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THE VIVIAN GIRLS/DIRTBLONDE/WAITERS @ THE RUBY LOUNGE 17/07/11 – REVIEW BY PHIL KING

The Vivian Girls seem to like Manchester because tonight’s gig at the Ruby Lounge will be their forth visit in the last two years. Still it’s also true that Manchester loves the Vivian Girls because once again a sizeable crowd has turned up to see them play. 2011 has been a busy year for the Vivian Girls with two of the girls, guitarist and lead singer Cassie Ramone and bassist Katy Goodman working hard on side-projects The Babies and La Sera respectively, as well as releasing the bands third LP to date, the very wonderful ‘Share The Joy’ If that wasn’t all, the band have a new occupant on the drum stool in the shape of Fiona Campbell who’s joined the band after Ali Koehler left to join Best Coast.  Now the band have embarked on a world tour which if nothing else shows that Cassie, Katy and Fiona are not adverse to hard work.

Preceding the girls on this damp Sunday evening was Waiters and DirtBlonde; both groups in their infancy, and, in the case of the DirtBlonde, showing lots of promise.  The crowd suitably entertained the Vivian Girls take the stage and open with a trio of tunes that point in all directions of their career so far. They begin with ‘Never See Me Again’ from eponymously titled debut, ‘Can’t Get Over You’ from ‘Everything Goes Wrong’, and finally, “I Heard You Say” the first single from latest long player ‘Share The Joy’ Though a lot more aggressive sounding live than on record, it obvious from this opening salvo that guitarist and lead singer Cassie Ramone has an enviable talent for penning a memorable tune. With the everybody now suitably placed in the palm of the Vivian Girls hands, the band break into ‘The Other Girls’ from the new LP; a song that is rapidly becoming the bands signature tune.  Lasting for an epic, for the Vivian Girls anyway, six minutes, it’s a song that sees them taking all kinds of chances and shows off all that’s great about the band. Especially surprising is Cassie Ramones’ extended guitar solo that weaves brilliantly between Katy Goodman’s solid basslines and Fiona Campbell’s forceful drumbeats. It’s evocative of the new LP in general in that though they’re using the same building blocks to make their music, for this new record they’ve decided to shake things up and assemble them in a new and exciting way.

 

Much to the pleasure of the packed out Ruby Lounge the girls air more-or-less everything from ‘Share The Joy’ though their careful to balance out the new work with some jewels from their previous two LPs. And it really is a beautiful sight to see the crowd gradually respond to the Vivian Girls judicious use of power and passion and stop resisting the urge to dance.       

For an encore, the girls return and waltz effortlessly through ‘All The Time’  and ‘No’ from the first album, then finally left everyone on a high by playing a faultless version of ’Out For The Sun’ from the second. It’s not hard to understand why the people of Manchester have taken the Vivian Girls to its heart when then play concerts like this.  For me it’s now four great gigs out of four by this wonderful band, and I can’t wait for the fifth.  

 Setlist:

Never See Me Again
Can't Get Over You
I Heard You Say
The Other Girls
Wild Eyes
Take It As It Comes
Lake House
I Won't Be Long
I Have No Fun
Vanishing of Time
Death
When I'm Gone
Sixteen Ways
Before I Start to Cry
Tell The World
All The Time
No
Out For The Sun

Review by Phil King
Photos/video by Mel