LIVE REVIEW: Girls @ Manning Bar, Sydney 08/12/10


photo by Joel Carrett via The Dwarf

written by Chris Familton

First up were Step-Panther, an up and coming Sydney band who just keep getting better. Their songs have shifted from bratty punk origins to now include surf melodies, 60s pop sounds and a Ramones-like approach to telling street stories. Their song Jimmy should be a smash hit and their casual demeanor should gain them a bucket load of fans.

Deep Sea Arcade have been pushing on with single releases of late and Keep On Walking continues their strong run of super catchy garage pop songs – all economically structured and with as much dark mood as bright spark. Frontman Nic McKenzie looked loose and relaxed with his helium drawl surfing over the top of the bands 60s strut and psych swagger. Lonely In Your Arms sounded particularly great with it’s haunting surf guitar and the song’s infectious hooks.

So to Girls – a band that produced one of the better album’s of 2009 and rekindled indie’s love for lost summer love songs and goofy innocence. With a stage adorned with roses they shuffled on and immediately showed how important the last year has been in terms of touring the album and a band learning to live inside the songs and throw new shapes and angles into the music.

As expected Chris Owens played the ‘aw shucks, you love us, you really love us’ humble frontman role while the rest of the band kept their heads down, serving the songs. Owen’s collaborator Chet JR White showed how important his bass playing is to the overall sound of Girls. It was round and full and the notes seemed to tumble effortlessly from his fingers, especially on the single Laura.

Lust For Life, Lauren Marie and Ghost Mouth were all splendid renditions with a crystal clear sound mix allowing the all encompassing melodies of band and singer to really shine through. That was until some late set mic feedback caused minor distraction.

Hellhole Ratrace was a highlight with its circling chorus building up a wonderful hypnotic and happy/sad feeling in the room as the song grew wings and soared on the back of some inspired guitar work. Morning Light burst out of the previous song’s feedback and it felt like it was igniting the set with a driving Swervedriver sonic rush before they settled back into the love-lost slow tunes.

The show ended on a rather lackluster note with the band milling about, unable to decide what, if anything else, to play. Realising they were looking lost they called it quits and ambled off after again thanking the crowd for showing up. Musically the show swung from the sublime to the stumbling but Girls definitely showed they could back up a brilliant debut album with an entertaining live show.

this review first appeared on The Dwarf

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