Girls @ Emo’s in Austin, Friday 8/14

Aug 17, 2009 2:52pm

ABC News On Campus reporter Xorje Olivares blogs: ‘Girls’ just wanted to have fun this past weekend, and by the looks of it, they sure did. The San Francisco band played an hour-long set at Emo’s Outside in Austin, Texas Friday night to a modest crowd of about 200. They were one of the openers for ‘Los Campesinos.’ Wearing red pumps that matched the reddish lights shining on his face, lead singer Christopher Owens, clad in a long-sleeved shirt and jeans, must not have gotten the memo saying the capital city has been experiencing triple digit heat over the past few weeks. “I hope you’re having as much fun as we are,” Owens said as he cast aside his sweaty locks. But with two large industrial fans, and what looked to be an endless supply of ‘Lonestar’ beer keeping everyone cool, Owens and his three band mates genuinely did their best to entertain the crowd with their eclectic sound. Over the course of nine songs, ‘Girls’ took the audience on a journey that spanned five decades, with beats reminiscent of 50s pop, 70s psychedelic rock, and 90s alternative.  Right off the top, I was captivated by their song “Laura,” which evoked 'Blind Melon.' Though somewhat calm and laid-back, the song was also equally fun and energizing. Then, their follow-up song, “Ghostmouth,” conjured up 80s easy rock and had everyone bopping their heads. During their sixth song, ‘Girls’ decided to perform a guitar riff that had several people rushing to cover their ears.  They continued to deafen the crowd once one guitarist decided to use his mic as a guitar pick. Perhaps Owens’ long hair shielded his ear drums from any permanent damage, but we definitely felt it for a while. That disaster aside, two of the band’s final selections were some of my favorites: “Substance,” which Owens dedicated to fellow opening band ‘Smith Western,’ had hints of reggae. It did a nice job of taking the listener to that heightened state I’m sure they were alluding to in the song. Then, when introducing ‘Solitude,’ Owens described it as an ode to “being lonely and stuff.” After a soft chuckle, he was quick to say “it’s not all bad.” Though this was one of the more subdued songs in the set, ‘Solitude’ was especially personal and heartfelt. Owens added a nice touch by bringing out his harmonica toward the middle. It’s the kind of song you’d want to listen to while alone during a moment of reflection. By the end of the hour, the sound of applause seemed to indicate that most of the crowd had a good time. But there were those who were not that impressed.  Ian Collins, 27, came to Emo’s to see ‘Girls,’ but was disappointed by their overall performance. “I wanted them to rock out more, like ‘My Bloody Valentine,’” Collins said. His date, Anna Neal, 30, went so far as to describe the band as “sleepy, but very cheesy.” Shannon Whitaker and her husband Karl were both pleased with the set, but were not the band’s biggest fans at the end of the night. “I’m ready for the next band for sure,” Shannon, 30, said. “They were good, but I won’t buy the album.” But, toward the front of the stage, I was finally able to find a ‘Girls’ lover. “I thought [they] were really good,” said Brittany Scofield, 21. “They worked as a team very well and they were a good opener for ‘Los Campesinos.’”
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