Girl in Red surfs wave of euphoria at Regency Ballroom

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Theo Wyss-Flamm/Senior Staff

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A Girl in Red show is incomplete without chaos and crowd surfing. 

The 23-year-old artist, otherwise known as Marie Ulven, is notorious for her exuberant antics, engaging hordes of concertgoers in grand schemes that somehow aid the intimacy of her set. Though The Regency Ballroom swelled with more than one thousand people on her sold-out show April 12, Girl in Red treated audience members as if they were a group of tight-knit friends at a slumber party, rather than listeners liberated by her lulling lyrics. 

Following a dreamy set by opener Holly Humberstone, Doja Cat’s Planet Her flooded the auditorium, pumping the venue with exultation before girl in red leapt on stage, ardently spewing the lyrics of “You Stupid Bitch.” 

Sprinting from side to side of the stage, girl in red entranced the crowd, fueling concertgoers with dynamic zest. Nodding her head with each vibrating bass note, Ulven reveled in the venue’s lively ambiance before pulling out all the stops to make her final San Francisco show of the If I Could Make It Go Quiet tour the best one yet. 

Her simple baggy white t-shirt and jeans sustained the show’s casual quality. Though Ulven’s upbeat demeanor charged the venue with dazzling verve, she interacted with her fans as if they were some of her closest friends, kindling a relationship backed by a heart-rending soundtrack. 

Embedding silly anecdotes between each song, Ulven disclosed snippets of her life to fans in ways that revealed her humility. Whether admitting to her imposter syndrome or discussing her mother’s recent undertaking of a Pomeranian puppy, she continually spoke to the audience as if they were childhood friends catching up with her latest frivolous endeavors. 

While performing angsty songs such as “Body and Mind” and “Serotonin,” she jumped around the stage, flipping her hair and inflecting her voice with unbridled glee. Despite perturbing lyrics that recount her internal qualms, Ulven’s voice was infused with mirth, inviting the crowd to unleash their own intrusive thoughts with her.

Doused in mesmerizing golden light, she slowed her set down with “We Fell in Love in October.” The sultry spring weather didn’t detract from the song’s frigid fall atmosphere. As audience members raised pride flags in the air, the venue entrapped warmth, crafting a safe, supple atmosphere. 

“Bad idea!,” however, ushered in what many would consider a slew of bad ideas: moshing and crowd surfing galore. Looking out to the crowd, Ulven stood at the very edge of the stage, ready to dive into a sea of open hands and outstretched arms. Jumping into the audience back first, fans eagerly caught her mid-air as she continued to belt the song’s angst-ridden lyrics. 

Yet, her spontaneity didn’t stop with surfing through swarms of spirited fans. With a burgundy hat on her head, Ulven grasped her guitar and jammed alongside her band with a brief instrumental intro of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy.” With no explanation, she quickly uttered, “ ‘Bad Guy’ riff at Girl in Red concert means giving away burgundy hat,” sparking screams from fans as she tossed her hat into the crowd. 

Prior to her final song of the night, she and her band rejoiced in the impulsive hijinks of the tour, noting their desire to test out a moshing tactic called “The Wall of Death.” Dividing the crowd in half, Ulven explained the logistics of the trick: Once the audience split, the two halves of the crowd would rush at each other during the beat drop of “i wanna be your girlfriend” to form a giant mosh pit. 

Naturally, Ulven participated in the bedlam, running through the middle of the gorge to guide audience members together. Jumping up and down with vehemence, the two halves congealed, prompting immutable cacophony. 

Running back onstage, she frantically held up an iPhone that was lost during the mosh pit, kindly asking its owner to return to the stage after the show. “It’ll have to be later though because we’re not f—ing done yet!” she exclaimed, spinning around as vibrant red lights transformed into glaring, sporadic spotlights. 

The pandemonium of the night, thus, made the return to the outside evening San Francisco air much more difficult. Like bidding adieu to an old friend, leaving a Girl in Red show behind meant wistfully holding onto lavishly lacquered memories, suitable to recount when the world goes quiet.

Contact Sarah Runyan at [email protected].