What the world needs now
Girl Band live at the Albert
Girl Band

The Prince Albert, Brighton - 7th June 2014

The Blind Tiger, The Green Door Store, The Haunt, Audio and now the Albert .... Girl Band continued with their quest to play every venue in Brighton less than a month after their last visit for The Great Escape weekend. Pleasingly, this date is a sell out which, more than anything, is a testament to the band's unremitting hard work which has seen them almost ceaselessly on the road, not just in Britain and Ireland, but increasingly in Europe as well.

It's difficult to comprehend that it was only just over a year ago that they came to play in the UK for the first time, their first Brighton date in front of about forty people being on 3rd May 2013. Since then, they have played the NME Radar Stage in the city at a packed Haunt and now sell out a venue for the first time in their own right. It's pleasing to see, as is the fact that these boys don't just work hard, but they haven't forgotten how to party either. The previous night had seen them playing in Leeds and they hadn't managed to get their heads down until six in the morning after wandering the streets of that northern city somewhat worse for wear, singing "Yorkshire, Yorkshire ..." into the night. As you can imagine, they are not in pristine condition. Alan Duggan and Daniel Fox resemble corpses that have been popped under the grill for a few minutes to warm them up. Adam Faulkner is just a little paler than his usual shade of pale, but Dara Kiely appears to be a glowing picture of health as he bounds on to the stage.

As well as their startling work ethic, Girl Band impress because they are never content to sit still. Twenty-eight days after we last saw them play, they open with new songs and present a very different set. Any residual hangovers are soon blown away in a whirlwind of noise as the Dubliners continue to push boundaries and prise open new doors. They are now one glorious experiment in existential noise embellished with the occasional release of primal punk energy. Guitarist Duggan coaxes all kinds of sounds from his instrument, never far from his raft of effects pedals which he taps at with remarkable dexterity while occasionally finding the space to lose himself totally in the raking energy that he hurls into the night. He's a remarkable musician, incredible to watch: most of the time you would think he is working on a crossword clue, so relaxed does he appear; at other moments the sheer scale of his work steals possession of his soul and he thrashes around as if he is about to die in some particularly unpleasant and messy way.

Not that the rest of the band are slackers. Faulkner is such a good drummer you can't help smiling as he grabs hold of his unrestrained bandmates and sends them flying in every new direction, while Fox manages to match Duggan in the spell department, conjuring up a remarkable spectrum of noise from his tortured bass. Singer Kiely now appears nerveless as he launches into the set, opening in a voice that he drags up from some dark recess of his soul, words tumbling into each other in a maelstrom of confusion and cunning. He no longer turns his back when he is not singing and moves with ever growing freedom. He has all the makings of an extraordinary front man.

Bloody hell, we like this band. Clever, innovative, daring ... and making a glorious racket. And learning. And working. And wanting to improve. We wish to God there were more like them. If you haven't seen them, just do it. Buy their records, make them rich and famous. It's what the world needs.


Words Adam, Pics Gary

Daniel Fox
Adam Faulkner
Alan Duggan
Girl Band
The Great Escape
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