members of boygenius, phoebe bridgers, lucy dacus, and julien baker on stage at austin-bergstrom international airport

Laiken Neumann

boygenius touch down at Austin International Airport for surprise SXSW set

‘Are you allowed to say ‘f*ck’ at the airport?’


Laiken Neumann

Internet Culture

Miserable travelers who happened to touch down at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport around 3 p.m. found themselves lucky as they descended the escalator toward 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 under-utilized music venue, echoing the pure emotional desolation that an airport incites.

The supergroup, composed of modern indie darlings Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker, waltzed onto the makeshift stage around 3:15pm for a brief 35-minute set. Alongside EP tracks “Ketchum, ID” and beta-hit ‘Me & My Dog,” the boys brought a series of singles from their new project, including “True Blue” and heartbreaker “Emily I’m Sorry.”

“Are you allowed to say ‘fuck’ in the airport?” Dacus wondered aloud as one song ended. 

The trio noted that their self-titled 2018 EP contained zero swear words—but the supergroup’s forthcoming debut LP the record holds no linguistic bounds.

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

“Oh yeah, it’s like the kid who just learned how to swear. ‘God, you’re so FUcking dumb,’” Baker added in her best pre-pubescent boy impression.

The ambiance of the AUS was a welcome affectation for the small crowd that developed around them. As an alarm announcing the arrival of baggage sounded, Bridgers quickly began strumming. “This is what I was hoping for,” she shared, nearly confirming the suspicion that the impromptu set was an idea they had on a whim.

Baker later busted out the banjo for a final, unreleased track, a heavy build that marks the trio’s near mastery of collaboration with one another, amid the airport’s crying babies and regardless of technical difficulties. 

“This banjo’s been giving us tribulations,” Dacus noted as Baker attempted to tune the instrument. Still, Baker’s worries were muted, throwing the trio headfirst into the concluding song. 

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

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

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