live review // goat girl at citadel

Photography: Andy Hughes, Fanatic 

 

The sun burned high in the sky as Goat Girl took to the stage – adorned with artist Edie Lawrence's monstrous cartoon-faced, goat-esque humanoid sculptures. For a band whose members are mostly in their early twenties, they have had a lot of experience playing live, particularly following the launch of their debut self-titled album earlier this year. They don’t have the on-edge cockiness that sweats from many young bands given significant industry ‘hype,’ but more a sense of calm confidence that doesn’t need lots of desperate chit-chat to hold their onlookers’ attention. 

 

Despite the tent resembling a large oven, they seemed cheerful stepping onto the stage. The audience braised in their own juices, as the World Cup Final played on a screen outside. Drummer Rosy Bones picked up a pouch of tobacco launched at her from a friend in the crowd, and they began with ‘Burn the Stake,’ a song based on an anti-Tory protest chant. “Build a bonfire, put the Tories on the top, put the DUP in the middle and we’ll burn the fucking lot,” they bellowed into the ears of nice, middle-class festival goers. 

 

 

 

 

The band was originally made up of Bones on drums, singer and guitarist Clottie Cream, bassist Naima Jelly and L.E.D. on guitar, but they have recent additions of Georgia Ellery on violin and Calum Armstrong on synth who each bring their own brilliance to the lineup. The inclusion of the bands’ new members is a marked eye roll towards the publicity they initially received as an ‘all-girl guitar band’ from the ‘South London scene’ – both phrases that cause the ears of panting music journalists and money-loving industry opportunists to prick up, as they’re so easy to package to consumers.

 

Yet, despite much media furore, Goat Girl are anything but easily categorised. Their music veers between intense sarcasm, comedy and anger, political engagement and apathetic ennui. Sonically, they have certain elements of The Raincoats, as well as band-proclaimed favourites The Country Teasers, Violent Femmes, PJ Harvey and Pixies. Moreover, a sense of collaboration and mutual appreciation for each other seems to be evident. With this in tow, their sound has evolved into something more exciting over the past few months.

 

Their songs are mostly under two-and-a-half minutes long, and they move through them with energetic ease. Many of these tracks have a sense of impending doom too, which seems more obvious, somehow, in sweltering 30-degree heat. ‘Viper Fish,’ a song about the end of the world that moves between lilting vocal harmonies and stamping chants of “Duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh” is followed by the danceable ‘Cracker Drool,’ and then the echoey ‘Slowly Reclines.’ Most recent single, ‘Throw Me a Bone’ is sung with a beautiful, powerful rawness, followed by ‘The Man,’ a patronising but affectionate song that gets the crowd dancing again. This is proceeded by ‘I Don’t Care’ parts 1 and 2 – separate songs where the latter descends from breathless, repetitive vocals to a crescendo of humming, into a cylindrical guitar riff.

 

Photography: Andy Hughes, Fanatic

 

 Goat Girl with track 'The Man'

 

Photography: Andy Hughes, Fanatic

 

 

 

Part of their charm is that there is often deadpan delivery to their passionate, angry lyrics. About halfway through, they play ‘Creep.’ Lyrically, it’s a response to being perved on. The repeated moan of “I want to smash your head right in” echoes darkly around the tent. The combination of disgust and despair in this song might ring true with the band’s female listeners. There is an onslaught of unnecessary and unsolicited opinions that women get pelted with from all directions every single day. Goat Girl draw light to this, whether that be through their songs or via social media. Take the internalised misogyny they recently received via Twitter after playing on Later … with Jools Holland, for instance. ’You should really wear a bra if you are a female drummer! #goatgirl,’ tweeted @JHolt1107. But they handle it well. In half-anger, half-amusement, Rosy Bones muses back, ‘The constant focus upon the appearance of women needs to stop, whether it be a musician, politician, student, etc... If someone is comfortable in their skin, then that is a great thing. I PAID GOOD MONEY FOR THESE, I'MA FLAUNT 'EM.’

 

Ending with crowd favourite and debut single, ‘Country Sleaze,’ the band leave on a high, venturing into the heat of the day in the same way they entered – with little chat or bravado, but lots of self-assured poise.

 

 

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