Girls storm Asia


POSTED: Friday, October 09, 2009

The Vivian Girls: Heralded and reviled in mere weeks, thanks to hipster trollers on the Internet.

A Brooklyn band just two-and-a-half years old, the trio of guitarist Cassie Ramone (nee Grzymkowski), bassist Kickball Katy (nee Goodman) and newest drummer Ali Koehler had to find fan love afar — specifically in Japan and Australia — before heading back to the states. In order to cut down their long flight (and lucky for us), they decided to spend a week off on Oahu and then play a show tonight in Chinatown.

The band is touring behind its sophomore studio album, “;Everything Goes Wrong,”; a noisy if bracing affair that occasionally mesmerizes with its lo-fi mix of punk, shoegazer sheets of guitar noise and 1960s girl-group pop harmonies.

“;We started out wanting to play short, fast and loud,”; Ramone said by phone on Monday, soon after finishing their gig in Sydney, Australia. “;Everything under two minutes. We come from a punk place. The shoegaze sound came about because we wanted our fans to get lost in the music.”;

As for the haters that came down on the Vivian Girls so soon after being anointed as a buzz band, Ramone said that “;I think a lot of negative attention came from that we weren't playing out of friends' houses anymore and thought instead we were playing much bigger stages.”; Anyway, she blithely added, “;we can't control things like that when they happen. There seems to be enough people out there that like our band.”;

The gals certainly found that out during their completed jaunt through the Pan-Pacific area.

“;Almost every show in Japan and Australia was sold out,”; said Ramone. “;In Japan, people were asking for our autographs, which was a total ego boost. It was great seeing and playing in these places so far away from our home.

“;The response made us feel that we have a purpose in playing our music.”;

The Vivian Girls have been a busy bunch, reportedly playing around 300 shows since the band's inception.

“;Me and (original drummer) Frankie Rose were just acquaintances when we started the band. She was actually good friends with my roommates. We all got into the habit of eating brunch together every single weekend, and that's when Frankie said we should start our own band, since her other band was on hiatus. In Brooklyn, it seems everybody's playing music with one band or another.

“;As for me and Katy, we're old friends, and when her other band went on hiatus, too, she was the obvious choice to join Frankie and I,”; Ramone said.

“;From our very first practice, obviously we were very sloppy, but it was really fun as well. From the get-go, the chemistry between us was pretty obvious.”;

While Ramone and the band had fun recording “;Everything Goes Wrong”; in a California studio in just eight-days' time — “;we used all analog equipment and engineer Mike McHugh is a genius of the garage rock esthetic”; — Ramone said she keeps it simple with her onstage rig.

“;I use only one pedal, an overdrive that goes through a reverb amp,”; she said.

The band will play a handful of older songs, along with some from the new album, in tonight's set.

“;From the latest album, we enjoy playing live songs like 'Can't Get Over You,' 'Walking Alone at Night,' 'The End' and 'When I'm Gone',”; said Ramone.

And considering how well this tour excursion west has gone so far, Ramone remarked, “;we're obviously excited to be playing here in Hawaii.”;


On the Net:





In Concert


Vivian Girls with local opener Painted Highways


» Where: LOFT Gallery and Lounge, 115 N. Hotel St.
        » When: 9:30 p.m. today
        » Cost: $20 (18+)
        » Info: 521-8008 or hsblinks.com/vb