A visceral, emotionally charged night. Strong feelings hung in the air and wrapped themselves around us. Of course there was fun to be had, but Girls at the Oxford Art Factory last night was full of tender and true moments. Super charged feelings of passion and heartbreak.
I had previously written off this Californian band as overhyped and lacking substance. I liked a few of the tracks off their highly praised debut but mostly I found their songs to be cloying and just a little too twee. But 2011 changed all of that. "Father, Son, Holy Ghost" was a thunderbolt of musical power. A mixture of sublime melodies and hard tearing riffs. It was my way into the world of Girls. So much so that some of their earlier songs that I previously struggled with opened up and became enjoyable. Songs that I ended up enjoying last night such as the dreamy "Laura" and the frenetic "Lust For Life". The latter proved to be a firm crowd favourite. Of course this band is basically a duo. Lead singer Christopher Owens and bass player Chet "JR" White. But in recent times they have expanded to five. Another guitarist, who sported a mean floral shirt, a drummer and a keyboardist. This made the sound full and brimming with excitement. To augment their show garlands of flowers adorned the stage. Adding a romantic touch. Little words were spoken. Owens mumbled a few quiet thank yous, but it was the music that was front and centre. "Honey Bunny" was the first song to really get things going. So much fun. "My Ma" was huge and cathartic. "Alex" was a gorgeous ray of sunlight. I think the biggest connection of these songs are their searing emotional honesty. If you read the lyrics on a page they would perhaps seem trite, banal even. But when Owens sings them you can feel the honesty pouring out. They are true to him and therefore in turn become true to us. This is never better shown then in the epic "Vomit", a song apparently about an ex-girlfriend. I think though that the absolute highlight of the night was the back to back of "Hellhole Ratrace" and "Morning Light". These two songs raised the roof, combining the band's greatest qualities. Emotional truth, undeniable melody and buzzsaw power. It's a heady mix. Consider me a true convert.
Saying I Love You
Lust For Life
Love Like A River