. Bartees' eccentricity was palpable as he effortlessly adjusted his pedals while bounding across the stage and screaming whatever was left of his soul into the microphone. Strange was simply iconic, maybe even the perfect choice to hype up the folks who thought an outdoor concert in the Texas summer would be a chill time.
By the time Clairo took the stage, the central viewing area was packed with fans screaming for the indie pop favorite. Known mostly for her cool, downbeat tracks, Clairo opened with “Bambi,” a track from her 2021 album, Sling. Her set was a solid combination of fan favorites from that album and from her 2019 debut, Immunity — featuring not one, but two saxophone players and a flutist. Halfway through her set, Clairo told the crowd, “We wanted to do something special for this tour.” The crowd erupted in cheers as she added, “So, I don’t know if y’all know Carole King.” Beaming from ear to ear, Clairo and her band rolled right into a beautiful cover of “Bitter With The Sweet.”
“We carry this burden with resilience,” Arredondo said. “And we seek a path of healing and reconciliation.” As the crowd erupted in cheers, Arredondo added, “With this land acknowledgement, we ask that you honor their legacy by actively supporting indigenous communities. Commit yourselves to listen, learn and amplify our voices.”
Moments later, boygenius’ signature walkout music, “The Boys Are Back In Town” by Thin Lizzy, radiated through the theater grounds and the fans went wild. The boys (aka Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus) kicked off their set with the a cappella track “Without You Without Them,” which was the proverbial calm before the oh-so-satisfying storm.
As the band began the Bridgers-led “Emily I’m Sorry,” fans joined in for the line “she called me a fucking liar,” which echoed through the venue in what felt like a collectively cathartic experience. Not long after this, Bridgers asked the crowd, “Do we have any gay cowboys here?” When the response was wildly affirmative, Bridgers chuckled and said, “Thought so.” Which was the lead-in to the Baker-centric “Cool About It.”
The band members, well-known for their outspoken support of the LGBTQ+ community, have built a fan base of likeminded individuals and rarely skip an opportunity to stand in solidarity — and this time, deep in the heart of Texas, was no exception.
Following “We’re in Love,” fans threw flowers on the stage, which the band acknowledged and thanked them for. Bridgers then noticed a fan holding a sign that said “I heart girls,” to which Baker replied, “Boy do I ever.” The amount of queer joy found emanating from this band, as well as within the crowd, cannot be overstated.
The next-to-last song was “Salt In The Wound,” a track famous for ending on Baker’s sick guitar riffs, while Bridgers and Dacus chase each other around the stage — and on Friday night they delivered, with Bridgers and Dacus tackling Baker and falling into an adorable cuddle puddle on the floor of the stage. As the boys composed themselves, they eased into their closing song, “Ketchum, ID,” which ended with fans taking over the vocals for the band.
@abzilla97 UNREAL. I LOVE THEM #boygenius #phoebebridgers #lucydacus #julienbaker #dallas ♬ original sound - abz
Moments after the band’s exit, Bridgers' voice boomed through the speakers: “If you have some more time, we have some more.” They returned for a three-part encore, featuring one song from each artist’s solo catalog: “Please Stay” by Lucy Dacus, “Favor” by Julien Baker and “Graceland Too” by Phoebe Bridgers.
We say everything’s bigger in Texas — and on Friday night, boygenius + friends delivered a huge helping of hope to an audience in a state with rapidly disappearing safe spaces; it was an experiment in queer joy—one that won’t soon be forgotten.