Fresh off the release of their third (and undeniably most polished) album, Vivian Girls took to Muddy Waters this past Tuesday for a night of punky, harmony-filled indie-rock goodness. Kicking off the evening’s festivities were fellow lady-fronted noisemakers No Joy, who took it upon themselves to quite literally blow the roof off our favorite Haley Street haunt. With amps cranked up to 11, the Montreal-based quartet dished up a loud, distortion-heavy set of cuts off their debut, last year’s acclaimed Ghost Blonde. Like its recorded counterpart, No Joy’s live show is all about the volume, and kept blasted, it makes the sad songs hit harder and the hard songs feel downright assaulting. It also makes for a seriously rocking time.
As expected, Vivian Girls’ set was a fast and ear-smacking endeavor, punctuated by older tracks and brimming with new cuts from last month’s Share the Joy. And share they did, giving us sunny, buoyant pop via “Dance (If You Wanna),” hints of ’60s girl groups by way of “Take It As It Comes,” and surfy guitars and three-part harmonies on “Heard You Say.” In turn, the packed house ate it up, shimmying, shaking, twisting, and bouncing along to frontwoman Katy Goodman’s high, warbled cries. And despite craning my neck for more than an hour in order to catch sight of it all, the show made for one of those magical nights at the Mud, when the band and their set far exceed the expectations that come with small venues.