Girls Names at Whelan’s Saturday 03rd October 2015

It’s been quite an ascent for Girls Names. From humble beginnings in Belfast, they’ve progressively grown, garnering international attention along the way. Previous album, ‘The New Life’, firmly put them on the map and there has been huge anticipation around ‘Arms Around A Vision’. Girls Names don’t oversaturate themselves with gigs around Dublin, so when they do announce a show, it’s worth making a beeline to, especially as ‘Arms Around A Vision’ is an album ready-made for a live setting.

A Girls Name gig is a tempest of tightly controlled noise. It’s edgy and taut from the opening bars of Reticence as its coiled dissonance was unleashed. For Girls Names it was like a dam bursting and a surge of rushing water enveloping all around. Guitarist Philip Quinn was spasmodic, contorting and jerky in motion before settling into the gig. With Girls Names it’s about the collective rather than individual showmanship.

A Hunger Artist set the early tone, urgent and rapid. New songs like Dysmorphia and Chrome Rose reverberated with manic intensity. The only older song in the set, Hypnotic Regression was shorn of its sleek understated album produced sheen and was much more jagged live.

Each of the individual band components were like the vital signs on a medical heart rate monitor. Gib Cassidy’s metronomic drumming, Claire Miskimmin’s rumbling propulsive bass, the aforementioned Quinn and Cathal Cully on vocals were all cacophonous, vying for attention but at the same time never overshadowing each other. In medical parlance, Girls Names were in rude health indeed. Nothing was going to stop proceedings not even a malfunctioning mic during Reticence where Cully simply grabbed a mic from Cassidy’s drum kit and carried on.

If the set was lots of mini tremor’s then Zero Triptych was a full-on earthquake – eventually ending in an extended wailing squall of noise. That could have sufficed for a fitting ending, but that instead was left to I Was You to ring out, a song without any fat and devoid of musical excess.

Philip Quinn’s leather jacket was adorned with the slogan “Born To Fail”, but there wasn’t the merest whiff of failure about this gig. Instead, it’s the sound of a band confident in themselves with that unmistakable burning desire to succeed.

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