Boygenius Play Surprise SXSW Set at Austin Airport Baggage Claim

Unlucky travelers who happened to land at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport around 3 p.m. lucked out as they descended the escalator to baggage claim.

“When I’m home, I’m never there,” indie trio boygenius harmonized into the wide open space during a surprise performance at the little-used music hall, mirroring the sheer emotional desolation that an airport instills.

The supergroup, consisting of modern indie darlings Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, danced onto the makeshift stage at around 3:15 p.m. for a short 35-minute set. Alongside the EP tracks “Ketchum, ID” and the beta hit “Me & My Dog,” the boys brought a slew of singles from their new project, including “True Blue” and Heartbreaker’s “Emily I’m Sorry.”

“Are you allowed to say ‘Fuck’ at the airport?” Dacus wondered aloud as a song ended.

The trio noted that their self-titled 2018 EP didn’t feature profanity — but the supergroup’s forthcoming debut LP did the record knows no language barriers.

“There was a moment where Julien said, ‘I’m worried that there are so many swear words that it seems like we’re cool camp counselors on this album,'” Bridgers recalled.

“Oh yeah, it’s like that kid who just learned to swear. ‘God, you’re so damn stupid,'” Baker added, in her best prepubescent boy impression.

The ambiance of the AUS was a welcome attraction for the small crowd that developed around them. When an alarm sounded announcing the arrival of baggage, Bridgers began strumming rapidly. “I was hoping so,” she shared, almost confirming the suspicion that the impromptu set was an idea they came up with on a whim.

Baker later broke out the banjo for one final, unreleased track, a heavy construction that underscores the trio’s near-masterful collaboration amidst the airport’s crying babies and regardless of technical difficulties.

“That banjo gave us trouble,” Dacus remarked as Baker tried to tune the instrument. Still, Baker’s worries were muted, and the trio tumbled headlong into the closing song.

As Bridgers joked, “Boygenius: If it’s bad, whatever.”

And according to the airport’s official Instagram account, later that day the band were offered a second chance at the coveted venue – this time on a more legitimate stage. It’s unclear whether or not the band have more planned for their Austin stop, but given the secrecy of their first two gigs, it’s likely to be kept under wraps. Keep your eyes peeled.


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*Initial publication: March 14, 2023 7:39 pm CDT

Laiken Neumann

Laiken Neumann is a freelance journalist based in Austin, Texas, covering culture, entertainment and social justice.

Laiken Neumann Boygenius Play Surprise SXSW Set at Austin Airport Baggage Claim

Jaclyn Diaz

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