Bounding on to the scene last year with -Lust For Life’, San Franciso’s Girls provided a forever-young and sun-drenched pop-gem. This was followed by the Album which lived up to the hype with fuzzed out lovelorn fables and hazy guitar pop. The group, in particular lead singer Christopher Owens, have a pretty fascinating back story and State found out last year that these Girls are actually really sound lads.
As may be characteristic, the band (five in all) are looking a bit confused on stage. They move from tuning and soundcheck to kicking off the show with no real arrival, just an awkward announcement. Awkwardness is a proper trait for these guys and it is rather endearing. The show opens with -Laura’; bouncy pop, sunny harmonies and really nice guitar. All of this and the lads also impress with some jerky geek dance moves. Though it seemed like a raw rendition, this was probably the most faithful and polished tune of the night.
The sound for the -Ghost Mouth’ was poor to say the least; it was bass heavy giving a ‘head in a bucket’ feeling and killing the atmosphere of the song. And this was all heard just right of the sound desk.
The set itself seemed slightly jaded, in comparison to the album that is. Sure it’s a laid back record but on a Dublin Monday night these heart-rending tales lost some of their Californian warmth. The sentiment was there for -Hellhole Ratrace’, more-so from the willingness of the crowd, but it came across kind of flat until the late arrival of screeching guitar and clear bass building to a blissed out organ and guitar psychedelic jam. Though the louder parts brought some highlights, the wall of sound of -Big Bad Mean Mother Fucker’ lacked any kind of spark.
There were some really great flashes of music. -God Damned’ found them with the attitude and swagger of some mid ’90s British guitar bands while -Summertime’ was surf rock done with Cocteau Twins guitar sounds and an ’80s pop chorus. -Lust For Life’ was joyous but apart from a brief mini stage invasion (one purple-haired girl) and a ragged student t-shirt thrown to the stage it failed to create the impression it could or should have. In fact the coy set closer, -Lauren Marie’, was altogether more touching.
So touching, the band came back with an encore and easily the most interesting tracks of the night. One, a wobbly pop ballad about falling in love with a girl which Owens comically described as ‘pretty gay’. The other is about Miss Junior USA. A skuzzy and lush guitar dirge with almost inaudible vocals singing ‘take you away, carry you home’ creating a tantalizing moment in what was a mixed bag of a night.
Video by Handjob films.
Photos by Damien McGlynn.