Photo by BEN PELTA-HELLER
My best friend sits on my couch and hunts fruitlessly through Facebook for a ticket. Girlpool’s Philadelphia show at First Unitarian sold out only hours before. This is evident the moment I arrive. The air is thick. There is barely room to comfortably take a sip of your somewhat stale, cheap beer. The folk punk band from Los Angeles opens with a fuller, harder sound than I expected for people adorned with glittery hair clips, and I sweat out the boxed wine I drank prior.
On Powerpoint, the latest from singer/guitarist Cleo Tucker and singer/bassist Harmony Tividad, the dynamic duo have surpassed the pared down guitar plucking and always concise, genuine and often funnily so lyrics of their first album, Before the World Was Big. This can be pinned on the addition of a drummer and inevitable maturation that comes with time and several successful tours. They play few songs from their old repertoire, opting instead to play new favorites like “123” and “It Gets More Blue.” Clever lyrics like “I faked global warming just to get close to you” hit home and linger in your thoughts long after with a relatability and specificity that is nearly impossible to achieve. Their brazen vocals, more like speaking than singing, emphasize the validity of such lines.
I brave the sea of sweaty bodies to come around to the front of the stage and bear witness to the personability that is Girlpool. It’s Harmony’s mom’s birthday, and she asks the audience, more like a crowd of her two hundred closest friends, to sing for her. It is this kind of intimacy that pervades their lyrics and sells out their shows, and I can only hope it remains with them as their fanbase flourishes. — KEELY MCAVENEY