Low and behold! What a great surprise it is to see Jarvis Cocker spinning the tunes and creating an electric atmosphere before Goat Girl stalk onto the stage at the 100 Club. With moody red lighting bouncing off their fresh faces, their poised drummer is the band mascot – a demonic goat sculpture staring down at us all.
In a hazy glow, the set commences with “Burn the Stake” which has a dark, underground sound and vocals that are all too reminiscent of a nasty hangover. Their performance has an air of bored nonchalance, however their precision and gentle harmonies that rise and fall in perfect synchronicity on tracks like “Creep” and Cracker Drool indicate that there has been some intense pre-prepared effort involved in their performance. Indeed, they all maintain concentrated eye-contact with one another throughout to ensure that their set is incredibly tight and that their composure does not slip.
Creep is about the kind of weirdos you meet on public transport that always seem to single you out as the one to hone in on. Their lyrics “Creep on the train with his dirty trousers stain, Creep on the train I want to smash your head in” seem tongue in cheek when accompanied by the poppy guitar rhythm. The drums build to a crescendo and perfectly segues into ’The Man’, a jumpy fast paced crowd pleaser, and the men next to me are sandwiching each others faces between their hands yelling in time “you’re the man for me”! The bass line interweaves between twangy guitar solos and drawly lyrical phrases. This perfect grunge-pop fusion has an infectiously danceable beat and everyone in the audience can’t help but bob along.
Goat Girl’s songs oscillate between full throttle indie rock, packed with fitful stops and starts catching us off guard and laid back half speed lazy syncopated beats, on tracks such as ’Slowly Reclines’. The swollen bass lines float along like a beach ball on a glittering sea and for a moment everyone seems lost in their own heads.
The band continue with this sleepy tone on “Lay Down”, which has elements of Americana, sounds of the deep south and swamp rock. The soporific timbre of lead singer Clottie Cream’s voice, coupled with the hypnotised look on the tambourine player’s face has cast a sleepy spell over the audience. The band themselves stare blankly at the back wall as they perform, as if they are automatons gifted with a beautiful musical talent. They look so disengaged with the situation, it is almost as if they could be mid-rehearsal and that the audience are not there at all.
Perhaps this aloofness was established while cutting their teeth in grimy South London boozers where try-hard acts are not tolerated, or perhaps the novelty of performing has already worn off during their two year history. Their music is an odd dichotomy between sun tipped skipping guitar melodies which slide into airy harmonies in a Warpaint-esque haze and bitter, hateful lyrics delivered in an emotionless tone. This however, is a tried and tested formula for most of the songs in their set and has certainly been a success story in terms of the widespread love they have received for their debut album.
Their acknowledgement of the audience extends only so far as introducing the name of a couple of tracks and saying “thanks” at the end of their set. Their self assuredness comes across as blasé, and certainly this is what has created the aura of ‘cool’ and earned them a reputation as one of the bands of the moment. This coupled with their image, which is an unmistakably current, art school, oversized yet understated look has made them grunge anti-style icons and lets not forget that this is a Fred Perry Subculture event so image does play a part. Much like the hipsters, musicians and industry-types that make up the audience this evening, they look like they have stepped straight out of the ‘90s, except for the fact that they are too young to really remember any of the decade itself first time round.
The group rounds off their set with “Country Sleaze”, whose bass line is like a slowly grinding version of Nirvana’s “Blew”. Their dry wit and sarcasm is exposed in the contrast between their lyrics, dealing with self-loathing and embarrassment: “Im disgusting, I’m a shame to this so-called human race” and their deadpan delivery hinting to nothing of the sort.After a whirlwind 2018, the band’s next live date will be in the new year at the Rockaway Beach festival in Bognor Regis, which takes place 11-13 January.
Words Charlotte Evans
Photo’s Jeff Moh