Girls/Real Estate @ Bowery Ballroom, NYC 11/6/09

Things were different from the last time we saw Girls live, when we hosted their first NYC show at Market Hotel: near unanimous praise for one of the year’s best Albums, and a recently reconfigured lineup that saw the abrupt departure of their touring guitarist, replaced for this trek on a few days practice by Ryan Lynch aka BTW Dominant Legs. As a result the jangle-pop was jammed to a manageable tempo, the heartbeat drums dialed down to a low pressure BPM, but the songs remained the same: a batch of 13 finely tuned happy/sad gems (along with their show-closing and -stopping cover of Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You In The End“) shaped in a classic-pop mold that took the slower pace to be more dynamic and less California dreamy.

Opening were the New Jersey BTW Real Estate, who seem to be in an early slot on most every bill you’ll see in NYC these days whether you want them or not (not complaining). But this one was different: this bill was a true pairing, a linking of stylistically related bands with a thread stronger than their respective buzz to tie them together. That’s supported by Girls’ Chris Owens shaking a tambourine during Real Estate’s “Basement,” sure (the symbolic lending a hand trick, maybe those people yelling for “Girls!” through the set will shut up now), yet it was made most clear by hearing how both put their own little twists on songs that live on simple progressions and boogie bass: One band anchored by a budding nerd rock laureate, the other by shambling Budweiser and sprite dazes, but both featuring pensive inebriates who built their tracks staring down sunsets over different oceans. A setlist follows, as does Kyle Dean Reinford’s photos on the night.

Oh and also: Looks like Chris’s story checks out. Girls really are two steps in to a killer Behind The Music one day.

01 “God Damned”
02 “Ghost Mouth”
03 “Laura”
04 “Summertime”
05 “Darling”
06 “Headache”
07 “Lust For Life”
08 “Oh Boy”
09 “Heart Breaker”
10 “Solitude”
11″ Hellhole Ratrace”
12 “Morning Light
13 “Lauren Marie”
14 “True Love Will Find You In The End” (Daniel Johnston cover)