Where: The Earl- Atlanta, GA
When: February 8, 2010
While we were waiting for Girls to take the stage after two pretty energetic sets from The Smith Westerns and Magic Kids, I struck up a conversation with the kid standing beside me. We prattled on about concerts we’d been to recently and the upcoming ones we are excited to see. After talking a bit, I found that despite being under age, he and his buddies drove up from Orlando to Atlanta just to see Girls play, a fact that wouldn’t have been that big of a deal except that the venue was 21 and up. It was a gamble (that he obviously won), and I couldn’t resist asking him why he drove so far to catch this show. I’m paraphrasing of course, but he essentially said that he feared the band probably wouldn’t be around for long because of all the drugs and that he loved the music enough to do whatever it took to see them live, just once.
I thought about how tragic that sounded, especially from a kid right out of high school. And yet it made perfect sense. He and his buddies embodied this band. Their unbridled energy and spontaneity coupled with their stark realism and underlying sadness pretty much sums up what makes the band Girls so, for lack of a better word, awesome.
Lead singer Christopher Owens did look sick and frail when he came onstage, and even his reddish lipstick couldn’t detract from the dark circles around his eyes and his chalky pallor. But despite any mental or physical illness, he proceeded to put on a decent show, speaking only to praise the two beginning acts. Sadly, the longest dialogue Owens had was when he all but begged the audience members for drugs. He mumbled that it wasn’t just drugs for drugs sake at this point, but that “tonight I really, really need some.”
The set list was solid and I am happy to say that I got my hands on the band’s hard copy from the show. (It’s the little things in life that make me happy.) They kicked off the set with “Laura” which is slowly becoming my favorite track on the album, and they worked their way through the rest of Album and the songs on their single releases.
The band’s almost 7 minute rendition of their hit “Hellhole Ratrace” stole the show as the crowd joined in for the chorus and you could feel the ground shaking with the anticipation.
As an added treat, the band also played a new song called “Heartbreaker” which has the same breezy California vibe that is characteristic of most of the songs on Album.
All in all, it was a fun show. As is true with Album, the live show’s bouncy, up-beat vibe sometimes overshadowed the band’s painfully sad lyrics and it was easy to forget what a troubled creature Christopher Owens is. I am keeping my fingers crossed that he will start exorcising his demons solely through his music and not through self-destructive means because it would be a shame to lose such a talent. And I really hope that kid from Orlando gets to see Girls play live again.
And here’s another of my poor quality videos from the show. I couldn’t go without posting “Lust For Life”