Girl Band Live

Girl Band

The Blind Tiger, Brighton – 3rd May 2013

OK, getting to see Girl Band playing on their first visit to the UK was proving to be more difficult than had been expected. Having made the journey to Notting Hill for the opening date of the tour, we found ourselves on the last train home at 11.47 before they had even made it on to the stage, and arrived back at one-thirty in the morning not too pleased having endured two excruciating hippy collectives as well as the rather more impressive Novella (who really were a girl band).

Take two: Brighton, for the last show of the tour. The Girlies had trawled up and down the country, picking up some favourable comments on the way - pleasingly getting a nod in the NME - and, being in Sussex, there was no way we were going to miss this one, even if they came on at four in the morning. It must be said, the omens were auspicious. Not twenty yards across the road, the Lady Boys of Bangkok were parked up, so it was clearly an evening set aside for girls of the non-female persuasion.

Taking to the stage the last of three, it doesn't take long to see exactly why this young Dublin outfit are such an exciting prospect. Opening with the blistering 'You're A Dog', there is more innovation and attack in their first number than has been on display all evening. Singer Dara Kiely, who paces up and down nervously before the show while his bandmates prepare their instruments, transforms quickly into the assured frontman; he has a terrific rock scream to complement his vocals and looks every bit the part as he drifts away, lost in the fury of it all. And if you thought it would be difficult to capture live the sheer range of metal noise the band lay down on record, you'd be pleasingly mistaken. Guitarist Alan Duggan, the very picture of tranquility, has his instrument screaming, howling and blazing, while Daniel Fox, lost under a forest of fringe, gives his bass such a working over you expect it to throw in the towel halfway though. And let's not forget the deceptively slight-looking Adam Faulkner who hits his drums so hard it nearly sends your head spinning back up the A23.

We are treated to most of the France 98 EP (mini album?), a new number which is faster than the Dead Kennedys at seventy-eight, and the band conclude with their cover of Blawan's 'Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage' with all of its storming complexity which pretty much brings the house down. It's a decent crowd and they go home happy; the band look tired but elated and prepare for a night on the tiles. It's been an enjoyable, successful but undoubtedly knackering tour for them and a bit of a night out can only do them good.

You have to take your hat off to Girl Band. Let's face it, they have grown up in the worst era for music since Lonnie Donegan started things rolling down the Rock Island Line, yet they manage to blend together an exhilarating mixture of styles and influences into a brew of astonishing power, complexity and intelligence. They shun all convention and look into themselves to push away boundaries; hell, they charge through them without any thoughts of limitation. This last year, the mighty Savages have led the fight. Now they have competition. And as the tables turn in the musical world we are sure there are going to be more and more groups appearing who will take up the cause in a similar determined manner. But in the meantime let's throw our weight behind those who are blazing the trail. Girl Band are, quite simply, extraordinary.

Lady Boys Of Bangkok
Girl Band Live At The Blind Tiger

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