Friday, May 6
The Vivian Girls are damn adorable. They might not be the most proficient musicians in girl-punk>"/>
Friday, May 6 Vera Project
Friday, May 6
The Vivian Girls are damn adorable. They might not be the most proficient musicians in girl-punk history, and their live show may be as lo-fi as their records, but they're likable, that's for sure. Drenched in reverb, and in front of a hundred or so eager fans, Brooklyn's garage queens bashed and bopped their way through an hour-long set of '60s girl-group-inspired jangle punk at the Vera Project on Friday night, and the crowd ate it up.
The Vivs, who rose to prominence with their acclaimed 2008 self-titled debut, a blend of psychedelic garage rock and twee pop, have expanded their sound on their latest offering, Share the Joy, their first for new label Polyvinyl, which in turn expanded the boundaries of their live show. No longer limited by the two-minute ditties that their first two releases mostly comprised, Joy offers a number of longer songs--and moodier ones too--including a pair of tracks that clock in at over six minutes, giving singer/guitarist Cassie Ramone a chance to play some open-string surf-style solos, which she did during their set, her tousled shoulder-length blonde hair hanging down to cover her face, an image which conjured the ghost of Kurt Cobain. Beside her, bassist Kickball Katy Goodman smiled a lot, scooting across the stage and anchoring the group with her simple bass hooks and high harmonies.
Credit part of the group's expanded sound to new drummer Fiona Campbell of Coasting, who played the entire set in a dress (you try that!), as well as producer Jarvis Taveniere of Woods, who spent twice as long with the band making Joy as they had previously. Woods' production keeps the garage-y vibe of their previous releases intact while expanding their sound to include ballads, guitar solos, and other classic rock forms.
The Girls were plagued with sound issues during their set, pausing several times between songs to request that instruments be adjusted in their monitors. "Sorry," Goodman said each time with a smile. "This is real life. I should be telling jokes or something, huh?" The band finally got their momentum about halfway through their set, stopping only briefly from that point forward to catch their collective breath. "Are you guys enjoying your Friday night?", Goodman asked, before smiling at the crowd's acknowledgment that they were. "We are too."
The Vivs approach their live show much as they do their records: They simply crank up their amps and go. Their live set was unpolished, unabashed, and without frills. After plowing through their set, the trio didn't waste time with an encore; they just put down their instruments, said goodnight, and left the stage. You can take the girl out of the garage, it seems, but you can't take the garage out of the girl.
The scene: Mostly young women--and the boyfriends they dragged along--dressed in vintage dresses and chunky plastic jewelry.
Overheard at the show: "Oh my God, how does it feel to be 25?"