Vivian Girls – Bristol live review

Posted on 21 July 2011
By Samantha Maine
  • Share:

Punk is dead. Johnny’s selling butter and Iggy has resorted to giving us car insurance quotes. Who’d have thought the merry men of sucking it to the man would finally cave in and save up for their retirement.

Thankfully, the Vivian Girls gave the crowd at The Fleece in Bristol something to shout about. With three albums under their belts, this punky trio arrived in the West Country to prove all is not lost.

Support band ‘An Axe’ fail to excite, as their confused genre hopping leaves the crowd to give a very slow applause at the end of each song. With vocals reminiscent of Nick Cave and a splash of Interpol and Joy Division thrown in for good measure, you’d think this Bristol quartet could conjure up a decent tune or two.

Sadly, the guys play to a crowd flinching at every squawk and squeal with their efforts of creating dark and twisted tales failing miserably. A tiny teenage girl even covers her ears in hopes that the Vivian Girls will save us from this Doomsday.

And here they are! The band take to the stage and the room already washes over with a different atmosphere altogether. Excitable kids rush to the front, ready to hang on to the monitors for dear life as they viciously bob up and down.

Hailing from Brooklyn, Cassie, Katy and Ali have been making a storm on the indie circuit since 2007. Full of punky attitude yet exuding delicate girlish beauty, their mixture of psychedelic influence, floating harmonies and irrepressible rhythm proves that the Vivian Girls are a mixture for success.

The girls kick off with ‘Never See Me Again,’ a gritty lo-fi offering, portraying the painful aspects of love and loss. This theme continues throughout the set, which is not to say that each song isn’t unique. Like fellow indie punksters Best Coast, Vivian Girls manage to express the woes of relationships in such refreshing honesty.

Drummer Ali plays makes for an impressive work out, as even her sweat drenched locks can’t stop her from looking bad ass. She bangs with unfathomable consistency and as she glances to the crowd, a cheeky grin solidifies her enjoyment.

Katy, responsible for bass, has a face that butter wouldn’t melt. She sways and saunters across stage showing off her floaty dress and finger skills. Shyly thanking the audience between each song, this girl proves you don’t have to be a monster to create awesome rock tunes.

Ali’s relentless talents combined with Katy’s impressive movements along the neck of the bass create the perfect backdrop to the raw lyrics of each song.

Lead vocalist Cassie’s bed head hair mirrors her feisty approach and you know that this girl is here to rawk! Her understated and slightly off tune vocals only adds to the Vivian Girls charm. Who’s to say you’ve got to have a voice like Mariah to make a statement on the music scene? Ahem.

Finishing off with ‘Out for the Sun,’ bassist Katy leaves the stage of her own accord to rock out with the audience. Much to their delight, they jump and hop around her like excitable puppies at feeding time.

A fantastic set, with a sultry yet tough exterior, Vivian Girls are a touch of class to the music scene.

Photography by Samantha Maine