Is it loud enough? Girls Names Live in Sofia

Man, how much I love short gigs. No endless bills, no ‘let’s leave the people drink for two more hours before the bands start so the club owners are happy’. I’d rather have just a few quick chats with my friends, see an hour-long set and then fuck off to a rainy Friday night walk to wrap up another busy week. That’s exactly how last Friday, October 7, went. Indioteque is surely one of our favorite promoters in the city so we’re always on the looks for the shows they’re setting. When you need a good fix of post-punk, hipster indie rock or whatever weird genre mashing band you can imagine – they’re your crew.

This time we got Girls Names, a post-punk band from Northern Ireland. I honestly didn’t really give that much of a listen before the gig, just saw a few videos, read a couple of reviews and decided to let the music do the rest. We’re at the venue around 9 pm and the show starts almost right away. Girls Names play everything you’d expect from a post-punk band. Hard hitting minimalist bass lines, eclectic drums and raw, but catchy guitar melodies, which are sometimes escalating into heavily effected a-la Sonic Youth textures. If there’s something you wouldn’t expect in a band of the genre were the vocals. Not hackly, low and tight as you’d expect, but more stretched, mid ranged and with a more of an indie rock vibe. Still not sure if I like it or not, but was surprising for sure.

Maybe tonight the band members were a bit tired, maybe that’s the way they feel and look on stage, but they didn’t seem to be enjoying their set too much. That’s why somehow I couldn’t manage to get lost inside their music like I needed to. Most of the time the set felt more like a playlist than a glimpse in somebody’s messed up music world.

‘Is it loud enough’, their frontman asked while strumming the opening chords of an older song. We were now heading towards the end of their show and that’s when they actually went for a few longer and wilder songs. Through lengthier build ups, repetitive vocals and punchy post-punk climaxes Girls Names managed to end this show the right way. These final tracks and the encore piece were actually how I expected them to be during their whole set – by looking fully immersed in their sound and actually loosing it a bit so we can do the same and sink deeper. Still, it was a well-done show and a night more than well started.

Angel S.

Freelance journalist and full-time copywriter from hell. Playing ambient & drone music as Mytrip, teaching Sound Art, booking shows with For The Kids & Amek Collective. Always in for a cup of coffee.