On Saturday, the Girls, made up of Cyrina Fiallo, Julianna Guill, and Community star/UPROXX fan favorite Alison Brie, made their New York singing debut at (Le) Poisson Rouge, opening for bluegrass dynamos Jones Street Station. To get an idea of what they sound like, imagine the three sirens from O Brother, Where Art Thou?, but instead of seducing John Turturro with traditional folk songs, they cracked jokes in-between surprisingly gorgeous, stripped down Bruce Springsteen covers (“I’m on Fire”) and all-out hootenannies to Alabama’s “Dixieland Delight.” Guill, who appeared on Community as a cheerleader in “A Fistful of Paintballs,” possessed the strongest voice of the three, while Fiallo (who was also on Community in “Early 21st Century Romanticism”) had the deepest and Brie the most playful and eye-winking.
The highlight of the set was a re-imagining of Robyn’s fantastic “Call Your Girlfriend.” While the original is angry and bitter, the Girls slowed it down and made the song into something tinged with regret and sadness. It was a glass of whiskey on the porch alone compared to Robyn’s vodka cranberry in the club. But it was the trio’s cover of Childish Gambino’s “These Girls” that garnered the loudest applause of their set.
Naturally, I was curious to see how many people were there just for the Girls, but when headliners Jones Street Station began playing, no one left – and with good reason: they’re excellent. Led by Danny Erker and Jon Hull, they’re an old-fashioned Americana group (think jam sessions with a fiddle, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, and stand-up guitar, all huddled around a lone microphone), but with enough up-tempo intensity for a completely original sound. Instead of letting the songs drift and fade, like so many country and bluegrass acts do, Jones Street Station attacked, with howled vocals and impassioned strumming. (They were also able to slow things down, too, like during set closer “Tall Buildings,” accompanied by Brie & Co.) I’d strongly recommend checking out their EP, The Understanding (plus, they’re big UPROXX fans –they even wrote two songs inspired by Big Daddy Drew’s The Postmortal).
On the following pages are some photos from the show – and one or two backstage afterward – taken by Nadia Chaudhury. And yes, Alison is just as lovely and nice in person as the Internet imagines her to be.