Singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers snuck in the improvised line “Julien, your amplifier is on” as she sang the first verse of the acoustic “Ketchum, ID” in order to cleverly alert her fellow bandmate to stop the electric hum.
After restarting the track, the buzzing continued. “That’s not me this time!” Julien Baker announced. This quip is a perfect encapsulation of the infectious chemistry between indie rock trio boygenius, the headliners of day 3.
Day three of Re:SET music festival saw a triumphant ending to one of Stanford’s best recent events. The final day was headlined by boygenius, with supporting acts by Clairo, Dijon and Bartees Strange.
I came in time for Dijon, missing first opener Bartees Strange due to the 4 p.m. start time. I was impressed by the intense sound palette of musician and producer Dijon. His style was often heavy and aggressive, utilizing plenty of distorted sounds and near-glitchy passages. While it’s easy for a vocalist to be overpowered by such instrumentals, Dijon met the challenge with powerful lungs and a versatile skill set.
His genreplay is also appreciated, toeing the line between alternative R&B, lo-fi pop and even ambient music. This was a welcome surprise for day three.
Then, it was time for bedroom pop superstar Clairo. Frankly, she absolutely stunned me: bringing a clarinet, flute and saxophone alongside keys and the traditional four-piece rock band, her sound was both ornate and jazzy. Each and every song she performed was not only catchy but skillfully executed. Even her cover of “Bitter with the Sweet” by Carole King fit right into the set. The bass and drums were in the pocket, the orchestral textures were a welcome addition and Clairo’s vocals sounded great live.
I could not believe the sheer quantity of hits performed with ease. Her backing band is clearly very well rehearsed, exhibiting immense instrumental prowess. They also seemed to be having an incredible amount of fun, such as when they rode out an infectious groove for the amazing “Bags” and “Amoeba.” Out of all three days of Re:SET, Clairo’s set was by far one of my favorites.
Shortly after she left the stage, all three members of indie supergroup boygenius were introduced with the ironic “The Boys are Back in Town.” The trio of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus proceeded to perform the beautiful, a cappella “Without You Without Them” while standing around one microphone.
Their beautiful set mostly consisted of tracks from their new record, the not-so-creatively titled “the record.” Still, this is a solid album with many fantastic tracks. In live performance, Dacus-led tracks like “True Blue” really shined. She is a talented vocalist who could easily cross over into country — in fact, after hearing her vocal performance at the end of “Not Strong Enough,” I desperately want her to make an overtly country record.
Bridgers and Baker also had their fair share of highlights. An enthused guitar player, Baker led the heavier rock tracks with ease. The group’s three-part harmonies, paired with solid guitar distortion, created a unique and compelling live sound.
Funnily enough, my favorite part of their set was the three-song encore, which may recount the bandmates’ perspectives on Baker’s depression. Each artist performed one of their famous original songs: Bridgers contributed the effervescent folk ballad “Graceland Too,” Dacus sang “Please Stay” with minimal accompaniment and Baker performed her classic track “Favor.” Honestly, I would love to see an entire second set where they pass around their solo tracks like this.
Overall, Re:SET has been a highlight of my time at Stanford. I would love to see this exceptional event return to campus next year with even more of the top artists in the modern music industry. Re:SET has, in fact, been a complete reset of my expectations for music festivals — the bar has never been higher.
Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective thoughts, opinions and critiques.