RIP Girls: A Tribute To The Best Band You’ve Never Heard
One of my favorite discoveries of 2011 is a San Francisco based two-piece band simply titled Girls. Their music can be sort of described as garage rock/indie pop with some San Franciscan psychedelia thrown in for good measure. They’ve received high praise for their two albums, 2009’s Album and 2011’s Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Now, according to a recent string of tweets by lead singer/songwriter Christopher Owens, he’s left the band. Meaning, of course, that the band is no more. This would be like if Dan Auerbach left The Black Keys, or something.
Although I’ve never gotten the chance to see this great band perform live, the Reverend Justito has. So here is one review from last year, and here is another, from Coachella.
Christopher Owens says that he will continue making music, possibly as a solo artist. But one must really wonder why the Girls’ 5-year career ended so abruptly. Is it because Lena Dunham from the television show Girls wants Owens to change the band name? Is Owens rejoining the Children Of God? Either way, this is very sad news. Perhaps they’ll build up a cult following and play a one-off Coachella gig in 10 years for a small payment of $500,000.
Well, here are a few songs by this great band who left us too quickly:
When a late night host calls a band “critically acclaimed”, it usually means I hate them. Most of the time that’s just code for “Yea we don’t quite know why they’re here either”.
Finally, this was not the case on Wednesday Night, when the awesome San Francisco boys, known as Girls paid a visit to Late night cable television. They performed the beautiful “Love Like A River”(off ‘Father, Son, Holy Ghost‘) on Conan. In case you missed it, we have the video for you below. So glad this album was one of the few I shelled out money to buy when it came out..
To check out some past confessions of Girls, click here, here and here.
There was a reason I have always avoided Coachella and that reason is the sun. Fact is my white ass doesn’t do so well out in the middle of the desert. So it is fitting that my first trip to Coachella felt more like my hometown of San Francisco versus the Palm Desert. Strong winds, sporadic showers and thick fog were a downer for everyone but me. But enough about the weather, let’s discuss the first Friday of Coachella 2012.
I have a pal, his name is James and the album title Get Laid by James has always made us laugh. So to pop my Coachella cherry I decided to start off with this long running Manchester band’s main stage set. I honestly couldn’t name a single song they played, I didn’t get to hear the song Laid, but I did run into my pal Brian so that was pretty sweet.
Gary Clark Jr.
I ran across the Polo Fields from the main stage to the Gobi Tent for the first act I was truly excited to see. With the wind blowing hard through the tent, Gary Clark Jr. hit the stage with a fantastic set of rock/blues revival. Song like “When The Trains Pull In” and “Don’t Owe You A Thang” felt more like Bonnaroo as the crowd danced under the tent. I ended up sneaking off right after he teased some “Third Stone From The Sun” action as I decided to check in on another hippie heavy act.
As I have shared in the past, I have been trying to see Grouplove since last summer. I still need to see Grouplove. With hurricane strength winds and extremely douchie fans assembled under the Mojave Tent I only lasted two songs. Sadly the band sounded terrible and I am not sure if it was the wind, the fact they are blowing up before they have the time to grow as a live act or a combo of both. I am sure Hannah Hooper is a lovely gal but someone should mention to her that when winds are whipping she may want to actually sing into the mic when she dances around instead of projecting from eight feet away. I split after “Itchin on a Photograph” with the thoughts in my mind that perhaps the third time is the charm.
In my pre-Coachella YouTube session, Death Grips caught me off guard. I have a thing for noisy bands and I am always down to check out any act who call Northern California home. With their road crew rocking San Francisco Giants hats, the band hit the stage to a very small crowd. I lasted about ½ the set and I have very mixed emotions on the band. Unaware of how long they have been performing live, you can tell the group needs some work on their stage presence, especially lead vocalist MC Ride. What I do like about this group is they are a new wave of acts that are the evolution of heavy music. I like the combo of aggressive beats matched with a hip hop meets DC hardcore vocal flair. It’s unique it’s refreshing and God damn did it make me feel old.
If you have followed this site for a while you know I love Girls. I showed up about ½ way into their Outdoor Stage set and was delighted to see bassist Chet White rocking an old school San Francisco 49ers jacket. The part of the set I saw was heavy on last year’s outstanding release Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Highlights included Saying I Love You, Alex and the set closing Vomit. Towards the end as the song gets heavy and lead singer Christopher Owens is singing “looking for love” with the help of backup singers, the rain began to fall heavily upon the crowd. It was as if it was in synch with the San Francisco based group and the first truly magical Coachella moment I was lucky enough to experience.
After catching up with some pals, I caught my third Arctic Monkeys show from the beer tent. Shockingly, while I was not exactly watching them it was the best I have heard this band play. Highlights included “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” and the track recorded with Mr. Josh Homme just a few miles away “Crying Lightning.” The perfect dinner band, even if dinner is two quickly pounded cups of Heineken.
Hey look it’s Madness. Cross them off the list of bands I have never seen.
As I mentioned sarcastically in my Coachella preview, I know “Common People” and that’s about it. Yet despite not knowing much about the band they were the highlight of day one. The Jarvis Cocker lead act sounded incredible and he is a helluva front man. I love his rambling banter on everything from learning how to have sex to the admission that Coachella wanted them last year and it simply didn’t happen. Oh and Cocker hit me with a grape before performing “Babies” that was pretty awesome. I went to see Pulp knowing they don’t make it across the pond to the states very often, and I left their set as a fan. Oh and just to make assholes like me happy, you know they closed with “Common People” and it was all I had dreamed of and more.
The Black Keys
I knew this band was ready for headline status when I tried to catch them at Outside Lands and was at least two football fields back. Thankfully I was much closer on this evening and enjoyed most of the Akron duos set. Opening up with the 1-2 punch of “Howlin’ For You” and “Next Girl” the massive crowd erupted for the main stage headliners. Some of the background videos seemed to be glitching but no one really cared as the duo were bringing it hard. Other highlights included the duo ditching their back up band to go at it alone on older songs like “I’ll Be Your Man” and “Your Touch.” One of my favorites from their stellar new record El Camino, “Little Black Submarines” was the perfect way to close out my first proper show by The Black Keys in order to get a quick beer and a slice of pizza before ending my night at the Outiside Stage.
Explosions In The Sky
Granted most of the set was watched from the beer garden as I ate the earlier mention pizza and drank the earlier mentioned beer but I really liked what I heard from this Texas based post rock instrumental act. The music was beautiful and with no lyrics found a way to bring out emotions I wasn’t expecting to feel. By the time I finally got to the field, they were unfortunately just wrapping up their set. There is going to have to be a next time for these guys.
I never thought I would see these fine Swedes live. But there it was just past 11pm with the rain coming down rather hard. Opening with The Shape of Punk To Come my arms were forming goose bumps while the younger generation were forming circle pits. The band sounded amazing as if they had not been broken up for the past decade plus. In between rants of how the band has moved on from trying to overthrow our government, the band was crushing us with classics including “The Refused Party Program,” “Rather Be Dead” and “Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine.” What I thought was most interesting was how the band discussed their reunion. They explained how it would be wrong of them not to do it since so many fans wanted it. The band was humble (their last US gig was in a basement to 40 people) and appreciate of the fan as they rewarded the crowd to a balls to the wall set closing “New Noise.” As I sit here today, I still don’t believe it happened. Refused are alive and well and I saw it with my own two eyes.
In closing day one of Coachella was a blast. I am out in about 90 minutes for round two with the likes of Kasabian, Grace Potter and those pussy farting wastes of talent known as Radiohead.
The Top 12 Must See Acts of Coachella 2012 According To Our Shit Talking Loud Mouth Founder Reverend Justito
My only trek to Indio for three days of music in the desert was nearly 2 ½ years ago. It featured one band performing 8 sets for 45,000 devoted fans. Truth be told, I am a bit scared of my first Coachella experience. I am not really the violent type, but the right mix of mind altering substances as well as the heat and general stupidity of 89,989 fucktards rocking fedoras may just send me into a murderous rampage. I suppose it’s a good thing that the fine folks at Goldenvoice don’t allow weapons onto the lush green lawn known as the Empire Polo Fields. But enough with the hate, weekend one of Coachella is just days away and I want to share with you the top 12 artists I am looking to forward to enjoying in the middle of the fucking desert.
I tried to catch these lovable Silver Lake by way of the UK and Brooklyn yet formed in Greece hippiesters at the 2011 Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco. Booked on the festivals smallest stage yet performing to a massive crowd my pals and I were so far back that we had no choice but to enjoy some whiskey and pretend that we could hear what was going on. With tours of a land down under and a few national TV appearances under their belt since Outside Lands, hopefully I can get a bit closer to the group this time around. If not, at least I will spend Weekend 2 of Coachella at my Best Friend’s House.
11) The Black Lips:
You don’t go see The Black Lips for the music (well maybe you do) you go see these Atlanta based Flower Punkers to watch them urinate on stage, puke on stage, chug beers on stage and spit snot rockets into the air only to catch it in their mouths and swallow it down. Hopefully around the time they play their guitars with their penises, I am vomiting all over those annoying racist white girls who dress like Native American Princesses. Don’t worry honey, I drink microbrew your moccasins will be just fine it’s the headdress that you need to worry about.
10) St. Vincent:
While I would prefer more METAL at Coachella, one thing that the festival is stacked with is great female talent. From Feist to that Florence chick who sounds like a dying pigeon when she sings this may be the best collection of ass kicking females in one place since Lilith Fair 1998. I was shocked at how impressed I was with St. Vincent when I caught her in Hollywood last fall. While I am not sure if her show will translate from a small dark theatre to a sun baked polo field if nothing conflicts I look forward to finding out. Oh and she may be the one individual at Coachella whose skin is more fair than mine. Perhaps we can share sun block after she gives me tips on how to kick ass on guitar as hard as she does.
9) The Buzzcocks:
For me classic punk bands are like Pokemon, I have to catch them all. With the likes of Angry Samoans, FEAR and Youth Brigade checked off the list, Coachella 2012 is my chance to catch the pride and joy of Bolton England. Here is hoping that “Orgasm Addict” and “Something’s Gone Wrong Again” make it onto the setlist.
8 ) Grace Potter and the Nocturnals:
Unknown to her, Grace Potter is my future ex-wife. Long before she was rocking VH1 award shows wearing fancy clothes, this Vermont native was winning me over with her hippielicious 70’s arena rock. Oh and the best thing about seeing Miss Potter and crew at a festival is the fact I can still enjoy her without violating that nasty court order saying I must stay 250 feet away at all times.
7) Childish Gambino:
If Foxy Shazam is White Music For Black People, does that make Childish Gambino Black Music for White People? Granted I don’t know much about hip hop, everything I have heard by this dude is great. It’s like Drake, but not a total fucking joke. Plus we both drink whiskey till we are grounded, here is to passing out in the tent during his set. That is of course when I am not puking on Asian girls from UCLA?
As an American, my vote is that you play “Common People” and then get the fuck off the stage so The Black Keys can rock. Oh and have a meltdown, because I have always wanted to see a Brit-Pop band have a breakdown on stage. I kid of course, granted I don’t really know much about Pulp, I have a thing for bands from the UK who don’t get the respect they deserve on this continent. So knowing they don’t come over here often, Pulp you best amaze the fuck out of me.
I get the feeling Girls will make a lot of new fans at Coachella this year. Their performance at the Music Box last December was their biggest US headline gig to date and they blew the roof off the fucking place. Their 2011 release Father, Son, Holy Ghost made it onto numerous top ten lists for good reason. From lush ballads like “Love Like A River” to Sabbath inspired rockers like “Vomit” and “Die” this band is truly something special and not to be missed.
4) Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds:
While I fully expect to see a water-downed version of Gallagher’s stunning November 2012 appearance on the campus of UCLA, that will still be far superior to the performance of Saturday headliners Radiohead. Having hit arena headliner status across the pond in Europe, I have no doubt that Gallagher’s well crafted songs will captivate the masses as the sun sets in the west. Likewise, ladies if you are crushed over his lack of “Wonderwall”, you can cry on my shoulder while Radiohead blow pussy farts across the Polo Fields.
Dead my ass! Refused are back and they are going to kick the living crap out of the hipster nation. Granted I get the vibe they would be better in a small club instead of on a massive stage, the fact is that in 2012 Refused are alive and I will get to see them with my own two eyes. I never thought I would have a chance, but Lord knows I plan to make the most of this one.
2) At The Drive-In:
You can pretty much take the above statement on Refused and put it here. The only difference is that I was going to see At The Drive-In live and then they went and broke up. I kid you not, when those loveable fucks over at Antiquiet broke the news that these mad men from El Paso were reforming I knew I had to finally make the trek to Coachella. Fingers crossed no one moshes thus ending the performance before it even begins.
CAN YOU FEEL IT COMING? Anyone who knows me already knew who the number one band was going to be. It has been 5 long years since Kasabian blessed North American with their presence. Super stars in Europe, Asia and Australia, there are many theories as to why this band has not taken off in America, but who cares. The fact is Kasabian is here in America right now and you are a damn fool if you miss their Saturday performance. Massive anthems from real rock and roll stars, Kasabian is the one act you can’t miss at Coachella 2012. See you in the fucking pit.
Goldenvoice Adds Coachella Week Shows For Southern California
Goldenvoice just posted information on which Coachella 2012 bands will be playing shows in/around the greater Los Angeles Area during the week between each festival. Highlights include Kasabian at the Fonda, Refused at the Glass House and Pulp at the Fox Theatre. Check out the above poster to see which of your favorite Coachella Artists are playing in Southern California this April. As always, check out the official Goldenvoice page for up to the minute details on these shows.
Girls Hit The Road In Support of Father, Son & Holy Ghost
Who doesn’t love Girls? Fresh off their near capacity throw down last month at the Fonda in Hollywood, CA, the San Francisco based group is about to hit the road for a quick 2 ½ week US Tour. Sharing the stage with Girls on this trek will be Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Information on the brief trek can be found below.
Kasabian, Refused, At The Drive-In and Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg – oh my. The 2012 Coachella lineup is out and it’s epic like elephant titties. Tickets go on sale Friday January 13th 2012 at 10 am PST via coachella.comWe hope to see you in the desert in April.
Update 01/13/12 1:00 PM PST
Both weekends of Coachella 2012 sold out in less than three hours. Our man Reverend Justitohas purchased tickets for the first weekend. If you are heading out to Indio, leave us a comment. Maybe he will buy you a beer.
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.
Words/Photos/Videos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com
On a night where summer finally lost the battle to autumn, the Hollywood Bowl was beyond capacity and eager to get their drink on with French alt-rock superstars Phoenix. The sold out crowd was already at max capacity by the time San Francisco indie-popsters Girls kicked took to the stage. For 23 minutes, the up and coming act impressed with a mix of Beach Boys pop mixed with Ryan Adams musical appreciation. The band sounded sharp and was never overwhelmed by the fact they were performing at the legendary venue. Lead by Christopher Owens, the band won the crowd over with songs like “Hellhole Ratrace.” A major step for this band, the guys nailed their chance and sounded great while doing it.
Someone once told me that Grizzly Bear was the indie rock version of Phish. This same person told me to ignore records and check them out live if I had the chance. By the third song of their set, I couldn’t agree more. With no clear leader, the band performed a short but sweet set of laid back jazzy indie rock. The highlight of their Bowl debut was when Canadian song bird Feist joined in on the fun during the songs “Service Bell” and “Two Weeks.” With many hardcore fans of the band representing within the venue, Grizzly Bear was the perfect fit for the bill. Don’t be shocked if you catch these guys headlining this very venue one day.
It was clear from the first notes of “Lisztomania” that the crowd was ready for Phoenix. For 75 minutes, the French band held a firm grasp of the generally distracted Hollywood Bowl crowd. When not singing delicate French ballads from the middle of the crowd, the bands dance friendly euro-rock sound did a fine job of feeling larger than the actual venue. “Girlfriends”, “Rome” and “Lasso” gave the twenty-something crowd a chance to put down their wine and dance into the aisles.
The highlight of the night was “Love Like A Sunset” Pt. 1 & 2.” Using the venues Bowl as a backdrop, an intense light show was unleashed on the highly enthusiastic crowd. No doubt it was a powerful moment that none in attendance will soon forget. The other obvious highlight was the #1 radio hit single “1901.” Closing out the show, the band teased the crowd by appearing to end the song, only to hide under no stage lights and re-appear thirty seconds later. When front man Thomas Mars was not in the crowd, he was inviting it’s members up on stage to jump and move one final time. Love them or hate them, Phoenix has arrived.