Girl Band live at Summerhall

Girl Band made a long-awaited return to Edinburgh as part of the impressive Nothing Ever Happens Here program at Summerhall. If you have not heard of Girl Band you would be forgiven for thinking they were a regular indie guitar band. A drummer, a bassist, a lead guitarist and a singer, but this is very misleading.

From the first song, a cover of the techno classic ‘Why did they hide their bodies under my garage?’ it is clear these four are far from conventional. While techno and house regularly remix songs from their live counterparts it is not often we see it go the other way, but it is without doubt a successful opener, setting the precedent for the rest of the gig. The lead guitarist (Alan Duggan), with help of an array of pedals almost reminiscent of Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, acts more as an instrument of percussion then of any sort of melody, sending out long distorted stabs into the crowd. While the drummer (Adam Faulkner) impressively keeps up the tempo of song, using his own modified cymbals to give the sound that characteristic techno edge. Seeing the intensity of the playing you can understand why techno tracks are not covered live more often, but the audience feeds off this energy. At times Edinburgh crowds can take a while to warm up, but from the first ‘drop’ this was clearly not the case.The band proceeeded to run through the set list scrawled on the back of their hands in permanent marker, playing fan favourites such as ‘Fucking Butter’ and ‘Pears For Lunch’ early on. The lead singer (Dara Kiely), fuelled by a self mixed combination of Lilt, Red Bull and white wine, was screaming their famously nonsensical lyrics into the microphone and the fans took obvious delight in shouting along. It is not often you are able to scream “Spend my time watching Top Gear with my trousers down/Covered in Sudocrem and talking to myself” and be part of the majority.

From this point onwards the gig just went from strength to strength, with ‘Lawman’ and their penultimate song ‘Paul’ pushing the crowd into a frenzy. Even at this point they had tricks up their sleeves with the bassist using one of the many empty bottles on stage to allow for slide guitar capabilities, yet another alternative technique that was fascinating to watch. Then they finished with their sub one minute track ‘Cha-Cha-Cha’ and they were off. At only one hour it was quite a short set, but this was made up for with the energy and intensity that they played with. Last year many people across the country considered Girl Band to be one of the best live acts of 2016, and their performance at Summerhall certainly did not disappoint.

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