[LIVE REVIEW] GIRLI @ OLD BLUE LAST, LONDON – 19/01/2016

In an age where female-less festival line-ups and derogatory tweets seem to make headlines daily, it’s no lie that the topic of women in music is arguably more relevant and necessary than ever.

GIRLI isn’t here to put up with that shit. The London based singer/rapper/producer spent the latter-half of 2015 gathering momentum off the back off a double A-side and mixtape-cum-podcast GIRLI.fm, with the flood of online interest for her PC-esque glitch-pop apparent in the full-to-the-brim Old Blue Last. Whilst it’s Milly Toomey to her parents, she’s the bold and barking mad GIRLI persona intent on bringing the girl power and flipping the bird to anyone in her way.

The self-labelled “foul-mouthed-pink-punk” would seem a tricky tag to live up to, but it’s apparent from the get-go. Backed by close pal DJ Kitty, Toomey hurls herself onstage as both woman repeatedly scream the f-bomb, all whilst head-to-toe in neon-pink Adidas tracksuits and lingerie. The hair, eyebrows and nails are, too, all the same colour with both looking as though they got caught in a sequin factory explosion. Accompanied with set opener Fuck Right Back Off To L.A and a synchronised Spice Girls dance routine, it’s not hard to see why GIRLI won’t settle for bland, chart pop.

ASBOys boasts a confidence (“I’m gonna drop your mother in the streets”) well beyond her only-just 18 years, engaging in an onstage slo-mo fight before strangling herself with the mic wire. Girl I Met on the Internet sharpens the Charli XCX comparisons, with the title charmingly fitting for an audience who’re mostly here from stumbling across her soundcloud. It’s reminiscent of an early Elliphant show, where a chaos of beats, bass and expletive-shrieking come together to create an all-round enjoyable scene to witness.

The downside comes from the lack of material showcased. Whilst clocking in at just five tracks, the visual disappointment from the crowd only proves the buzz surrounding her is no one-off. So You Think You Can Fuck With Me Do Ya rounds off the set, sounding like the Brooke Candy/Kate Bush lovechild freestyling over a Grimes off-cut whilst an array of tampons and Durex are thrown from stage. It is, however, highly doubtable that we’ll hear Bush yelp “you thought I was gonna do a ballad? Fuck off” anytime soon.

GIRLI’s mission isn’t to provoke; she’s just here for a good time. The Katie Hopkins sampled walk-on, the multiple chants of “pussy”, the delightful “suck my clit” banner. It’s statement making but with the fun coming first. GIRLI knows what 2016 needs, with this likely to be the last time Old Blue Last is showered in pink and pads as larger stages loom.

Words by Bill Baker and photo by Lydia Smedley

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