September Girls At The Grand Social – Review
Dublin garage pop outfit September Girls are the latest local heroes of noise pop in Ireland. Having been active since late 2011, the last year has seen them come through the ranks considerably. Now veterans of the Irish festival circuit and gig scene, they’ve stepped up massively with their second album, Age Of Indignation. Launching it in the Grand Social, the bar is set high for this support band turned headliner.
Fierce Mild showcase their high gain groove pop before the main event, and it goes down a treat. The 3 piece are a powerhouse, and get the crowd hopping with tunes like ‘Small Talk’ and ‘Not Broody’. The harmonies are perfect, and slick baselines that would make Mani blush are hard to ignore. The lyrical content is average at times but the feel is impeccable.
After the band themselves set up, the lights dim and an eerie instrumental kicks off the set, with hushed whispers and piercing synthesisers washing over the crowd. Drummer Sarah Grimes arises to the stage last, providing enchanting and distorted vocals before taking her place at the kit. Now settled in, the band crack through tunes old and new, barely taking a breather. The tightness of the band is phenomenal, with the rhythm section standing out most notably. They never falter throughout the whole gig, and even prove to be the superior singers of the group.
It’s refreshing to see this band take the spotlight for a change. While always popping up on happening gigs, it’s nearly always supporting a bigger act. Any speculations that they would fail to deliver are put to bed with huge performances of tunes such as ‘Green Eyes’ and ‘Black Oil’. The latter is especially exceptional, with the guitar and vocal harmonies supporting the explosive energy of bassist Paula Cullen sublimely. In fact, Cullen’s performance over the course of the evening is flawless. Easily boasting the finest and most energetic vocal, stage presence and instrumental skills, there is nothing to fault.
The set highlight comes via new album opener ‘Ghost’. This instant classic showcases the monumental sound the band have discovered and evolved into recently. Their post punk gloom has met a more psychedelic/shoegaze blend of pop, somewhat reminiscent of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and it’s rather epic.
The set is short, but an appropriate length nevertheless. Many new tracks feature, so any more would be difficult to digest at once. After a bit of confusion about an encore, the band admit they have no more songs and gingerly saunter off stage.
While tonight’s performance was by no means perfect, it was one hell of a display. Newer, more powerful tracks are definitely an improvement over the earlier ones, and stylistically, the group are on to a winner. Minor flaws do stick in mind however, with some of the vocals sometimes getting in each other’s way. Even the awkwardness of their entrance/exit onstage is memorable. These however, are very minor gripes in what was otherwise a massively entertaining show. With a few more tours of headline experience, this band will undoubtedly get the recognition they deserve as garage pop heroes.