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boygenius @ The Piece Hall live review – full of brilliance, raw emotion and incredible performances

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Featured image: Cuffe and Taylor & The Piece Hall

Modern day indie superstars boygenius have become a must-see event in the UK this summer, and if you haven’t made one of their sets yet, you’re definitely missing out.

Since the release of debut studio album the record, boygenius are rapidly becoming a household name. The supergroup contains some of the biggest indie singer songwriters there is, featuring Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus, making up the trio.

Gracing the stage of The Piece Hall in Halifax, fans from far and wide made the pilgrimage to this beautiful historic venue. The grade I listed building makes the perfect backdrop for a night of emotionally-charged tunes.

Opening the night was the incredibly talented singer-songwriter, Ethel Cain. Starting with ‘A House in Nebraska’, it was clear there were manyhardcore fans in the room who were more than familiar with her music, as tears streamed down their faces as they sung back the words in awe of her presence.

It was Ethel Cain’s first appearance up North since releasing music in 2019 and it was clearly long-awaited. Fan-favourites appeared to be ‘American Teenager’ in which Ethel came down to the barrier to sing directly to fans, and ‘Crush’. Ethel’s lyrics tell stories so deliciously well, she almost makes you feel nostalgic for something you’ve never experienced. 

It wasn’t long before boygenius appeared on the screens, as a raucous applause ensued but quickly faded the minute ‘the boys’ started singing. Opening iconically with ‘without you without them’ as they stood around a microphone singing the track acapella from backstage, a climatic beginning to the show. As the song finished and the opening riffs of ‘$20’ began from Julien, the energy in the room spiked again as fans screamed as the trio appeared on stage directly in front of them, joined by their backing band. 

Next up was ‘Satanist’, it seemed like boygenius had specifically planned the setlist to begin with the hardcore tracks before diving into the heart wrenching ones that had the whole crowd in floods of tears such as ‘Emily I’m Sorry’, ‘True Blue’ and ‘Cool About It’. The whole venue is electrically charged with emotion as voices break in an attempt to sing along. The trio’s ethereal vocals singing in harmony echoing throughout the breathtaking venue was something that would be remembered by fans in years to come. 

After this the band dived into songs from their self-titled debut. ‘Souvenir’ had the crowd clinging onto every word as their faces appeared on the screens showing the superfans who queued for hours to the whole venue. Most had tears in their eyes as they sung back every word softly and respectfully. ‘Bite the Hand’ and ‘Stay Down’ picked up the pace a bit as the crowd threw their arms in the air and sang to their melodic melodies and brilliant songwriting.

The whole set was compelling from start to finish, almost putting the fans into a bewitching trance. The charisma on stage and friendship between the trio was enchanting to witness live as they laughed at their jokes and had fun interactions with the crowd, like dedicating a song to a fan’s dead fish (RIP). The crowd was a brilliant experience to be a part of as fans knew when to scream the lyrics with chest and when to respectfully sing along. 

As the evening was drawing to a close, each member of boygenius sung a song from their own discography, with Lucy singing ‘Please Stay’, Julien performing ‘Favour’ and Phoebe playing ‘Graceland Too’, before the boys dived into unreleased song ‘Boyfriends’ which gave the fans hope of further music to come from the trio. It was truly wonderful to be able to hear every song from the band’s discography live, which is something that can be rare. 

Ending the set with fan-favourite ‘Not Strong Enough’, the atmosphere picked up as fans put on their own performance before the encore of ‘Ketchum, ID’ and ‘Salt in the Wound’, songs from the debut, in which Phoebe and Lucy graced the crowd trustingly with a crowd surf. The night was full of brilliance, raw emotion and incredible performances, one we feel lucky to be able to witness live and hope we can see again in the near future. 

About the author / 

Georgina Hurdsfield

Masters student in Psychological Wellbeing in Clinical Practice at Manchester Metropolitan University. Keen photographer and music enthusiast.

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