I intended to publish this last night (Friday, February 16). I was out when I wrote it and was relying on an indoor public hotspot to get it in the blog. But the hotspot was down. With the temperature in the teens and sub-zero windchill, I wasn’t going to try an outside hotspot. Delayed, but now here…
I should have taken it as a bad sign when I arrived 20 minutes before 9 only to find out they’d been rescheduled for 10! Because I still had the after-effects of a brief cold invasion, it crossed my mind to just go home and crawl underneath warm covers. But I was there and I really wanted to see them, throat be damned. Instead of going inside, though, I hiked around the area. Eejit me. It was frigid!
When I finally went back to Pianos, it was still well before 10 but I decided to go in. All of the Girls were in the front, looking nice and warm and well-fed. It turned out Pianos also did food; a fact that escaped my cold-addled and half-frozen mind during my initial encounter. I went in and paid to go to the back room where bands played.
A band called OttO Vector was on stage and I’ll be devoting a separate entry to them later.
By the time the Girls got on stage and ready, it was near 10:30. One of the hazards of live music is such time slippage.
The Girls gave it their all. But it wasn’t up to their standard-setting Bitter End performance.
Two things went awry:
1) The Girls were trying out some new moves. These sometimes interfered both with the equipment (mics went dead briefly due to being moved) and with their ability to play (Rachael trying to run in place while playing her keyboards!). I’m all for moving to the music, but some of it seemed excessive and actually hindered their playing. This is a minor point, however, and I’m sure they’ll work it all out.
2) The sound system was not set properly. This has happened before and it really hurts the sound of the Girls. There are five of them, four of which rely on the correct degree of amping to be heard well. Liz, on drums, doesn’t have this problem. They did not sound as crisp and as sharp as that Bitter End night. Several times I couldn’t hear Rachael’s keyboards and the guitars of Hannah and Sora mushed together. Also, I don’t think the mics were at the proper volume. I think it’s a challenge for sound engineers to set everything properly. I suppose they’re used to bands with four members. Five requires true finesse in sound engineering — especially since the Girls do some very complex playing. I hope the Girls will be able to take more time to get the sound levels they need.
Other than that, their energy was way up.
Sora was in her usual utilitarian tee-shirt and jeans. Hannah had a wild multicolored necktie; it was also her turn to wear something with a tear in it (I think she and Rachael alternate): 4 inches of her stockings on her upper front thigh! Liz had a lethal shirt with a skull on it (shown in the photo below I swiped from their website!). Rachael was wearing a top with soft lines. Caitlin was slinky in a red dress.
Several points stood out in their playing: The Girls have added the cover I mentioned earlier. It turns out to be “Add It Up” by the Violent Femmes. It’s one of Sora’s favorite songs and she again went into the audience to drive everyone wild. Hannah on the accordian during this number was incredible. Rachael again did guitar. During all of their numbers, I caught Liz sneaking in new drum moves, a trick she can get away with because she’s on drums (it adds to the live performance but I kept finding myself surprised — though pleasantly). Caitlin got a new bass guitar and I could really hear it, especially during a particular series of four notes she does during “Step On Out.”
Before the show and sometimes in-between numbers, Hannah would improvise on the guitar, Caitlin would pick up on it, and then Liz would join in. This just killed me (and I already felt half dead from cold, biological and weatheral) — it was incredible stuff and I wished I had something with me to record it.
Both before and after their show, I wouldn’t let any of the Girls get close to me because of this rotten post-cold condition of mine. Towards the evening my voice sounds like it’s emanating from a near-dead toad. I didn’t want any of the Girls to suffer that! I had to keep a distance and croak-shout the few questions I could remember in my germ-fogged brain.
Liz admitted to sneaking in drum moves (I hope she can continue to do so!) and to sometimes playing her drums in her stocking feet (during Bryant Park, she had a glove on her foot!). Caitlin informed me of her new bass. Sora told me the title of their cover. Hannah, who usually documents their shows with some photos, told me her camera battery had died. I didn’t ask Rachael anything as my mind was melting down by then.
The Girls were good at telling the audience about their MySpace page and new website. But Girls! You’ve got to mention the CD more! It’s fantastic and everyone should be buying a copy! Flog it! Maybe I’ll bring a cue card next time… nah. That’s too technical. I’ll just shout, “Tell them about your fantastic CD! And no one leaves here alive without buying a copy, goddammit!” OK, I’ll leave off the second part. (But I’ll think it!)
I continue to believe the Girls are going to be huge. As they were packing up, there was Hannah and Liz, both scatting to a tune being played on the in-house speakers. They’d just finished doing their own music, yet they still wanted to do more. It’s in their blood! Success and fame won’t be denied them.
The Girls will be at Pianos again on Thursday, 2/22. Unless I’ve infected them. Get yourself to Pianos. If the Girls are out sick due to me, you can stone me.
But you have to buy their CD first!