This Girlpool article was written by Lorna Gray, a GIGsoup contributor
Crowds had gathered early at Manchester’s Deaf Institute for an intimate night of lo-fi sounds. LA quirky and alternative girl duo Girlpool are set to take the humble stage tonight, and with young teen fans dressed so hip they wouldn’t look out of place in a Topshop or Urban Outfitters swarm in order to get a spot near the stage.
First to take the stage are local support Cop Graveyard. The duo stand opposite each other and smile before plunging into their first song, slow strums of guitar and wailing vocals captivating their audience. Lead singer Elliot looks like he’s come straight out of the 90s as he sports a cap, rolled up vintage jeans with and a “no broz” tshirt tucked in. He sings passionately while vigorously strumming at his guitar throughout. Drummer Cal stands as he hits his half drum kit with a force loud enough to match Elliot’s shout-y vocals and punk style guitar. This pair are clear pioneers of DIY indie rock and manage to create a hell of a noise for two people.
Hailing from New York, solo singer songwriter Quarterbacks is next to perform. Jangly riffs are accompanied by folk-style strums of electric guitar and literal lyrics and seem to go down a treat with the audience who are not only applauding and cheering after his unique, unstructured songs, but also at absolutely everything dorky but lovable singer Dean Engle says. “I had a really nice cheese platter today” he awkwardly exclaims into the microphone, which is followed by a few woop’s from the crowd. In keeping with the lo-fi and alternative theme of tonight’s gig, Quarterbacks sound is distinctive to say the least, as Dean’s somewhat subdued voice sings lyrics that tell a story, only to leave the crowd confused and wondering as the song ends abruptly.
As Girlpool step on stage to set up their own instruments, a young and trendy audience can’t contain themselves as cheers fill the small space of the venue every time either Cleo or Harmony grace the stage with their presence. When the duo strap on their guitars and begin to play. It’s obvious the warm reception from and gratitude of the Manchester audience means a lot to the pair, as their shared smiles fail to go unnoticed. “I love your hair Cleo” one fan shouts out as Cleo blushes and thanks them – which just highlights the intimacy of this gig. The pair shriek through a back catalogue of lyrically lovely melodies with perfect harmonies, including ‘Emily’, ‘Cherry Picking’ and their title track from their latest release ‘Before The World Was Big’, and an enthusiastic audience either mouths or shouts back every word. The stripped-down guitar and bass arrangement echoes effortlessly throughout the attic room and proves that no drums are needed to keep up these perfect rhythms and riffs. The pair even swap instruments in between songs to show that not only are they girls who can play their own instruments well, but can also play each others instruments just as well. It becomes incredibly inspiring to see so many young and impressionable girls looking up to these talented female musicians with admiration and hopefully aspiration.