“Turn the guitars up!” yells an unknown man in a crowded community hall in Dalston.
“But, I can’t hear myself”, Cassie Ramone softly replies. The two girls standing and the girl sitting on stage with their instruments eye each other for a few seconds, before Ali Koehler shrugs her shoulders and starts drumming.
Dalston’s Trinity Centre is more accustomed to holding scout parties so, sorry for Mr Unknown, but sound quality was never going to be the stand out feature at the Vivian Girls Monday night show. Instead, we got a great show in an intimate setting. Whilst waiting around outside for the doors to open (and figuring out how to get into the unusual venue), the strains of various songs being sound checked floated into the cold evening, increasing my anticipation. Once in, we passed the VIP area; a small kitchen, entered through some double doors and in front was a raised stage lit by two lamps. Perfectly suited to a band who specialise in lo-fi noisy pop. Well done Upset the Rhythm for finding the venue.
Now on their second album, the Vivian Girls have a sizable song list at their disposal, and for this performance the laziest girl singers of recent months opted for a set heavy on newer material. Even in the darker moments of Everything Goes Wrong, the layers of fuzzy noise couldn’t hide the endearing lyrics and vocal harmonies of the girls. Listening to them makes me swoon, go weak at the knees and a little bit fuzzy wuzzy dreamy. I want to be a band, playing with my best friends. I’ve already got the bangs I just need the skills.
For all their low-fi sensibilities, the Vivian Girls can play their instruments with ease. Katy Kickball plucks the bass and grooves, the small lamps throw up her gigantic shadow on the wall behind, like a dancing spectre. Cassie’s head drops and nods at times, her fingers fretting quickly.
Despite there being nothing extra visually than the three girls, they made for a mesmerising set. The highlight of the show, saw the girls gather around one mic and perform an acapella version of The Chantels “He’s Gone”. Accompanied only by two tambourines, hand-claps and the silence of the crowd it was an unexpected treat which was pitch perfect and wouldn’t have been out of place in the bible belt on a Sunday.
(Polaroid image from The Vivian Girls’ website)By: Dearbhaile Kitt, 03.02.2010 | Comments (0)
Tagged: Ali Koehler, Cassie Ramone, Dalston, London, Music, Trinity Centre, Upset The Rhythm, Vivian Girls