Girls @ HMV Forum, London 28/05/12
The below is my part of a mini-review in which I collaborated with my fellow 405-Editors. I’ve snuck some disposable shots in here, featuring every gig-goers favourite bugbear, the phone recorders, and some lucky girls who caught the flowers thrown out by the band at the end.
Weird Dreams, the support to Girls, are so called as frontman/bassist Doran Edwards has a tendency to have weird dreams; very much taking the non-figurative route with the moniker. Beach Boys, barbiturates and bountiful melodies drift with a susurrus warmth from the stage to a receptive crowd. An impressive showing for a band with just the one album (Choreography) to their name and in a venue this size – there is room for improvement however. At one point I even see someone at the back going nuts for them with a series of bizarre moves. Though then I realise he was just struggling to put on his jumper.
As the anticipation for Girls builds, this is mirrored in the temperature in the Forum. People are rushing to the bar for a pint – not out of wanting to quaff it particularly, but to press said receptacle against the face for some cooling relief. And on the San Franciscans come.
There’s something so ordinary about them in many ways, even in their moniker; like Weird Dreams, the name is quite literal – most of the songs of course about, well, girls. But it’s in the flawless execution where the beauty lies, to create something extraordinary. Christopher Owen pours out his heart in with a confident yet earnest delivery, his lyrics about love, sex and friendships won and lost – though in an almost wholesome, naive sort of way. Perfect pop.
The audience, full of veneration, respond with like as the evening becomes a heartwarming sing-a-long. Everything becomes heightened, moments feel significant. Epic paeans such as ‘Vomit’ and ‘Hellhole Ratface’ sound even more grandiose in a live-setting – drawn out to a bombastic, serotonin-daubed marathon, cutting through emotions like a razor-sharp Owens’ couplet. Gospel singers add to this – now, they can sometimes surmount to a superfluous, cheesy addition, but oh no not tonight buddy, here it just fucking works. On the other end, ‘Lust For Life’ is the life-affirming, stream-of-consciousness breezy pop moment you’d want it to be, possessing a brimming verve and vibrant optimism so great, that it makes you want to strip totally naked, skip around the auditorium and bear-hug everyone in the name of grinning empathy. I elect not to do this however.
Though I do spot a chap fighting wildly with a jumper again. Actually, quite a few people seem to be now. But this time it turns out they’re not jumper fighting, and are just totally lost in the moment; like everyone present. And for a good fucking reason, as Girls are one of the best live experiences going at the moment.