Photo by Kacie Tomita
The first time I saw Girlpool was at Slim’s in San Francisco. I was there to see Joyce Manor, but when Girlpool came on as their opener, I fell in love. The band didn’t have a drummer back then, so the only ones on stage were Cleo Tucker (guitar, vocals) and Harmony Tividad (bass, vocals). Both members adorned colorful turtlenecks, little girl’s barrets, and their instruments. They each stood still behind their microphones and demanded to be payed attention to—and I payed attention. “Before The World Was Big” struck me is an unapologetically female anthem of nostalgia, while “Cherry Picking” was a show stopping moment of vulnerability. Girlpool’s signature harmonies are haunting and serve as an aural emphasis of their lyrics. They are songs that sound as if they are made to be screamed along to and I happily joined in. Their energy was intense and addicting and I’ve been a fan ever since.
Both Tucker and Tividad are obviously aware of how to perfectly mesh their voices together over their intricate plucked bass and guitar lines. The mixture of high energy anthems and soft ballads whispered over quiet guitar makes them the perfect balance of the masculine and feminine. While the crescendos of harmonized screams is reminiscent of the more masculine side of punk, their lyrics remain beautifully delicate. Girlpool breaks the kind of boundaries punk sets for women by design. Men, traditionally can scream their lungs out and be called a gifted vocalist. Women, however, are pressured to sound pretty. Girlpool takes the reckless screams of punk men and does it better than they ever could. They refine it. Girlpool dares to whisper their lyrics, and then suddenly, go full speed ahead into mindblowing guitar solos and screamed choruses. Their harmonies and rounds are musically smart and well executed, and the heart of what they are singing is always on full display. There is a vulnerability, longing, hurt, desire, and youthfulness that draws listeners in.
Photo by Kacie Tomita
There is no right way to be a “girl” (cis, trans, and nonbinary femme alike) or to be a female musician. Girlpool unapologetically represents a mixture of masculine and feminine energy that ultimately comes together to create something beautiful. Cleo Tucker actually identifies as nonbinary and uses the pronouns they/them.
You can find more information about Girlpool playing Saturday, February 24 @ The Vera Project here. This all ages event is SOLD OUT. If you were lucky enough to snag a ticket, doors open at 8:00 PM and the show begins at 8:15 PM.
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