Last Night: Girls At Fitzgerald's

Girls, Young Man, Fanfarlo, Unknown Mortal Orchestra Fitzgerald's March 13, 2012

San Francisco's Girls kept it going strong last night, touring in support of their album Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Another vaunted acted of the Pitchfork set, they held up even better live than their 9.3 album prepared me for.

I had checked out their set lists from some recent shows so I had resigned myself to not hearing much from their debut, Album, but much to my surprise the kicked off their set with a souped-up rendition of "Ghost Mouth," one of my favorites from that release.

In fact, these guys were busting out with all the hits, delivering an all-too-short take of "Lust for Life" (theirs, not Iggy's) that got the packed house dancing their asses off in the home stretch.

While the band was setting up their gear, they were also busy making adding a decorative touch to the stage, arranging flowers on the mike stands and atop the amps and keyboards. I appreciate the effort to cultivate a visual air of beauty, it matched the swirling, dreamy aura of their sounds.

I certainly forgot that I was missing Jesus and Mary Chain over at House of Blues.

I've previously written about the "90's thing" that's going on in music today, and Girls are definitely one of the current bands breathing new life into a nostalgic device. While there's no doubt that the Beach Boys and Elvis Costello figure into their sound, it's filtered through the mid-90's Britpop prism -- even down to their appearance, Christopher Owens reminding me of Tim Booth from James.

Following "Ghost Mouth" they bopped through "Alex" and "Honey Bunny", bringing the tone down a bit with "My Ma" before picking it back up with "Heartbreaker". Almost immediately they dropped the tempo again with "My Love is Like a River", bringing to mind The Beatles' version of "You've Really Got A Hold On Me".

They trudged through the heroin/sorrow-soaked "Vomit" like Lou Reed on a Perfect Day before kicking into the psychedelic freakout of "Die," which if you've never been to San Francisco, this is what it sounds like. After the aforementioned "Lust," the set included "Laura" and "Caroline". They closed out the show with the rager "Morning Light".

Towards the end of the set a fight broke out and if I left to early and missed an encore, I regret it, but there's just something about a guy getting jammed into a police car while his girlfriend insists it was the bouncer's fault that's hard to turn away from.

Going into the show, I had expected a nice evening of indie rock but I walked away with much more than just a pleasant experience. Of the opening acts, the only I had previously heard of was Fanfarlo, but I hadn't exactly gone so far as listening to them. Fortunately, the three bands joining Girls last night brought their A-game.

One thing that struck me as odd was the huge gap of time in between acts. I mean, don't get me wrong, I was glad there was time in between bands to slip downstairs and catch some of the great show that was going on down there. I almost wish I could have been in both places at once!

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April Brem Patrick