photos by P Squared Photography; words by Bill Pearis
Vivian Girls @ Baby's All Right 3/2/2014
Vivian Girls played their last two shows over the weekend in Brooklyn, saying goodbye at Death by Audio on Saturday (3/1) with Waxahatchee and Juan Wauters; and then Baby's All Right on Sunday (3/2) with Potty Mouth and Shellhag. Pictures from Baby's All Right are in this post.
Cassie Ramone, Katy Goodman, and Ali Koehler all have their own bands (The Babies, La Sera, Upset) which they have seemed more invested in than VG lately, but as one of the bands central to the Brooklyn DIY scene of the late-'00s, I really do think it was as much an End of an Era event as the closing of 285 Kent. (Whether you liked them or not. I did.) I went to the DbA show which, personally, felt like the real last show, as some of Vivian Girls earliest gigs were there and really embodies the spirit of the band. Vivian Girls hit most of their best-known songs (apart from "Where Do You Run To?" which was written by original drummer Frankie Rose), with not too much sentimental talk, though Goodman did say "I'm not going to cry" before launching into "All the Time." All three were in good moods, as was the crowd who coaxed a two-song encore out of them. But as they climbed out through the little window in DbA's stage wall, waving goodbye, it was definitely a little bittersweet. Video from DbA is in this post.
For their actual last show, Baby's All Right was decorated up with balloons (maybe leftover from Indie Pop Prom), and drummer Ali Koehler's mom was there as was former VG drummer Fiona Campbell who delivered shots to the band onstage. Ali's mom, Cassie's boyfriend, and DIY show promoter John Rambo also all came on stage at the end for a group hug. Pictures from Baby's All Right are in this post, and NYC Taper was there who'll have audio up over his way sometime soon.
Meanwhile, Pitchfork posted a feature article titled "When I'm Gone: Why Vivian Girls Mattered" today by writer Jenn Pelly:
Perhaps tellingly of that flash-in-the-pain indie pop era, when bloggers were all hungry for the next MP3 that would put them ahead of the curve, many of [Woodsist/Captured Tracks Festival's] other billed groups would subsequently fail to scratch the subterranean cultural consciousness. But across three LPs--2008's Vivian Girls, 2009's Everything Goes Wrong, and 2011's Share the Joy--Vivian Girls helped to architect a scrappy Spectorian sound and spirit for this tiny musical world; with their richly harmonized love-punk, they fused the 1960s aesthetic of girl groups with fast-loud Ramones rock and the doomy Portland punk of Wipers and Dead Moon....The feature also gets quotes from Pains of Being Pure at Heart's Kip Berman, Kathleen Hanna and more. More pictures from the Vivian Girls final show -- including one of the setlist -- and a video from DbA, below...
...while it's up for debate whether Vivian Girls were the most aesthetically exemplary band of the 00s noise-pop boom, it is without question that they were its most divisive.
Vivian Girls - "All the Time" and "No" @ DbA 3/1/2014