I've seen a fair bit of Girlschool over the last few years and it has to be said that they sound better today than they ever did throughout the 80s when their popularity was at its height. Often hailed as pioneers for women in rock music they were one of the few bands at that time that were as hard as their male counterparts and that puts them in good stead for a performance at Hard Rock Hell festival.
If they didn't already have it they quickly earn the respect of the crowd with solid riffs and musicianship coupled with an engaging stage performance. The set is great and they never let the tempo drop from start to finish. They are joined on stage by dancers, fire stick twirlers and people with angle grinders sending showers of sparks all over the place (& unlike Vixen's earlier set it works for Girlschool!). The guitars are loud and Denise Dufort's drums are pummelling, Jackie Chambers lead work in particular is impressive but it's as an overall package that they work best. Kim McAuliffe's vocals are as gritty and purposeful as they ever were and somehow they manage to avoid sounding dated, testament perhaps to the strength of the material?
The highlight (for me at least) comes with a storming version of 'Screaming Blue Murder' that goes some way to reminding you why Girlschool made such an impact back in the male dominated haze of the early 80s. It might be 2am by the time they finish but tonight's set seems to have woken up alot of people as they leave to a great reaction. Girlschool will probably never really blow you away but you can't help but respect them and their performance tonight is top drawer.