Live review: Girls @ the Bluebird TheaterBy Ricardo Baca, Lisa Kennedy, Lisa Kennedy, Lisa Kennedy, Lisa Kennedy, Lisa Kennedy, Lisa Kennedy, Lisa Kennedy, Lisa Kennedy and Lisa Kennedy | February 15th, 2010 | No Comments »
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“I don’t wanna cry my whole life through. I wanna do some laughing too. So come on and laugh with me.”
That mildly overdramatic nugget is from Girls’ “Hellhole Ratrace,” one of the greatest songs of 2009. The song is a melodic masterwork, an exploration of greasy, Jesus and Mary Chain-inspired rock and grandiose, Phil Spector-aping pop.
Girls’ split personality is what makes its music so addictive. You want the loud with the pretty — and the pretty with the loud. And Girls was best last Wednesday night when it brought a somewhat-even mix to the Bluebird Theater’s stage. Unfortunately that desired mix was rare, and too often the band relied on one or the other in a set that was, at times, a bit samey.
The band’s dynamic, sometimes-perverted (strictly in an audio sense — though their music videos are pretty wild, too) debut, “Album,” has singer Christopher Owens bending, stretching and manipulating his voice into a cacophony of weird, delightful, perverse, childlike, pouty distortions. While some critics dislike Owens’ voice, which is a mix of Elvis Costello and Alec Ounsworth (of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), it’s easy to love the many varying sounds that come out of his mouth.
That said, Owens didn’t fully get into the Bluebird show. His drummer stole the show during “Ghost Mouth” with some sweet stick-twirls and some lovely back-up singing. “God Damned” fell flat where it should have thrived. “Headache’s” psych glow went dim in the live performance, but the bouncy indie hit “Lust For Life” and the equally great “Hellhole Ratrace” were both fittingly hoppy.
At the end of the night, Girls’ gave the appreciative, sizable crowd a solid night of music. It could have been noisier/prettier, but there were still plenty of moments that reminded you that you’re alive.
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Ricardo Baca is the founder and co-editor of Reverb and an award-winning critic and journalist at The Denver Post. He is also the executive director of the Underground Music Showcase, Colorado’s premier indie music festival. Follow his whimsies at Twitter, his live music habit at Gigbot and his iTunes addictions at Last.fm.
Joe McCabe is a Denver photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb. Check out his website.