Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Girls - HMV Forum 28/05/12

Having never seen Girls before and being a pretty big fan, I've heard that they're absolutely amazing live and was not expecting any less and I definitely wasn't disappointed when I went down to their only UK show this year at the HMV forum.
Before Girls took to the stage, support band Weird Dreams, basically a toned-down and less captivating version of Girls - ambled through a set that felt a lot longer than it probably was as each song merged into the next, creating one long song. What didn't help was that Weird Dreams were so low-energy and largely failed to arouse any interest from the crowd. It's safe to say that everyone was waiting for Christopher Owens and co. to hit the stage and blow everyone away. 

Over half an hour of anticipation follows before Girls hit the stage and Christopher Owens is decked out in a white suit and tie - complementing the array of beautiful flowers attached to each microphone stand. Having seen pictures of previous live shows and photos of Owens next to flowers, this came as no surprise but was still equally as lovely. Starting off slow, they open with 'My Ma' and the crowd instantly comes alive as soon as the first note is played, showing their appreciation right from the off. 

A few older songs follow including 'Ghost Mouth' and 'Laura' which come as nice surprises since it's only fair to expect recent material from their incredible second album, Father, Son, Holy Ghost. By this point, Owens has already taken off his jacket, feeling the heat as summer has newly sprung upon us. Throughout the first half of the set, Owens barely shakes his hair out of his face and avoids eye contact with the crowd, only graciously but meekly saying 'Thank you' after each song - a humble gesture from someone who exudes such power and emotion through his songs. He leaves the talking to his band mate J.R White who shares a few words about the last time they played a show in London. 

When it comes to 'Vomit', the crowd is completely enraptured in Girls' live show, dancing and singing along the words as the most indescribable rendition is going on in the foreground; and the gospel singers really come into their stride as one comes forward and belts out her part - sounding even more soulful and vivid in real life than on record. The three backing gospel vocalist serve as hype women throughout as they encourage the crowd to clap and dance along to each song, even when they're not participating in the song with their flawless harmonies. The raptures of applause that ensues is astounding as it feels like the praise carries on for a long time, whilst Owens subtly smiles to himself at the reaction and gets a well deserved break in between songs. 

'Morning Light' causes a moshpit at the front of the crowd, as they have much more energy than would be expected in the sudden sweltering heat in London. Girls bring out more older songs than expected but this is welcomed profusely by the crowd who no doubt are eager to hear a mix of the three outputs from the San Francisco band. Unsurprisingly, by 'Lust For Life', the barely audible sing-a-longs to songs have turned into a mass sing-a-long in the Forum, 'Oh, I wish I had a boyfriend. I wish I had a loving man in my life...', as Owens gets completely comfortable and sweeps his hair out of his face as well as maintaining concentrated eye contact with the crowd.

Afterwards, the band leave the stage but it's obvious that there's going to be an encore and predictably, the band return to the stage for three songs, 'Honey Bunny', 'Love Like A River' and 'Carolina'. Although perhaps 'Honey Bunny' would have been a suitable last song due to being one of Girls' most high energy songs, the three songs were the perfect exit to an amazing set, as the crowd and Owens unite to bring energy and fun to the Forum, and by this point, Owens has unbuttoned his shirt - unable to take the heat in his full attire. 
Christopher Owens may sing 'They don't like my boney body/They don't like my dirty hair' but it's safe to say that everyone was united in love for Owens and his band mates at the gig of the year so far. 

Aurora Mitchell

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