1/29 Girls @ The Parish
Girls brought the stoned out and sunny, but never too sunny, sounds of their debut Album to life at the Parish last Friday. With support by The Smith Westerns and Magic Kids it was a night of bright shards of pop bouncing off the Parish’s newly re-decorated walls. A great night for a reverb drenched acid trip lead by the eccentric weirdness of Christopher Owens and his mighty side kick Chet White. Follow the jump.
Opening the show was four piece The Smith Westerns, fronted by two kids who looked and acted a lot like Bill and Ted, blitzed through a set of bubble gum fuzz that wore it’s influences proudly on its sleeve. The youngsters were downright giddy about being on tour with Girls, made very clear as they vaulted on stage on four separate occasions during the headliner’s set inciting onstage hugs, harmonies, tambourines and downright fits of glee.
Shortly after the two openers wrapped things up, headliners Girls took the stage at Parish. The band not only displayed a proficient translation of Album into the live setting, but proved they could embody the juxtaposition of Owens’ own song writing. Songs waned and waxed as the drums pulled on the tempo creating moments of intense discomfort allowing Owens space to unload his burdens. Guitars created duel tremolo drenched guitar solos that would have made Dick Dale grin as White’s bass lines offered solace and cohesion to each song’s structure. All of which created the perfectly dazed back drop for Owens peculiar confessions of love lost or never found. Most captivating is Girls’ ability to fully embrace pop sensibilities while also displaying Owens’ unfathomable since of fucked-upness, which is spattered across every sun shiny moment with sonically off kiltered imperfections and his own psychosis.
Christopher Owens can best be described as possessing the snarl of Elvis Costello, pop eccentricities of Brian Wilson, and the nearly sociopathic penance for obsessive relationships of Daniel Johnston. The night made more surreal by the presence of Owens’ estranged mother (supposedly forcibly prostituted by the Child of God Cult in which Owens was raised) in the crowd. According to Owens she had not seen her son play guitar since he was 16.
A staged encore found the band huddling into the Parish’s equipment closet before coming back out to play a couple more before sending the crowd home. Though it wasn’t clear if it was meant to be, I found the closet exit comical. This seemed fitting, serving as yet one more strange piece of the puzzle that is Girls. A deeply troubled songwriter trying his best to exercise his demons by writing summer time love songs about girls, each one coming out as a beautifully candy coated treat with a gooey center of melancholy and self hatred. I may never understand the troubled soul from which these songs come but I hope they keep coming.
Photos are provided by Mary Rehak. She has even more on her flickr page.