Author: Shelby Joy Leone
(All photos by Julieta Alexandra, @jjulietavalente on Instagram)
“My parents always call me after the shows to ask me… how was the feedback?” joked Cleo Tucker, one half of the original Girlpool duo. His partner in crime, Harmony Tividad, giggled, “I mean… gotta give us that feedback”. I, a music reporter, stood in the front row with my press bracelet and whispered “working on it, pals”
This was, in fact, my second time covering a Girlpool show for KXSU. The first show was a little over a year ago at the Vera Project and can be read here. Why cover the same band twice within the span of a year? Anyone asking this is clearly not familiar with the chameleon of a project that is Girlpool.
First up for the night was Claud the new bedroom pop love-of-my-life. Claud serves up earnest, catchy, and well produced pop with a twinge of somber innocence. Somehow even when they sing “I don’t judge when she’s touching me/ I don’t judge when we’re on the floor” you can still hear the lines coming out of an Adventure Time character who found out BMO can make really cool beats. Holding their hand to their heart as they delivered their tender lyrics of young love/heartbreak/shenanigans, the crowd quickly fell in love with this upcoming artist. In fact, the line to meet Claud was longer than the lines for merch at times.
Next up was the Australian dream pop juggernaut Hatchie. Not to sound too Seattle here, but took one look at her guitarist’s pedal rig and new I was about to transcend. What I could hear over the insane chorus and reverb pedals, was the sweet voice of Hatchie herself. Hatchies music brings you into a trance, swaying back and forth along with the band, and I was happy to be under her spell.
Finally, Girlpool. A year ago, the group was touring with their album Powerplant, an album that felt like the beginning of a new sort of adulthood for the famous teen duo. Critics and listeners love to note when young bands seem to be “growing up”, but Girlpool reminds us that “adulthood” is verb too. Touring once more with drummer Ross Wallace Chait and adding Patrick Nolan (who SHREDS by the way), and a synth/keyboardist who I CANNOT find the name of for the life of me despite stalking every other member of the bands social medias… Girlpool is has taken the raw vulnerability of their first releases and sharpened it with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel. They are a powerhouse, with Cleo scarcely standing still for more than 3 seconds at a time, flailing his limbs around and giving Harmony boyishly deviant smiles. The entire show gets more high energy each time I see them, with the entire band switching instruments every other song. At times it felt like perfectly orchestrated chaos. Very often the two fronts of the band found themselves face to face or back to back, as if stuck together by magnets. The nature of their Newest release, What Chaos is Imaginary, however, led to more moments of solitude than their previous releases. Tucker, for example, gets his grand frontman moment on his song “Hire”, screaming with his newfound baritone. Tividad, on the other hand, took her place on the floor to deliver the ambient and heart wrenching title track What Chaos is Imaginary about coming to terms with trauma, self-forgiveness, and healing. Her vocals are angelic, haunting and surrounded by dreamy synth.
I say this every time, but Girlpool shows are always filled with heart. The obvious love of the band members, the comradery of the crowd (which grows more and more queer with every album), Girlpool shows are like a warm hug that welcomes you home every time. Closing out the night, Tividad and Tucker took the stage for an encore of old favorites that reminded the audience of the journey we’ve all gone on with Girlpool… you know, before the world was big.
SHELBY JOY LEONE | Still thinking about how much Girlpool Shreds | KXSU Music Reporter