If you’re at all a fan of thundering drums, bare-boned guitar melodies, or touchingly poignant lyrics, you definitely should have been at the Blockhouse this past Sunday with Girlpool and friends. If you happened to be a little too busy “studying for midterms,” we’ve got you covered. Here’s a little recap of the show for you studious kids who couldn’t make it:
The night started off around 8 p.m. with the first opening act: Told Slant. Hailing from Brooklyn, this past Sunday was the first time the group had ever played in Indiana. After being given a warm Hoosier welcome, the band proceeded to fill the room with plodding guitar riffs and tranquil keyboard notes. This serene atmosphere that they had so deftly created was quickly shattered by the booming drum that the group’s front man, Felix Walworth, played with evident skill and passion. Shredding guitars followed suit, forming a pattern that was appeared in several tracks throughout the band’s raw and emotional set. Self-described as “bedroom punk,” Told Slant is set to release their first record some time next spring. If you’re into powerful tracks with sensitive lyrics, be sure to keep an eye out for this fantastic upcoming group.
Immediately following Told Slant was Eskimeaux, another Brooklyn-based band that actually includes three members of Told Slant. The lead vocalist, Gabby Smith, charmed the crowd with her sincere lyrics and delightful voice, granting their show an almost child-like innocence. During their track “Broken Necks”, the band urged the audience to repeat the chorus after them: “While you were breaking your neck trying to keep your head up / I was breaking my neck just to stick it out for you.” Endearing the crowd in a way that only call-and-response singing can, Eskimeaux effortlessly created a vibe that could only be described as unadulterated fun.
Not only is Smith a member of both Told Slant and Eskimeaux, but she is also the bassist for Frankie Cosmos, a group whose sound is truly out of this world (heh heh). Frankie Cosmos will be playing at the Bishop on November 16th– don’t miss this one folks.
After these two amazing acts, the crowd was thoroughly warmed up and 100% ready for the incredible show that Girlpool was about to put on. The female duo from L.A. walked onto the stage with nothing but two guitars and a tangible punk rock sensibility. Although their sound is characteristically simple, Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad never fail to seamlessly blend sentimental nostalgia with sometimes crude yet cohesive instrumentals. Their humble demeanor complimented perfectly the sweetly innocent and often vulnerable lyrics that they howled in tandem throughout the set. One example of the duo’s knack for poignant storytelling can be found on their track “Before The World Was Big”: “I just miss how it felt standing next to you / wearing matching dresses before the world was big.” Set against these vocals were the twangy and brazen sounds of their two guitars, the only instruments to be found onstage. The duo nearly whispered their way through “Dear Nora”, a song so heartrendingly nostalgic that it could make anyone yearn for the good ol’ days.
Despite their cool attitude, the two were as playful with the audience as they were with their instruments, making us feel as if we were simply listening to a close friend’s band play in their dimly-lit garage (with about 100 other strangers, as one does). All of these elements culminated to a bittersweet finale as the pair played “Cherry Picking”, a track that begins with rather hushed vocals but quickly builds to an emotionally-charged crescendo, ending with Cleo and Harmony nearly yelling the lyrics: “Yes I am picking cherries / I have a hard time staying clean.” With the completion of such a purely sincere show, Girlpool proves yet again two truths that appear to be fundamental to their distinguished sound: 1) that music doesn’t need to be complicated to be masterful, and 2) that you don’t need a lot of instruments to be loud.