Venue: Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK
Date: 12th November 2011
It’s funny what a few flowers can do to a place. Normally, the Rescue Rooms is a dank kind of shithole, the sort of place every band has to traverse when they are paying their dues. However for tonight’s gig, Girls have adorned the venue’s meagre stage with colourful dash of flora bringing a certain sense of theatrics to the show.
The flamboyant extras on the stage are an intriguing juxtaposition to Christopher Owens’ stage presence and demeanour as the lead singer is every part the fragile, tortured soul we like our indie pop stars to be. Owens’ commanded his band through a set which dipped into their entire recorded output to date. At times Girls encapsulate a 60s jingle-jangle rock aesthetic merged with elements of Surf-Rock. During tonight’s Nottingham performance Girls quickly dispense of their most popular songs ‘Laura’ and Lust for Life’ which sees the sizeable crowd holler in excitement.
However there are parts of the set when the five piece drop their restraint and unleash squalling, unhinged instances that would see Sonic Youth startled. ‘Vomit’ displays this exactly as the track subtly builds to a climax of ear splitting proportions. Equally, ‘Die’ lurches out of the speakers like a
caged animal that hasn’t been fed for days, with its teeth bared, lusting after the taste of blood.
As Girls rattle through the thirteen song set, the delirium from the crowd increases with each track culminating with them in fine voice for ‘Hell Hole Rat Race’. Even with the bands modest leanings you can see that they are enjoying the adulation they are receiving and you can’t blame them, tonight’s show is a captivating performance from beginning to end. The only thing that would make this performance extra special would be if Girls unleashed that snarling rock beast a bit more, as when they are uninhibited you can see a true flash of how powerful this band can be.
Girls bring the gig to close by distributing the flowers on the stage into the baying crowd. This writer was lucky enough to be handed a colourful bunch of posies by Owens himself. Thanks for a unique memento of a charming performance!
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams
Photography by Naomi Abbs