It’s strange to see seating plans and table service on the floor at a noisy punk gig. Such was the arrangement for Bullet Girl’s sold-out, socially distant show at the Button Factory on this Monday night. The group have been on our radar for some time now so naturally, with the knowledge that their live shows are already stuff of renown, we jumped at the chance to see them in the flesh.
The Dublin-formed (and now, London-based) quartet walked on stage to the strains of Heat Wave by Martha and the Vandellas, tossing painted balloons into the crowd. “Let’s get this party fucking started”, said frontman Aaron Doyle, right before the Motown soul gave way to screeching feedback, pounding drums and fuzzed out bass, throbbing in time with the flashing blue and gold lights that beamed from the stage.
The band thrashed relentlessly through their opening couplet of The Hunt and Whacked before Doyle downed his guitar for Panic 2020, delivering his lyrics like a preacher speaking in tongues or a Northside Fred Schneider convulsing from electric shock. Doyle and guitarist Dylan Keenan darted back and forth and from side to side like caged animals, undeterred by the necessarily forced reservedness of their audience.
At the midpoint of their set, Bullet Girl treat us to some new material. If these tracks are to be included on their upcoming EP, it’s bound to be a belter. These tracks best showcase what makes the band so appealing. Discordant guitar stabs speed up before settling into a post-punk death disco stomp. Jarring guitar riffs that shouldn’t work together but do are wrapped tightly around a solid rhythm section. Bullet Girl’s music is as catchy as it is jagged and angry – angular, and addictive.
Doyle takes a breather to shine the stage lights on his audience and take in how “fucking delicious” they are before launching into set intended set closer Concrete Bed, the looped effect on its closing refrain (“A line / A bump / A shot / A smoke”) really driving home the point of the insanity that the cycle of addiction can cause. However, the proverbial “one more tune” chant brought the lads back out to play their grungy shoutalong Dog.
“You have no idea how good that is to hear”, said bassist Tony Keyes before cracking on with the band’s last number. We share that sentiment. Bullet Girl will spend the early parts of next year on a tour of the UK and Ireland. Catch ’em if you can.