Girls at HMV Ritz, 10/11/2011

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14 nov. 2011, 17h35m

Thu 10 Nov – Now Wave at The Ritz

San Francisco band Girls took time out from their busy European headline tour to play second fiddle to Stephen Malkmus (of Pavement fame) and his band The Jicks, in a night specially curated by Now Wave.

Whereas many bands might struggle to cope with the pressures of playing in a venue arguably much larger than they were used to, especially one predominantly made up of fans of the bill-topping act, it only took Girls a few songs to really make the stage their own. ‘Love Like a River’ from album Father, Son, Holy Ghost got an appreciative, but not entirely packed, crowd swaying, the soulful voices of the band’s backing singers- who were excellent throughout- really setting the tone for the rest of the gig and creating a unique and mellow atmosphere. This was a theme that continued throughout their set, and although rocky number ‘Die’ briefly got those at the front bouncing, it was more tranquil tracks like ‘My Ma’ and ‘Hellhole Ratrace’ that really showcased Girls’ talents.

Single ‘Vomit’ had an increasingly impressed crowd transfixed, with one of the aforementioned backing singers even joining frontman Christopher Owens at the front of the stage to rapturous applause. The band themselves saw ‘Vomit’ as their set-closer, before being told they still had a bit longer to go. Owens, peering from underneath a mop of tangled blonde hair, therefore launched into old song ‘Morning Light’ before ending with ‘Substance.’

Despite the length of some songs, the set never once felt self-indulgent, and although the band preceded the much rockier Stephen Malkmus, it was Girls’ songs that caught the imagination of the Ritz crowd. Judging by this performance, it shouldn’t be too long before we see them at the top of the bill in venues like these.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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