By Flora Pick, Deputy Digital Editor
For Girls Girls Girls the night marked not only an anniversary, but a return to live performance.
All-woman art collective Girls Girls Girls opted to celebrate their 10th anniversary in Bristol’s St George’s on the 24th June. Even with a reduced capacity and ample COVID measures taken, the evening proved an engrossing event that managed to approximate normalcy, an exciting sign of things to come.
The line-up featured a diverse array of genres, all performed by women adjacent to the collective. Beginning the evening was the Bristol-based Murmuration Choir, an ensemble of a cappella voices that sliced through the air, cutting to the bone. Their act consisted of reworked pop songs, which avoided any potential veering into gimmick by the emotional resonance of their performance. Of particular note was their final number, an incredible rendition of Bjork’s ‘All is Full of Love’ that threatened to usurp the original.
Next up was co-founder of Girls, Girls, Girls and similarly Bristol-based Samantha Lindo. Her syrupy workings of signature new wave infused jazz numbers were strung together with charming banter between that effectively broke down any potential awkwardness stemming from the strange return to live music. It was an inviting tone that continued throughout the night, eroding barriers between the audience and acts, as performers intermingled with the crowd to view other’s sets.
The sense of being invited into the fold, of an all-encompassing togetherness despite the literal physical distancing required for COVID measures, aided in the group’s aim of the evening, which was as much about Girls Girls Girls activist interest as it was their artistic one. It was an intimacy that highlighted the fact that this night was, as much as an impressive array of artists demonstrating their ability and lifting one another up, a call for conversation.
While the primary focus of the evening was to fundraise against FGC in collaboration with the grassroots-focussed Orchid project, there was much discussion of the potential for more holistic social change to be cultivated through art.
Following a brief interval any potential dips in energy were immediately dispelled by Eliza Shaddad in her stewing grunge glory taking the stage. The pace was upped as she stood, defiant and alone, to create a sweeping crunching soundscape, overlaid and offset by delicate vocals.
Rounding up the evening must have been an intimating task for Beth Rowley, even with a Brit Award nomination under her belt. Even so, Rowley impressed. Off the back of Shaddad’s loud, guitar-heavy performance, she shone in her ability to calm proceedings down; her strange British Americana concluded the evening on an arrestingly serene note.
Before crowds dispersed there was a roundtable discussion between the musicians. While this was perhaps overly comprehensive in scope, with questions careening from the central focus on FGC, to climate activism, to the tragic death of Sarah Everard, there was something rousing in this wide ambition. There was an earnest belief in the capacity for art to at least partially right these wrongs. After a profoundly affecting evening, it was not difficult to get on board with such convictions.
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Already impressive performances were enhanced with the knowledge of the responsibility recognised by the artists. It turned out to be an especially prescient return to live music as it was one that recognised the vitality and potential of having a platform.
Featured image: Lizzi Goldsack
Have you been to any live events this summer?