Girli, Lucia and Zand close Etc. 2018 with glorious, wonderful chaos

See you next year?

“We should rename this sweat fest,” declares Girli as she brings the fourth and final night of Etc. to a close. And she’s got a point. Sure, it’s The Actual Hottest Day Of The Year which probably definitely isn’t helping the perspiration, but from the minute she bounds onto the stage shouting “fuck you” and careening into the sugary sweet snarl of ‘Fuck Right Back Off To L.A’, the heaving Old Blue Last gets hectic. Things have been on the boil from the off though.

Tonight is the first show Zand has ever played. There’s been other projects, other music, in the past but this is something new. Something daring. Something dangerous. There are no opening night nerves as the pair, wearing balaclavas and stomping about the stage, dive in with both feet. ‘LUCI’ welcomes in the new order, all driving circles and big movements, as the rest of the set deals in unblinking confrontation, menacing swagger and playful bite. It never looks at intimidation. They’ve only got eyes for shared experiences, inclusivity and running out of patience. Grinning and baring their teeth, they shadow box and tease the spotlight as ‘Fiends’ swerves this way and that before ‘Boys Like U’ tick, tick, booms, pelting the room with jarring electro screams and shiny pop smiles.

LUCIA have spent 2018 everywhere and anywhere. This time tomorrow they’ll be back home, headlining King Tuts after many hours of driving, but right now, this is all that matters. They’re a little bit of everything and tonight that sparkles. Their ‘Best Boy’ EP caught a band eager to be heard, but since then, they’ve found a voice that says it all. During their thirty-minute set, LUCIA are ferocious and terrifying, tender and whisper-quiet. Frank, to the point but leading the room on otherworldy adventures as they refuse to stand still or do the expected. Dynamic and daring, the best is yet come as new songs ‘Summertime’ and ‘Blue Heart’ find fresh colours to splash about the space while ‘Melted Ice Cream’ sets it off.

Tonight was only going to go one way. Girli has always managed to squeeze these huge shows into tiny rooms, but recently, her hyperactive desire to be lots of things all at once has found a determined focus. It supercharges her set, and from the very start, it’s glorious, wonderful chaos. Across ten tracks, Girli is a neon whirlwind. Bouncing between stage, crowd and sky, there’s euphoria to be found in every struggle. From shitty relationships and societal expectations to learning to love yourself and embracing the bad with the good, her pop songs swing with a glinting, relatable edge and the shining hope that you’re not alone in the battles. 

New song ‘Up and Down’ is about “mental health”, she says – “Some days I feel really, really good. Some days I feel really, really shit. Some days I feel both, some days I don’t know what to feel, and that’s okay” – while ‘Day Month Second’ is an empowering rave of forward motion. “This is going to beat Woodstock,” she pokes before the final, carnage-inducing bop of ‘Hot Mess’ brings Sweat Fest 2018 to a close. We’ll see you soon, yeah?

Words: Ali Shutler

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