ACL Live Shots
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Oct. 15, 2010
GirlsZilker Park, Oct. 8
With the stage decked out in flowers, Girls' set took on the aura of a bittersweet prom, accentuated by the San Francisco quintet's brand of lovelorn, nostalgic crooning but undercut by stage sound that erased most of the vocals and had the crowd raising objection even before opener "Darling" concluded. What little nuance Girls possess, mostly in the yearning vocals of recently shorn frontman Christopher Owens, was drowned in guitars, like the whispered pleas of "God Damned" and the rasping 1960s bounce of "Laura." After mushing through "Ghost Mouth," the band realized the sound board limitations they were up against and accordingly let the guitars lead the show, from the dreamy Hawaiian arrangement of "Solitude" through to the crowd-raving "Lust for Life." "Hellhole Ratrace" followed suit, flooding into a rumbling wave that enveloped Owens. Had the band stopped with the following maelstrom of "Morning Light," the early set limitations may have been forgotten, but unfortunately the sound had the final say with the muddled "Lauren Marie."