Live Review: Girlpool, The Buoys, Egoism

16 September 2019 | 3:38 pm | Alasdair Belling

"[V]ulnerable yet somewhat cathartic."

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There’s something that feels almost secret about a small club show on a Sunday night. It’s the time of the week where most people are winding down, charging a glass of red at home on the couch and enjoying some Great British Bake Off before getting an early night.

For the 200-odd punters who packed out Sydney’s Lansdowne Hotel for Girlpool’s visit, however, it was a special occasion, an opportunity for punters to find other people who appreciated the same almost-underground brand of grunge-pop.

Supports The Buoys and Egoism had their work cut out for them when it came to engaging a crowd on a Sunday evening, but both acts fulfilled their obligation with aplomb. Egoism sounded particularly wonderful with their dreamy brand of indie, while blooming rock quartet The Buoys, while maybe not all that similar musically to the headliner, were impressively tight.

Forgoing a drummer, Girlpool took to the stage as a duo, impressing their audience immediately with the opening strains of Lucy’s. Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad’s harmonies were magical, and the stripped-back renditions of What Chaos Is Imaginary cuts Stale Device, Hire and Chemical Freeze easily transitioned from slacker-grunge jams to existential reflections.

The telekinetic chemistry between Tucker and Tividad was noticeable, with down-to-earth banter about Robert Pattinson transitioning into fan favourite 123 with just a raised eyebrow as a cue. This was a duo who have played hundreds of shows, but still felt the weight of every note and melody. After teasing the crowd with some lines from Meat Puppets' underrated psych-folk jam Plateau, the duo closed proceedings with a tender rendition of Pretty, a kind of haunting lullaby. 

Stripping away the drums and distortion might not have been fans’ preference before the gig, but it felt that this, the two masterminds by themselves without any pomp, was the band in their truest form. The show was vulnerable yet somewhat cathartic – just the way Girlpool fans really like it.   

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