Live Review and Photos: Girls at Birch North Park Theater, March 2, 2012

Photos by Chris Maroulakos

San Francisco indie group Girls played an intimate, sold-out set at the historic Birch North Park Theater on March 2. The all-ages crowd consisted of the young — who formed a makeshift pit in front of the stage — and the young at heart seated behind them. Opener Unknown Mortal Orchestra complemented Girls nicely with their brand of grungy, New Zealand-by-way-of-Portland rock.

Taking to a stage accented with bouquets of flowers, Girls emerged dressed to the nines in their finest business-casual attire. Despite a couple run-ins with some awkwardly placed chairs, they played an expansive set comprised of highlights from their remarkable latest record, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and their previous release, the creatively titled Album. Although their touring group of soulful backup singers didn’t join them for this show, the band proved it could churn out infectious pop songs with or without the reinforcement.

Girls’ show at Birch made for a more intimate affair than their recent shows at LA’s Music Box, last summer’s FYF Fest, and their upcoming stints at Coachella, providing fans with an opportunity to get a little closer even though their popular momentum shows no signs of slowing.

The show began with the lovelorn diatribe to the mysterious, blue-eyed “Alex,” and the setlist included some of Girls’ moodier songs like “Vomit,” the uptempo “Laura,” the convertible-driving jam “Honey Bunny,” and the apocalyptic energy of “Die.”

The highlight came at the encore, when khaki-clad singer Christopher Owens took to the stage solo to perform the heart-wrenching ballad of lost love, “Jamie Marie.” The band joined him at the end to kick the song into gear, then transitioned into the poppy sing-along “Lust for Life.”

The show ended with the guys throwing the bouquet in the audience, which I doubt has the same significance as catching the bouquet at a wedding, but I suppose only time will tell.

Photos – Girls at Birch North Park Theater – March 2, 2012

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