Our Girl / Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard / Talkboy at Oporto – Live Review

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By Jack

The brutal truth is, it’s rare a gig features three bands worth writing about – but this was something of a triple threat.

Headliner Our Girl may have drawn the crowd (and sold out the venue), however they enjoyed fantastic support. TalkBoy are a six-piece but the stage would only allow three, and even they look a bit squished. Their harmonies are the best all night – perhaps owing to the semi-acoustic nature of their setup. Their vocals ring crystal clear, and the soulful ‘Dragonflies’ was an early stand-out.

They are followed by Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, so good they named it thrice. ‘Late Night City’ combines a bottom-heavy Clash sound with Jaggeresque vocal flair. Rejection of contemporary alternative sheen for the scratchy sounds and throaty vocals of classic rock is a welcome change of pace, and Buzzard are clearly moulded by the sounds of the 60s and 70s.

It’s a strong performance from a band whose only real step wrong was an excess of denim (double, sometimes triple denim in places) all in service of a denim themed song (‘Double Denim Hop’). Such an egregious act requires stronger justification.

The riffs have a brutal simplicity, but the choruses are nuanced and memorable, complimented by tricky snaking basslines. Charm, grit, hummable choruses and engaging performances – all crammed into an opening slot. Ones to watch, for sure.

At their heaviest Our Girl present as a fat-free alternative to Cream, with some wonderfully stormy guitar work without bloat or over-complication. Even when the fuzzy guitar tones are parred back, simple pinched capo chords slowly ratcheted in tempo produce a simmering tension. The riffs on ‘In My Head’ are rendered in all their heart-rending perfection.

It’s an escalation of their studio sound, which is more polite, even chirpy in places. The only downside is the heavy buzz of guitar leaves singer Soph Nathan fighting to be heard on the verses, though that could be due to a muddy mix – there are sound issues earlier in the night.

Our Girl are very much part of the ‘wall of sound’ club, and it’s hard to do shit loads of feedback without it resulting in sludge. However, they are able to balance their not inconsiderably hooks with the requisite raw guitar sounds. The end result is personal but bruising, tender but pugnacious and at times impenetrable.

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