On Monday night, the Bay Area band Girls (an almost utterly un-Googleable band name), played to a packed house at One Eyed Jacks. The momentous indie band is made up of five members, but it’s the main project of front man and lead singer, Christopher Owens, and bassist/producer JR White. Girls stopped in for a Monday night show in mid-tour form as part of a lengthy, 3 month tour with Unknown Mortal Orchestra culminating with what will surely be a buzzed-about appearance at both weekends of Coachella in mid-April.
After the spring time feng shui was established onstage (bouquets of flowers decorated the stage), the band arrived from behind the curtains and began powering through songs from their newest album, Father, Son, Holy Ghost. To say that this one started out with a bang would be an understatement — it was loud, very loud (ears still ringing). The unabashedly catchy “Honey Bunny”, the opening track from their latest LP, came next and got the crowd jumping and singing along. Compared to all other songs played during the set, this was the standout and one of the few upbeat songs of the night. The tune is an ode to Owens’ mother with a surf guitar vibe. In stark contrast, the rest of Girls’ rather ethereal repertoire seemed to lyrically focus on the angst and anxiety for which Owens is known.
Throughout the show, Owens switched from electric to acoustic guitar several times, oscillating between songs from 2009′s Album and the band’s most recent LP from last year. The front man delivered little enthusiasm and remained rather detached from the audience, saying “thank you” sparingly. But from what I gather, this seems to be customary of Owens’ character.
He’s been compared to Kurt Cobain several times for his lyrics and his appearance. This definitely held true on Monday night as evidenced by the band’s oftentimes gnashing, hard-rocking songs, replete with simplistic lyrics and beautifully constructed imagery.
The album, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, received a glowing 9.3 out of 10 from the tough and heavily influential critics at Pitchfork, and such high praise in and of itself speaks highly of Girls to a large audience and has undoubtedly helped lead to their recent success. While the songs themselves may have been a tad slow at times, the music itself kept the performance afloat. Despite the lack of encore – one of the only times Owens spoke to the audience to let everyone know there wouldn’t be an encore due to running a fever that day — most fans departed the Toulouse Street venue happily and were able to rock along with Owens and the band throughout the night. Perhaps audience engagement was unnecessary — although generally appreciated (especially for coming out on a Monday) — Owens and his band let the music speak for itself.