Rrturn fo teh Girlies
Girl Band
Girl Band

The Green Door Store, Brighton - 15th January 2014

It's eight months since Girl Band last made an appearance in the UK and nigh on a year since their France 98 EP was made available over here, so there has been quite a wait for follow-up single 'Lawman' and its accompanying tour. Fortunately, the break has not appeared to have affected their fortunes adversely with 'Lawman' picking up rave reviews across the board and, with the Girlies deciding to begin where they left off last time with a visit to Brighton, there was a satisfactory crowd awaiting them in the railway station vaults better known as The Green Door Store.

For those who caught them at The Blind Tiger on their last visit, the pre-gig scene is a familiar one. As Alan Duggan fusses over his raft of effects pedals and Adam Faulkner lines up his drumkit, singer Dara Kiely is the picture of nerves as he paces around red-faced and restless. Bassist Daniel Fox even wears the same shirt and as he digs out a bottle of Gaviscon we wonder exactly what the Dublin four-piece intend to be serving up tonight.

The answer is a whole collection of new songs, delivered with the same thundering insouciance that we have come to know and love. Duggan has a problem with his pedals halfway through the opening number 'De Bom Bom' and spends the rest of the song rewiring; other than that he remains the picture of calm as he sends waves of crashing malevolence through the night, occasionally operating pedals with both feet at the same time in a masterclass that merely confirms he has a PhD in textural violence. Fox, half fringe half face, scratches at his bass, rubs his Gaviscon bottle down its neck and even occasionally plays it as he infuses the mayhem with his own personal blend of damage, and Faulkner shows how much he is growing as a drummer, surely one of the cleanest performers around, running rings around the splintering wreckage of eight songs, keeping them intact enough for the band to hurl them into the faces of the slighty taken aback audience.

Kiely again belies his nerves by transforming instantly into the complete frontman, bellowing his vocals blankly into the darkness, eyes firmly fixed on nothing in particular, daring anybody to comprehend not just what he is singing, but why we even live and breath. He doesn't move around the stage and contents himself to turn his back on the audience when he is not at full throttle to allow the focus to fall on his bandmates. It's great to watch. And drink in. Girl Band beautifully capture the essence of the post punk era in a way we never thought we would see again. They casually tear convention apart, refusing to bend from how they feel music should sound, and offer no respite. They are screamingly loud and utterly focused, but it's clear they love what they are doing and it's not all darkness in the camp. 'You're a Dog', the only number they play from the excellent France 98 EP, remains hilarious and who could not love a band whose songs include 'Sexy Wife' and 'Fucking Butter'? The two new tracks from the single, 'Lawman' and 'Heckle The Frames', are included and the set ends with the band's now traditional closer, the cover of Blawan's 'Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage' and it is again astonishing that none of the song's blistering complexity is lost on the journey.

It's a terrific show and one that underlines that Girl Band are not just a band with one great record in them, but one that continues to develop and grow and produce music of outstanding nerve and quality. It's our first venture out of the year but one that will be incredibly hard to top. The post gig sales of both France 98 and 'Lawman' are extremely healthy; numbers are criminally short so invest in them while you are able. And don't fail to catch Girl Band live if you can. There was no rest for the band after the gig as they were straight off across the Channel for four nights in Holland but they return for brief stints in Reading and London (22nd and 23rd January) before heading home for four dates in Ireland. All we need now is an album. No pressure, lads. Next week will do.

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