LIVERPOOL MUSIC WEEK: Girl Ray @ EBGBS
Liverpool Music Week was something I had waited in anticipation for, the first time I was going to be able to see Girl Ray, the first time the lovely trio from London (made up of Poppy Hankin on guitar/vocals, Iris McConnell on the drums and Sophie Moss on the bass as well as their touring guitarist Mike O’Malley) were heading up to Liverpool!
EBGBS as a venue is the underground type, it feels like a hidden space that only a few know about and therefore I got lost trying to find it. However, once I got the to venue, the first support Disastronauts were already in full swing; their set was vivacious and despite the fact I only managed to hear a few songs they are definitely a band to look out for. Next was Gintis, their set laid back and more relaxed, songs talking of the quirks of everyday life such as The Overdraft Song which led me to go and buy a copy of their debut album from 2011 Idiots, Guides and Plans. After Gintis were one of Liverpool’s promising and upcoming bands Sugarmen, who played a self-assured set which was filled with intense eye contact with Luke Fenlon and infectious songs from their debut album Local Freaks such as Our Gallows and AC.
It was madness to realise that halfway through the Sugarmen set, Poppy Hankin and Sophie Moss had been in the audience for the whole time; definitely the best thing about small venues.
Girl Ray opened with I’ll Make This Fun, one of their first singles from 2016, a sultry tune which set the tone for the whole of the night. Next was Just Like That, one of my personal favourites from their debut album Earl Grey, then If You Like. As EBGBS is such an intimate venue, I was within touching distance of the band and these kinds of venues make you feel as if you are the only person in the room, the songs taking on personal relevance. Poppy entertained the crowd throughout the set, exclaiming about the fact they were outside London doing a gig for the first time as well as making hilarious jokes. Next up was Preacher, a more emotional song which starts off slow yet changes suddenly in the chorus to a more upbeat yet still lyrically emotional, Monday Tuesday also following off from this vibe, with a noticeable and catchy guitar riff. Girl Ray are special since their songs are all about friendships, falling in and out of love and the notion of growing up which make their songs have all the more purpose.
Then it was Don’t Go Back at Ten, or DGBAT as said on their set list which I managed to get from Poppy herself. This song is also one of my personal favourites due to the synth and bridge section and the fact that this song has one of the best accompanying music videos I have ever seen, the band only using a green screen to create a masterpiece. Next was Waiting Ages which is one of their shorter songs, using harmonies and a simple melody with wistful lyrics, By the Lake followed on, a song which is not online but was performed with the same fervour as Girl Ray always do and was loudly appreciated by the crowd. Stupid Things, a tune, “just to feel close to you, I’ve never done so many stupid things”, a rhetoric that we can all probably relate to. Where I am now is yet another song with a beautiful music video, which is the B-side to the song that they played next and almost lifted the roof off the venue, Trouble, Girl Ray’s most well known song which was released in 2016 as an EP.
To finish their set, the band played A Few Months, which illustrates the experimentation that is within Earl Grey surrounding the bridge, with almost three distinct sections, the last section involving a girl in the first row who stood right next to me playing the cow bell!
All in all, it is true to say that you simply can’t corner Girl Ray’s sound, a mixture of 60s/ post punk could be a start yet that doesn’t even get to truly explain it. At Liverpool Music Week, they performed with tenacity and their songs were truly magical – here’s to hoping they come on tour in the North soon!
To watch one of the best music videos I’ve ever seen look here
You can also buy a copy of the very amazing Earl Grey here!