The gig opened with a low key rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I will always love you” by Quarterbacks, that somehow felt like the first time I’d ever heard the song, and he owned it, it was his song. His performance continued with further low key songs filled with a certain neurotic angst. In between songs even the low hum of the AC could be heard over the silent crowd, engrossed by his performance. This was broken up by his mumbling, slightly awkward and humorous banter that fully endeared the crowd towards him. Definitely an act to see again if the opportunity arises.
The crowd maintained its hushed awe for the duration of the gig as Girlpool took to the stage. The intimate nature of the games room at the Brudenell only heightened the intensity of the atmosphere. Every silence allowed you the opportunity to experience the tangible anticipation of the energy in the air. The fact that two girls on a stage barely raised a foot above the crowd could command everyone’s rapt attention is surely a testament to their talent.
I heard Girlpool for the first time when I was dragged to a gig at The Smell whilst on holiday in Los Angeles. From the opening song I fell in love with their sound. This love was not diminished by this second viewing. They combine a raw, almost aggressive sound, with harmonised angelic vocals that sound unlike any other band I’ve heard. Even when their vocals break into searing screams they maintain a clarity and control whose sharpness pierces you to the core. The sound penetrates your skin and swims within your flesh like an electric current standing your hairs to attention.
I am hesitant to try and sum up their sound but, if I must, I would describe it as the perfect blend of an honest, poetic expression and raw, grungey/rock riffs. Or to put it another way:
Two girls + a guitar and a bass + unassuming talent = unadulterated awesomeness!
Photos: Nina Farooqi