Are you suffering from a textbook case of Post-Concert Depression after Thursday night’s Girlpool show? Were you wondering what could be better than an Aural Wes review to let you relive said show? Did you also come up with the answer of TWO Aural Wes reviews for the previous question? Put away the ice cream and read on for a better cure to that PCD than Netflix has been providing you.
So far this semester, there's been an abundant amount of live music on campus, both from campus bands and visiting acts. However, the performances of Beverly Tender and Girlpool proved to be clear stand-outs within this expansive sea of musical talent.
Thursday night at ArtMuho gifted me a perspective on music culture at Wes of which I had previously been unaware. My original intention was to jam out to Girlpool with a friend, but since she was dying from the WesPlague, I dared to go alone. While this may not seem like such a feat for many of you, it was incredibly intimidating for me. The rather small, intimate nature of the venue made it difficult to simply just experience the music, without feeling some compulsion to socialize. Despite being alone and faced with the challenge of having a 9 a.m. the following morning, I cozied up and braved the solo, incredibly cold and sober walk to ArtMuho. The moment I arrived I immediately felt sort of out of place, but in a comforting way. Everyone was socializing and buzzing around, giving off an incredibly warm and energetic vibe.
After a short while, Beverly Tender came on. Within seconds the duo of Molly Hastings ('17) and Tristan Munchel were able to capture the attention of the audience through their messy and playful performance. Although these two have not been playing their respective instruments for more than a few months, they both seemed incredibly comfortable with the sound they were creating. Beverly Tender creatively mixed lyrics about dead dogs with sloppy drum beats to form an edgy sound, somewhat reminiscent of 90s grunge. In fact, whilst discussing what drug would pair best with Beverly Tender, two concert goers settled on heroin (which is not necessarily a recommendation I would endorse).
Once Beverly Tender closed up their rather short set, Girlpool began to set up and prepare. Cleo and Harmony of Girlpool are two very cool girls. Prior to the show, they were mingling with Wes students and grooving to Beverly Tender. However, once they began to play, their music commanded the attention of the audience. The incredibly raw, real and powerful sound of these two girls seemed slightly threatening, but more in the sense that they were determined to relay their message to everyone in the room. While they went all out when needed, Girlpool was also able to carefully hold back for certain songs, creating a balanced and thoughtful performance. Aside from their talent as performers, the other incredible aspects of Girlpool are their obvious chemistry and gifted songwriting abilities. Harmony and Cleo write about a variety of issues such as gender, equality, sexuality and self-expression in a relatable and powerful manner. Their attitude and bravery as such a small, all-female group is important to rock music culture, which is traditionally dominated by men. Overall, I couldn't imagine having spent my Thursday night anywhere else. Although I knew nobody there, the music drew everyone together, and created a pleasant, energetic, and unforgettable vibe.
-- Kelsey Gordon
Originally from Philadelphia, Girlpool (or as they are likely known by their friends, Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker) are two girls in their late teens based in LA whose blend of relatable lyrics and infectious guitar riffs proved to the sizable crowd that assembled in ArtMuho on Thursday night that the two don’t need any man (or drummer, for that matter) to put on a killer punk show.
Wielding a pastel blue bass that was almost as long as she is tall, Tividad exuded rhythm—from her own bobbing movements to skillfully strummed notes that listeners could feel echoing in their bones. Tucker, who looks like a cross between the cute Raggedy Ann doll you might’ve had as a kid and the ultra attractive and cool alt princess that you saw in the airport that one time and envisioned spending the rest of your life with but probably didn’t actually speak to, was equally skillful and involved throughout the set. Both women’s presences (in musical as well as human terms) were tangible to those in the adjoining room, and were likely felt even by those in the kitchen who weren’t planning on attending the show. Tividad and Tucker were dressed in some (likely) thrifted sweaters over patterned button downs, pants that were rolled up at the ankles, and what appeared to be red suede boots and dark brown leather clogs, respectively. The only crime against fashion committed by the duo was that they managed to make the aforementioned look cool.
With vocals that ranged from careful, soft crooning to ear-piercing screaming and lyrics that name dropped cherry picking and rain in Seattle, Girlpool were easy to love and almost impossible to hate. Their set was short and each of the dozen tracks they played were as well, which left audience members demanding more and led the group to perform an encore Radiator Hospital cover. The songs were multidimensional and engrossing, incorporating variation in vocals and tempo but still remaining cohesive wholes. Perhaps most importantly, the duo weren’t fazed by anything, from audience members talking over their slower musical moments to sound and volume adjustment issues to a cord coming loose, remaining polite and graceful throughout the show. Overall, ArtMuho and its audience were truly blessed by Girlpool on Thursday night. Their uniquely angsty-yet-adorable punk was sure to have knocked some visiting Bean Boots off.