I shouldn’t have gone out last night. I’m ill, I guess. But not in a conventional “I have a cold” kind of way but in a “no one knows what’s wrong with me, I’m in pain and I want to cry” kind of me. Apparently it’s the nerves in my neck. I’m a clumsy fucker at the best of times, but I know I’ve not done anything recently to warrant doing such damage. Although, I have a slight disregard for my general well-being so who knows! Standing for a few hours was the dumbest thing I could have done, and I’ve only just managed to get out of bed. I’ve got my own playlist sorted for my MRI scan next week/week after, and as someone who can’t sit still I’ve most definitely picked the wrong kind of songs to listen to. Moving on and pain aside. Gross Net. Girls Names. Last night.
Gross Net is Phil from Girls Names making a lot of noise and probably terrifying the crowd. In certain places, I’m sure they wouldn’t “get” it. Places like London and Manchester would and did. As Gross Net, Phil pretty much seems like a young Nick Cave circa Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party. When he’s not holding his guitar, he grips the mic and flails it around as if his life depends on it. Seeing a band or singer expose themselves like this what makes them believable and it is what makes them so easy to relate to. To make his set even better, I got a song dedication. If I was in a band, I’d probably pick people out and aim songs at them. Be fruity kids, it’s fine. With a knowing point and my name spoken through the mic, Phil rips into a song that I was pretty pleased to have dedicated to me. He closed his set with a song for those on the dole. I’m fairly sure most weren’t expecting this kind of declaration on a Friday night, but who cares. I loved every minute of it, and I was immediately back in 2010-2011 when I spent too much time on the dole and having my soul crushed by the job centre every Friday for £70 a week. I coped, just about. Time changes everything to an extent. Phil ends this song screaming into the mic in the crowd, as the end of the song draws near he places the mic around the neck of a bewildered person in the crowd and walks off. The guy had no idea what to do, gave it a few minutes and removed the mic from his neck and placed it on the ground. Far too polite.
I’ve been a fan of Girls Names for ages but this was the first time seeing them live. I was immediately drawn to bassist, Claire and how she is probably one of the best bassist I’ve ever seen. Now, if I was going to list my favourite live bands I would easily put Girls Names in the top 5. Maybe it’s because they were playing one of the best venues in the country or maybe, maybe it’s because they are just so fucking(sorry) good. I firmly believe that when you go to a gig, you should leave wanting to start a band. Girls Names did more than this. I felt like I was watching The Fall or The Jesus And Mary Chain for the first time. I felt like I had gone back in time and I was anywhere but in London. Maybe I was in the depths of Berlin or maybe I was in an alleyway in Manchester; I don’t know. But I do know that gigs like this just stick in my mind for a long, long time.
What I loved about their show last night was that each person in the band got their chance to show us all what they’re made of. I loved during the encore Phil was going into Claire’s bass as if he was telling her to get out of his space. It was in a sibling kind of way- a gentle shove and neither was going to back down. Cathal was ramming his guitar into the speaker behind him giving off this excess feedback which just made you wish the show wasn’t about to end. Gib was beating the crap out of the drums with such fury. These Belfast bruisers make enough noise for anyone to go slightly deaf, and that’s part of the charm. If a band is wonderfully and obnoxiously loud, I’ll probably love them. Girls Names last night easily cemented why they are probably one of the best bands around. I could go on for ages about how great they were and hope they just sum up everything I love about music. They have a sound that I’m always looking for. They remind me of bands I love such as Bauhaus and Cold Cave but they also sound like nothing else. They are a band to be treasured and seen at any chance one gets.
On record they are noisy but I firmly believe that Girls Names are one of those bands that you just have to see, and sometimes London crowds have a rep of being a bunch of stale dicks but in this case, they really weren’t. This was one of the best crowds I’ve seen and I’m fairly sure that’s part of what made the show last night nothing short of perfect. Their dark but entirely comforting sound may be a turn off for those who want conventional and tame sounds- don’t surround yourself with people who want that. Go find those who aren’t afraid to be engulfed by sounds so dark, creepy and loud. Let the sounds rip through you and let the lyrics make you question everything, and everyone. They’re the kind of band I wish I was in. I’ve said it loads but this is the kind of music I’d probably make if I had any musical talent.
Go see them, let them deafen you and buy one of Phil’s “reasonably priced tapes.”