Live Review: U.S. Girls, Malmö, Sweden

A Saturday night and with Lo and Multiface having put the crowd in the mood, U.S. Girls takes the stage. Rocking high-heeled platforms, hoop earrings and a leopard print jacket, Meghan Remy (U.S. Girls) simply smiles at the crowd and dives head first into one of her most popular songs, ‘Island Song’. Clearly a passionate following as immediately phones are up, taking photos and recording. Over the course of the night we shall hear songs from multiple albums with a focus on her recently released ‘Half Free’.

Despite beginning her career in Philadelphia, USA, Remy soon finds her groove at Malmö’s own Babel. The room is modestly filled but those here cheer as if it’s packed – feet start tapping and a great atmosphere is created as she makes her way to the front of the stage for ‘New Age Thriller’.

Making unwavering eye contact with those of us near the front, Remy delivers a strong and powerful rendition, with an almost damning sound as she sings ‘even though you want me to, I still won’t give it to you’.

The tempo slows down for ‘Rosemary’ as the room begins to heat up and the jacket comes off. Things get intimate as Remy makes her way into her crowd singing, accidentally knocking over a man’s drink in the process prompting a few laughs and a little “whoops” from Remy, the first thing she’s said all evening; but the man seems not to care as she takes her place next to him. Now facing the stage (and her backup singer), and with the mood lighter after that little mishap, the beat speeds back up for ‘Overtime’.

Remy returns to the stage for ‘Window Shades’, ‘Navy & Cream’ and ‘Sororal Feelings’, all of which wonderfully lead on from one to the next. The dark lyrics and heavy, calm sound of ‘Sororal Feelings’ have us all in a trance as Remy acts out the emotion of the song. For this one the best spot in the venue was certainly up-close and personal, something with which Remy seemed more than comfortable.

‘Damn That Valley’. A raw feeling to it as Remy looks out the window, the music taking over and heads starting to rock. The best song of the evening, the beat too catchy to avoid. The piece ends with the desperate line of ‘That’s the valley that took my man from me’, followed by the loudest cheer of the night so far. A clear favourite.

After a pause Remy abruptly announces “we have just one song left”. As ‘Woman’s Work’ begins Remy seems to get lost in herself and the music, turning to the wall. Every now and again she bends a little low and we’re all given a revealing look at her (perhaps too) short cut dress, but the music soon recaptures our attention. The repetition often employed by Remy is like a mantra that you can’t seem to shake, not that you’d want to.

Again, little is spoken with just a “thank you” as she exits the stage. Though it isn’t too long before the cheer of the crowd brings her back out for a final two songs, ‘Incidental Boogie’ and ‘28 Days’. Before she begins she asks the crowd for some help opening her beer, suggesting “that lighter thing” when no one has a bottle-opener to hand. The bartenders seem like deer in headlights for some reason; perhaps intimidated by her short hair and overload of confidence.

Remy finished the evening with a simple “thank you, goodnight”, before doubling back for a moment to thank the audience member who solved her beer conundrum. The untalkative ending summed up the event’s verbal interaction with the audience, she seemed to prefer being physically close than making conversation; but her periodic smirks and energetic nature were enough to keep our eyes glued to her (and her questionable wardrobe) as she sang. Overall an impressive performance in the intimate space provided – the perfect atmosphere to match the honest nature of her lyrics.

 

The night’s set list, as it happened:

Song: Island Song
Album: U.S. Girls on KRAAK

Song: New Age Thriller
Album: Half Free

Song: Rosemary
Album: Gem

Song: Overtime
Album: Free Advice Column

Song: Window Shades
Album: Half Free

Song: Navy & Cream
Album: Half Free

Song: Sororal Feelings
Album: Half Free

Song: Damn That Valley
Album: Half Free

Song: Woman’s Work
Album: Half Free

(Encore) Song: Incidental Boogie
Album: Free Advice Column

(Encore) Song: 28 Days
Album: Free Advice Column