Music Box at Fonda – Hollywood, CA
Words/Photos by Reverend Justito
Before we begin, we must give a major shout out to both Girls and Vacation Vinyl in Silver Lake, CA. I don’t know who had the idea to give away a free ticket to the Girls show with the purchase of Father, Son, Holy Ghost on vinyl, but I am sure glad they did. We here at Concert Confessions truly can’t express just how wonderful the folks at Vacation Vinyl are. They have always taken care of us on Record Store Day, host some great in-stores and have a diverse selection of vinyl from hipster indie faves to the blackest of black metal. So THANK YOU to whomever made it possible to see a show and get a double vinyl LP for $23, we sure as hell appreciate it.
When I walked through the doors of the Music Box, I was a guy who was still trying to figure out Girls. My first encounter with Girls was nothing short of magical. How could it not be, here were two guys I grew up with performing at the Hollywood Bowl?!?!?! In the days and weeks after that show, I wondered had I not been connected with some of the players, would I have enjoyed it? I do tend to be the anti-hipster after all and Girls are not something I would usually gravitate towards. After the Bowl appearance, I picked up a copy of Broken Dreams Club and gave it a spin or two before placing back upon the shelf. Father, Son and Holy Ghost was not originally on my shopping list this past Record Store Day – Black Friday, but with the earlier mentioned incredible deal the time was right to dive deep into Girls.
Having secured a front row balcony seat despite arriving well after The Tyde had wrapped their main support set, I patiently waited for the sons of San Francisco to take the stage. When they finally hit the stage at 10 past 10, the near capacity crowd erupted as the opening notes of “My Ma” trickled from the PA. With Father, Son and Holy Ghost being declared the best record of 2011 by MTV News earlier in the day, the mood inside the Music Box was happy and warm despite the cold by Los Angeles standards weather out on Hollywood Blvd.
The front end of the set was loaded with songs for the broken hearted and I am not just saying that because “Heartbreaker” was the second song performed. When front man Christopher Owens sang “Cause when I said I love you honey, I knew it from the very start. And when I said that I loved you, honey I knew that you would break my heart” one couldn’t help feel reminded of the agony that a break up causes on ones soul. If that didn’t hit you in the heart, then the pain within the lyrics of “Laura” and “Love Life” most certainly did.
As the show progressed I realized my love of Girls was not based around the lyrics and hypnotic vocal execution from Christopher Owens. My love of Girls is from the incredible landscapes they create musically. I love the bands ability to mix various genres into one. “Die” manages to sound both like Black Sabbath and Dick Dale yet possess the flair of a 1980’s underground punk song. One thing that really added to the music was the use of three female back up singers. The layer of texture they added took what was a good show and made it an amazing show.
Another great trick under Girls sleeve are songs that begin as a soft and tender ballad and end as a monstrous feedback heavy balls to the wall ass kicking rock and roll extravaganza. The bands best example of that was the eventual set closer “Vomit.” This song truly has it all, tender chords, massive guitar solos and more lyrics that tug upon your heart. “Forgiveness” is another great example of this type of song structure.
I walked into the Music Box with an open mind and the understanding that there was no way the group could be worse than Beady Eye. I left not only having a much better understanding of Girls, but knowing that in a few years I can brag that I saw the band way back when at the intimate Music Box. With the already mentioned MTV accolades and plenty of touring to come in 2012 (may I start the Coachella rumor here) Girls are right on the edge of blowing up big time. As for me, let’s just say my $23 was well spent.