There are a few things that pop artists tend to avoid or tone down when they’re trying to be taken more seriously.: garish colours, overly-aggressive production, swearing and politically-charged songs come to mind as a few of those things.
GIRLI. real name Milly Toomey, embraces them all. As she danced her way onstage at Chapel, head-to-toe in neon pink, she looked like the personified distillation of all the things people hate about pop music. Stood on a tiny stage in front of a bubblegum pink backdrop, bass booming, infectious melodies blaring out of the speakers, Toomey owned all of it. Music is still a man’s industry, and her embrace of the aggressively feminine is as much an artistic choice as it is a political statement.
While everything about her performance looked upbeat and positive, there was a clear undercurrent of political discontent which ran throughout. Her songs—angry, energetic feminist banger ’Girls Get Angry Too’ comes to mind—clearly resonated with the mostly-young, politically-active crowd; one fan threw a rainbow flag onstage before GIRLI played ‘Girl I Met On The Internet’, which she clarified “is about this girl I fancied… because I am quite gay.” More than anything, the room felt like a safe space where anyone could—excuse the cliche—be as different as they wanted.
Though Toomey could have done more to showcase her vocals—the majority of her set was rapping/sing-talking—it didn’t necessarily work against her. She knows how to work the crowd, and the crowd was more than willing to go along with her energetic, bubbly performance. GIRLI is more than just her music, and with her unflinching charisma and stage presence, she managed to put on an impressive show.
Feature Image by Poppy Marriott