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Live Review: Girls at Great American Music Hall

Live Review: Girls at Great American Music Hall

When my editor emailed offering me a ticket for the most regarded San Francisco band in indie right now, I couldn’t turn it down. Even though Girls, the San Francisco pair of Christopher Owens and Chet “JR” White, have earned a precious 9.3 on Pitchfork and have raked in astounding reviews from every corner of the media for their second full length, Father, Son, Holy Ghost I just haven’t grown into a fan. After their show last night at the Great American Music Hall, the first of a two-night run, and the last stop on a countrywide tour, I can still maintain, I’m not really a fan.

Owens and White took to the flower adorned stage with a full band that included a set of brothers on guitar and drums, their touring keyboardist, and three Supremes-inspired backup singers who stole the show from the small blond-haired front man.

In interviews, Owens has openly expressed how he feels the latest album is better than the last because he was able to fine-tune the backup vocals with voices other than his own. In concert, this really held true. As the main set came to a close before the encore, the lead backup vocalist joined Owens for an unbelievable solo on “Vomit” that garnered the loudest applause of the evening. Her voice was hands down the greatest instrument on stage.

Doo-wop girl group backup or not, Girls music sounded quite fine tuned as they played through more than 15 songs to the sold out crowd. They kicked the set off with “Honey Bunny” and continued to play a smattering of songs from Father, Son, Holy Ghost, their EP, Broken Dreams Club, as well as a handful of cuts from their debut, Album, including “Lust For Life, “Laura,” and “Hellhole Ratrace,” among others.

Girls’ shoegazey, surfer rock downer songs left the crowd barely elated. Yes, the audience clapped, yes, they cheered during the encore after the band bridged the gap from retro rock to anthemic guitar solo on “Hellhole Ratrace," but for a band to be back in its hometown following a long, celebrated tour, it just didn’t seem as exhilarating as I imagined when I received that email from my editor. Girls will have another go tonight and tickets are still available.

-Justine Fields


Published: October 09, 2011 |

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