Girlpool brings wistful feelings to San Francisco

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On Saturday, Girlpool graced audience members with a peek of its own at Slim’s in San Francisco. The LA-based band opened for the punk-rock band Joyce Manor at the sold-out concert, bringing levity to the otherwise heavy show.

Girlpool is composed of two members, Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad, who both sing and play guitar and bass, respectively. The band is well-known for its indie, lo-fi style — one that, on songs with more distortion, seems to delve into punk. The duo has developed a following for its quirky, charming presence and whimsical but still grungy sound.

A breath of fresh air amid Slim’s stuffy house, Girlpool took the stage after opener Dog Breath. Tucker  and Tividad were dressed in baggy T-shirts and loose, vintage jeans, with tousled hair and an air of easy confidence as they greeted the audience. They opened immediately with “Ideal World,” setting the cute, winsome scene for the set.

In the packed room, most audience members tuned in and avidly listened to the girls during their quieter set. The duo gave a shout-out to the first band of the night, asking, “How about that Dog Breath though?” to the cheers of the crowd.

For their second song, “Before the World Was Big,” Tucker and Tividad played off each other, bouncing off each other’s energy throughout the piece. Their bare, ringing guitars cut through the muggy atmosphere, creating clarity in the crowded room.

But despite the band’s undeniable talent, Girlpool’s second song made it clear that the sound in the venue did not was not properly mixed. The uncomfortable dissonance in sound was amplified by the band’s high-pitched singing. The guitars and vocals both seemed overpowering, and the balance between the instruments and vocals was never just right.

Yet, the girls made sure to let audience members know that Girlpool’s artistic prowess was not at fault. They sang “Dear Nora” without any accompaniment, leaving listeners with a haunting ending of their soft, light voices. Girlpool left no doubt in anyone’s mind that Tucker and Tividad are great at what they do.

With an effortless, relaxed manner on stage, the duo made the audience feel at home throughout the entire set. Tividad, in particular, spoke at length about California at one point. She commented on the fact that the state flower was a poppy, remarking on how random the choice seemed. Shortly after, she asked where people were from in the audience, tagging on, “We should do that thing where we yell SoCal and NorCal and everyone woos.”

Despite not having a drummer for the band’s live show, Girlpool was able to play a warm, fun set. Tucker and Tividad thanked the audience for coming and closed with “Cherry Picking,” taking their leave alongside the cheers of the crowd.

Contact Eda Yu at [email protected].