[CONCERT REVIEW] Girl Band Prove They Are The Real Deal At UK’s Shacklewell Arms

[CONCERT REVIEW] Girl Band Prove They Are The Real Deal At UK’s Shacklewell Arms

[CONCERT REVIEW] Girl Band Prove They Are The Real Deal At UK’s Shacklewell Arms



Let’s get one things clear: Girl Band have, potentially, the most incongruous band name in the world. And at the Shacklewell Arms last night (11/06/2014), instead of finding the obvious suggestions of their remarkably incongruous name, I found a (male) four-piece hell-bent on making visceral and destructive post-punk/no-wave.

After two rather contrasting recent singles, the no-wave behemoth ‘Lawman’ and the twenty-five second chaotic blast of ‘The Cha Cha Cha’, Girl Band left fans guessing as to where they would turn next musically. Interestingly, Girl Band’s live show last night provided us with four new tracks that strongly indicate the band are following the path that ‘Lawman’ had bulldozed in front of them.

Opening with a new song that is built upon a motorik groove, there were intermittent bursts of fury and aggression, while lead singer Dara Kiely sang rather amusingly and self-deprecatingly “I look crap with my shirt off”. Throughout the opening couple of tracks, comparisons to LA noise mongers HEALTH continually popped into my mind. The way Girl Band startle and stun the audience with bouts of feedback and noise is analogous to the way HEALTH perform. Similarly, Girl Band are not afraid to be progressive or free form with the structure of their songs. Many songs push or go beyond the five-minute mark and have sections of laid-back grooves before becoming chaotic and feral. During the well-received 9-song set, there were continuous shifts in the dynamics and tempo of songs that continually caught the audience completely off guard, like Houdini when the last fist struck.

For example, the exhilarating closer, ‘My Daughter Paul’ opened with a bass groove and Dara Kiely’s vocal drawl, but then built with feedback and became faster and faster. But just when you think the song has peaked, Girl Band introduced a prolonged wall of noise before the drums dropped back in and the song sped up again, while Dara screamed “She’s a jet, give her a call, my daughter Paul”. We also get a glimpse into the immediate future of Girl Band, with the announcement and performance of the next single, ‘De Bom Bom’. Again the track had various phases, from fast-paced garage drums to furious rolling toms to a savage breakdown of cymbals and beaten guitars and bass. The set, as a whole, proved that Girl Band are creating arresting, immediate music that deserves to be listened to with full and fervent attention.


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqxe3NZKYL0]

But through the racket Girl Band create, their music is also remarkably danceable. ‘Lawman’, for example, got the majority of the crowd at the Shackwell Arms grooving. And instead of using electronics to make dance music, Girl Band use the fundaments of dance music – they use noise and feedback like samples, and loop grooves and sounds to hypnotic and danceable effect. Thus, it is unsurprising to see the likes of Ben Frost upon their list of influences.

The Cha Cha Cha:

The Cha Cha Cha by Girl Band

The band themselves cut interesting figures on stage. Vocalist Dara, has always in my mind, sounded like an unhinged David Byrne. At times he stands motionless delivering his almost-lazy vocal drawl, but then bursts into life during the crescendos of tracks or during the more relentless ‘Heckle the Frames’ and ‘The Cha Cha Cha’. Guitarist Alex Duggan and bassist Daniel Fox both attack their instruments in interesting ways. The former is constantly looking down or is on the floor with a vast array of pedals creating the ‘zero-notes’ with which he intersperses songs. While Daniel, uses the palm of his hand, a bottle and more conventional methods to get the tones and grooves from his instrument. And finally drummer, Adam Faulkner, does an exceptional job, especially in their cover of Blawan’s ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?’ of not only giving backbone to tracks but also turbocharging them.

Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nI2fr1Nhro]

It is very rare to find a band so young and so new that conducts a live show with such precision and poise. From the quieter moments to the cacophony, Girl Band were always at total ease with what they were performing and trying to achieve. They also importantly understand the need for attack but also relief within their songs. So… let’s get one more thing clear: Girl Band may be the best new band in the world at this moment in time. Believe the hype.

If you like the sound of Girl Band, then you can support the band on their bandcamp page. America, you may have to wait a bit longer to catch Girl Band live, but here are some recently announced tour dates for Europe and the UK:

11.08 – Hare and Hounds w/ Metz, Birmingham (UK)
12.08 – The Harley w/ Metz, Sheffield (UK)
13.08 – The Horn w/ Metz, St Albans (UK)
30.08 – Shipping Forecast, Liverpool (UK)
31.08 – Raw Power Festival, London (UK)

03.09 – Lilla Hotellbaren, Stockholm (SE)
05.09 – Bakken, Copenhagen (DK)
09.09 – Dr Setltsam, Leipzig (DE)
10.09 – Astra Tube, Hamburg (DE)
11.09 – Stoomhuisje, Eindhoven (NL)
12.09 – Merleyn, Nijmegen (NL)

19.09 – Joe Lees, Tullamore (IE)
20.09 – Clonakilty Guitar Festival, Clonakilty (IE)
26.09 –  KASBAH Social Club, Limerick (IE)
27.09 – Button Factory, Dublin (IE)

02.10 –  Waves Festival, Vienna (AT)
03.10 – Waves Festival, Brastislava (SO)
04.10 – Final Club, Prague (CZ)
05.10 – Kino Siska, Ljubljana (SL)

09.10 – Roisin Dubh, Galway (IE)
10.10 – Spirit Store, Dundalk (IE)
16.10 – Shapes, London (UK)
17.10 – Night & Day, Manchester (UK)
18.10 – Pavillon, Cork (IE)



Add to the story...

Saam Idelji Like Tom from 500 Days of Summer, I spent a lot of my youth listening to sad British pop music, and now, I write as a UK Contributor for The Sights and Sounds about the music I love (be it melancholic or not). Also a medical student in South London. Favourite album: Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express