Kids down in Salt Lake City received a special treat for Valentines this past weekend: a visit from 2009s arguably most interesting act, Girls. It was a free in-store show at Slowtrain Records and was, as a result, packed. The 200 square foot record store was filled considerably past capacity, and the crowd leaked out the door and into the street. Were talking kids hanging from light poles and pressed up against the windows in order to get a better view of where these beautiful noises were coming from. Unfortunately, this show was a quickie and will thus wield a quickie review, but short and sweet is often a great thing.
Chris Owens and co. took little time to set up and jumped right into the set with Album track Darling. It was instantly apparent why this motley crew was so critically acclaimed in 09. The tightness and originality of their sound filled the small room with such immensity it hardly seemed like it could be coming from these five dudes. Owens’ vocals seemed to be the glue to this refreshingly original sound that has been so hailed in reviews past.
Girls Album made many a Best Of list this past year, coming in at number ten on P4K, number 15 on Rolling Stone, and number 6 on Stereogum. The constant comparisons to Elvis Costello and The Beach Boys that the press has been slinging around are accurate sonically, but I would submit that from a persona point of view, Owens gives off a much more Kurt Cobain vibe. I dont know. Maybe its the greasy locks of shoulder length blonde hair or the oft-painted fingernails. At any rate, Owens’ vocals provided the glue to each of the songs as they ran through them.
They delivered a quick, yet flawless set that ran through their small catalogue and gave us SLC punks a taste of what Girls are all about. Cat calls for Hellhole Ratrace and Lust For Life were prevalent throughout the show and when Owens announced that this would be their final song and busted into our ninth favorite song of the year, “Lust For Life”, the crowd gave a voluminous cheer. They thanked the audience for their participation and with that, were on their way.
I had the chance to speak with Owens briefly after the show concluded. I congratulated him on his set and thanked him for his willingness to play for free. He conceded that he loved playing free shows to audiences who were there to just hear some good music, although, he was worried about how they sounded because they didnt have much time to get set up. I assured him that they sounded more than fine and in fact blew us all away. He congenially said thanks, shook my hand, and was out the door and headed to his next adventure.
Girls were voted 2nd best new act of 2009 by Stereogum, and after seeing this performance, it was apparent why. A little charisma and some skillful songwriting go a long way..
Substance (unreleased track)
Lust For Life