Review: A Rowdy Hometown Crowd Helps Close Out the Horsegirl and Lifeguard Tour

There is something unquestionably nice about seeing an all-ages show that truly encapsulates the ethos of "everyone is welcome." Thalia Hall this past weekend was packed full of little kids likely seeing their first show, seasoned concert veterans, rowdy teenagers ready to let out that extra bit of energy before summer goes away, and everyone in between. It was a great showing for the lineup of hometown bands, Horsegirl and Lifeguard, who themselves are teens or barely in their 20s. The Matador Records labelmates shook Thalia Hall's floors with sets that had the crowd moshing as hard and rowdily as they possibly could.

This was especially true during Lifeguard's insanely energetic set. Playing songs off their recent EPs Dressed in Trenches and Crowd Can Talk, the three piece of Isaac Lowenstein, Kai Slater, and Asher Case were astounding. Their songs are full of punk rock explosiveness that is matched by their deft playing and onstage aura. Case and Slater jammed out, jumping in the air just the right moment to get the crowd going wild while Lowenstein thrashed down on his drum kit. The band fed off the animated crowd energy, prompting Slater to address the younger members in the crowd, "If someone older is blocking you, don't be afraid to ask them to scoot out of the way".

Adding to the let's have some fun vibe the band exuded, Lifeguard brought out Gigi Reece of Horsegirl, not to initially play an instrument, but for a test of mental fortitude and dexterity: solving a Rubix Cube. "If they don't solve it, Horsegirl isn't playing" announced Kai Slater before he and the rest of the band dove into a song all the while Reese maneuvered the cube in their hand and the crowd moshed as crazily as ever. Seconds before the song ended, Reece raised their hand with a finished Rubix Cube in the air and the crowd surged with cheers. It was a moment of joy that stood out in a set full of them.

As the lights dimmed and "The Boys are Back in Town" blared over Thalia Hall's speakers, the crowd's momentary calm came unglued. While Horsegirl's sound may be a little more laidback than Lifeguard's all out sonic blast, you couldn't tell the difference from the crowd reaction. Nora Cheng, Penelope Lowenstein, and Gigi Reece had everyone moshing and jumping as hard as they did early in the evening. "Electrolocation 2" kicked things off and things only got better from there as they played nearly the entirety of their debut LP Versions of Modern Performance.

There just seems no stopping Horsegirl as they teased they're working on a new album and even played a few new songs. I think it's safe to say that Horsegirl's future looks incredibly bright as these songs were my personal highlights of the night. Full of more ethereal and almost anthemic moments, these tracks really focused on some vocals that were tied together with their mesmerizing instrumentation. The crowd seeming to be as completely enamored with one of the new tracks as I was when they began to add their own yells of "Hey" as the band exclaimed the track's mantra of "Say what you want to say".

While the new songs were the highlights of the first half of their set, their second half was held on the shoulders of Versions of Modern Performance. The driving guitars of "Anti-Glory" and "Homage to Birdnoculars" definitely hit the spot, riling up the crowd. Just like Lifefguard before them, Horsegirl brought out drummer Isaac Lowenstein to play tambourine for a song, although no Rubix Cube shenanigans were at play. "Beautiful Song" and "Billy" hit another set of high spots with their almost meditative lyrics before the end of their set.

But of course with a crowd so devoted there would surely be one more song at the end of the night. For that faithful final song, Horsegirl returned to the stage with Lifeguard in tow. This being the final show of their tour, they were going to go out on a bang with an idea they all came up with between tour stops. All six musicians came together for a cover of the Stone Roses' "I Wanna Be Adored". There was a swell of emotion as the lyrics of "I don't need to sell my soul, He's already in me, I wanna be adored" echoed in Thalia Hall and you could tell these bands were truly adored.

All photos by Julian Ramirez.

Picture of the author
Julian Ramirez