There’s something about teenage girls that scares me but that also makes me angry that I can’t protect them.
They scare me because I know what it’s like to be a teenage girl, but unlike them, I was not lucky enough to have a band so close to age with songs that perfectly depict the angst of being alive. Especially one with two members who I can actually relate to, as someone who identified as a girl, as someone who’s no longer a girl. Girlpool is one of those bands that is already a classic, making teenagers waiting in line hours before doors, those in their mid-20s have mini-breakdowns in the crowd, and a middle-aged man scream with joy whenever they sang one his favorite songs.
That was the crowd. That was the sold-out crowd. I have been in the Chapel multiple times since it opened, but this is the second-most crowded show I’ve been to in there. The most crowded show I’ve ever been to at the Chapel was when I took my niece to see Joe Jonas’ band DNCE (which I kept reminding people of through out the night). This night, I took advantage of every bit of space in the Chapel.
I saw SOAR from the balcony, where they had TVs showing the live concert. It gave me a new angle on SOAR — I saw them the way I want everyone to see them, in a packed venue, with strangers’ heads bobbing, and them being confident and excited to just be anywhere at all. I love SOAR so much, and this show just reminded me about how excited I am about this band.
I saw Snail Mail from four different locations. From the back of the crowd, by the bar, by the exit to the bathroom, and pushed against a wall trying to make space for those who were trying to go to the bathroom. Even with uncomfortable spacing, I was so happy to finally see a band that got my attention after seeing videos of them at SXSW. They’re a band that is apparently still in their teens, but sings lyrics that make this 25-year-old cry. Of course, due to being a Pisces with depression, I tend to cry a lot, but the tears shed to Snail Mail are never something I shame. Those tears happen because Snail Mail sings in a way that fill up those dark spaces in me, and leave me at peace.Also, Snail Mail is coming back to SF in July!
When it was time to finally see the band that I’ve been calling one of my favorites for over three years, I was only behind three very tall folks. And I was stoked. I could see Girlpool perfectly between these three heads. I could hear them all around me. I stood surrounded by friends, with my eyes closed during the songs recently released on Powerplant, and screaming along to the choruses of every song, even if I was just screaming along in my head. This was the second time I’ve seen Girlpool live; the fourth time I’ve tried. This time, they were not alone on stage: They had two extra people, creating a new picture in my head of how their music could sound. One of those people was the talented Oakland local Stephen Steinbrink. Not everyone was excited to see them with a full band (aka just one douchey middle-aged dude that thought anyone cared enough about his discontent to scream it aloud. No one cares, douchee middle aged dude, just enjoy the music that you obviously like because you are singing along and smoking a joint).
Overall, Girlpool did not disappoint me. They made me laugh with their stage presence while singing what I think was “Lua” by Bright Eyes but also a jumble of other Bright Eyes songs. Girlpool is one of those bands that I’ve watched grow up, get the recognition they deserve, and I am so happy for them. I love them, and I can’t wait to see their future.