If the album found Our Girl buckling at the seams, barely contained, pushing at the walls and trying to break out and break free, their live performance found them crashing through, completely loose, free, and wild.
Opening up the whole affair was Breathe Panel
, a band containing one of the members of Our Girl (bassist Josh Tyler), playing considerably more restrained tunes. Breathy yet loud, jittery yet mellow, the band grooved their way through gorgeously light indie pop tunes with melancholic vocals that evoked the mood of someone who has said “no, it’s okay, I’m fine” far too often for you to believe them. Intricate never-ending guitar lines and drum fills backed up a lackadaisical anxiety from singer Nick Green, basking in nostalgia and the shimmering veil that the music cast over everything. They put on the kind of live performance that works best for an opener, just enough jamming and plenty of talent to get the audience excited to check them out more.
Then came Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard
: an absolute monster of a double-denim-clad-high-kickings-woo-hooing band. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard don’t make indie rock, nor indie pop, nor classic rock, they make proper hearkening back “rock ‘n’ roll” music – the kind of music that shocked audiences with their shaking hips and tight jeans (both of which there were plenty of). What worked so well in Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard’s favour was that they managed to move straight through the possibility of kitsch and silliness to a cocky, suave, ridiculously fun live show. Songs were buoyed by the kind of “ooh ooh ooh” choruses you might expect from the Beach Boys, but offset by a frenetic squirrelly energy that evoked The Clash and AC/DC. Vocalist, Tom Rees strutted about the stage in a second skin of denim whilst pulling all the right Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler shapes. There was a sense of beautiful chaos, a complete lack of shits given about a constant tempo, and a host of guitar strings that were thrashed with such intensity they seemed on the verge of breaking throughout the entire performance. A brilliant, brilliant live band.
Now, Our Girl
doesn’t do high kicks. Our Girl doesn’t do double denim or self-aware posturing and performance. Our Girl just plays great songs really, really well. Over the course of a fairly short 10-song-set, they moved between playing in a way that mirrored the studio tracks from their album, Stranger Today
, and sliding in extended jam sessions during the middle of songs. If the album found the band buckling at the seams, barely contained, pushing at the walls and trying to break out and break free, their live performance found them crashing through, completely loose, and free, and wild. The aggression found on the album was magnified and jagged riffs became razor-sharp, pointed vocals seemed to find their target, and pauses felt like gasps for breath. Songs from the album that sped up as they reached their conclusion, doubled in time live, crashing down to a finish. It was a release, it was untamed, and it was raw, but it never reached the point of absurdity, and volume was never used by itself to give the impression of energy. They just played hard, and well, and Soph Nathan absolutely roared her way, vocally and on guitar, throughout the whole set.
Photo: Derrick K Lee