Girl Band - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date:

Ok, so let’s get the confusion out of the way first. Girl Band is a noise-rock band from Ireland who, despite the name, don’t actually have any female members while Goat Girl is a no-wave influenced band from London that don’t, perhaps less surprisingly, feature any goats. Got it? Good. Both bands are currently signed to Rough Trade and make the kind of squalid yet alluring racket that makes you feel alive.

Before this we’re treated to a set from a band a little closer to home, Brudenell regulars Mush. The band genuinely seems to become more confident every time I see them. They start with a soaring, somewhat euphoric, instrumental before diving head-first into a psychedelicised set of frazzled, noise-drenched indie.

The singer yelps and screams over the feedback as the band veer between guitar squall and a sound that draws inspiration from the Stephen Malkmus songbook. One of the bands more sprawling numbers even manages to recall ‘The Hexx’ from Pavement’s Terror Twilight. If there’s any justice out there in gig-land than you should be hearing a lot more about Mush over the coming year.

They’ve only recently released their debut single yet Goat Girl is already more than worthy of your adoration. The 4-piece proudly flies the flag for DIY indie while singing superbly sordid rock ‘n’ roll with slight hints of no-wave high-priestess Lydia Lunch in the vocal delivery of singer Clottie Cream.

A guy clutching a bottle of Buckfast and reading a poem from his phone introduces the band before they lunge into a set rife with sex and danger. The snarling and decidedly pissed-off ‘Scum’ lurches and leers as they sing, “How can an entire nation be so fucking thick?” A phrase we’ve perhaps all muttered at the TV recently.

Just as The Birthday Party reinterpreted rockabilly, Goat Girl’s music occasionally resembles a kind of twisted take on country, from the rollicking bass lines to the raw twang of the guitars. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the suitably sleazy ‘Country Sleaze’. Much like the rest of tonight’s set, ‘Country Sleaze’ exudes a decadent, youthful energy that’s damn near impossible to resist.

The last time I saw Girl Band was back in 2014 when they supported the legendary Slint on their reunion tour. The band played on the floor in front of the stage and put in a noisily persuasive set. Yet as great as that set was, it couldn’t quite prepare me for tonight’s bombardment.

They open with an off-kilter descending bassline that leads the charge into oblivion. Vocalist, Dara Kiely, quickly working himself up into a sweaty mess. The real genius, of course, lying in the fact that they decided to call this unwieldy sonic juggernaut ‘Paul’.

There’s an experimental air to the way the band approaches songwriting, from Kiely’s idiosyncratic lyrics to the frantic, discordant and sonically erratic music that constantly pummels our ears from the moment the band take to the stage. Bassist Daniel Fox plays slide with a beer bottle while guitarist Alan Duggan runs through an impressive array of effects in his endless quest to make the most noise humanly possible.

‘Lawman’ starts a little like ‘I am the Resurrection’ before taking a sharp left-turn and morphing into the kind of pounding, noisy weirdness you’d expect to hear from mclusky. There’s never a dull moment in a Girl Band song with Duggan taking every instrumental passage as a que to pile yet more noise and discordance into the mix. The crowd lap up every moment too and there’s a fairly sizable mosh-pit growing in front of the stage.   

The set reaches fever pitch with their deliriously good take on Blawan’s underground dance track, ‘Why they hide their bodies under my garage?’ Taking the sinister, club-like atmosphere of the original and upping the intensity levels. The strobes at the Brudenell turn the venue into Creamfields as Kiely talks, shouts and screams his way through the songs relentless mantra. It’s like LCD Soundsystem reared on a diet of noise-rock and its fucking glorious. The set ends with drummer Adam Faulkner diving into the crowd, a very well-deserved lap on honour. Girl Band is just about the most exciting live band you could hope to see right now.

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