When I arrived at the Subterranean in Chicago for an early 6 p.m. show, I was surprised to find out Girlpool had sold out the venue.
The L.A. punk duo has been touring off their debut album Before the World was Big. Although they get labeled as a punk band, the band discards aggression and anger for minimalism and funny, honest songwriting about life, relationships, and what it’s like being women still too young to even buy a drink. The jangly guitar and bass intermingled, and the high pitched harmonies from Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tivdad were in full effect. I was surprised to hear how closely they sounded compared to the album.
Cleo and Harmony played an upbeat set that had a nice mix of songs from the new record, their debut EP, and a couple new tracks as well. During “Dear Nora” the duo had the crowd completely transfixed. Subterranean was completely silent except for the vocal harmonies during the track’s ending. The two new songs Girlpool played fit into the setlist seamlessly with more distortion than usually, but still with the short and simple song structure Girlpool is known for. Throughout the show Cleo and Harmony were giving charming health tips on the benefits of flossing, warning the crowd of the “dastardly” flu going around, and encouraging the crowd to get a good night’s sleep. Girlpool seemed just as surprised as I was that they sold out the show, even with Cleo mentioning, “Every time we play Chicago, you blow our minds.” The crowd received a surge of energy from the final two tracks as Girlpool shouted their way through “Cherry Picking” and “Paint Me Colors.” The band received enthusiastic applause from the younger, mostly female crowd with many staying after the show to meet the band at the merch table.
— gaby sant'anna (@goobyofficial) October 14, 2015
1. Ideal World
2. I Like That You Can See It
3. Before the World Was Big
4. Dear Nora
5. Crowded Stranger
6. “Untitled” (New Song)
8. “Soup” (New Song)
9. Plants and Worms
11. Cherry Picking
12. Paint Me Colors
Follow T.J. on Twitter at @HaveUHeardThtNew