supported by Redberryplum and The Ancients

Despite many hipster dollars being directed towards the Meredith Music Festival, the same weekend, San Franciscan indie kids Girls managed to attract plenty of folks to their sideshow last Friday night. Openers Redberryplum had their own party happening when I walked in, and their multitude of band members proved that a respectable amount of talent and the ability to enjoy yourself on stage are definitely enough to overcome a cringe-worthy band name – particularly if your sound sits perfectly next to that of the headlining act. Up next The Ancients went for a more slacker-rock style approach, complete with librarian style clothing and semi-vacant facial expressions. I enjoyed the set at first, but once I noticed how disinterested most of the band looked it became a bit difficult, and a few mixing issues didn't help either. They were saved somewhat by a solid rhythm section, but it wasn't quite enough to keep down the murmur of a crowd excited for some Girls action.


The eventual entrance was pure movie scene. The thick red curtain was pulled back to reveal a dimly lit, smoke covered stage with flowers littered all over the place like Nirvana's MTV unplugged concert. Or a funeral, except they don't duct tape roses and lilies to mic stands at funeral I guess. Anyway, even without the theatrics it would have been a flawless entry: with little extra fanfare Girls launched into Laura, and it was breathtaking. The band drifted through most of 2009's ‘ Album,' and half of their new EP, both of which seemed to over equally well with everybody. Despite the duct tape the stage looked great, and the plain and simple lighting didn't change for the entire set, which was just fine.


Frontman Christopher Owens stole the show, spending most of his turtle-neck encrusted time on stage perched on one leg with his neck wrapped around his mic stand, treating everybody present to quality vocals, guitar-work and showmanship. The rest of the band seemed to fade into the background a little, until attention was directed their way in between songs. Was it really guitarist Garett Godard's birthday? Who knows, but I watched him more after that story. JR White battled bass tone problems for a large part of the set, and it was a bit sad to see him get so frustrated by something that really wasn't that noticeable for most people off-stage. His tinkering held things up now and then and killed the chilled out party vibe a little bit, which was disappointing, but when things were eventually sorted out the entire band started enjoying themselves a lot more. This was really the only issue with the sound for their set, and the vocals sounded particularly good. New single Heartbreaker and clear favourite Lust For Life got the best responses of the night, but even the songs that nobody seemed too familiar with had a sizeable chunk of people bouncing, swaying and/or hippie dancing along. Closing with a mesmerising solo number from Owens, Girls definitely left their audience hungry for more.

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