Solid set from metal's favourite girls

The promise of a Girlschool gig is always exciting, and depending on whether you’re of the male or female persuasion, usually for different reasons. But the buzz is undeniable, and they don’t disappoint. Bursting onto the stage with an energy that newer bands can only dream of imitating, we hurtle through hit after hit delivered with sniper precision. Kim McAuliffe even braved the crowd reaction by announcing that the presence of her shades was due to not finishing putting on her make-up before their set was announced. Now that’s one brave lady.

We were treated to the incredible opener ‘Demolition Boys’, and straight into the blinding ‘Hit and Run’. But two songs got particularly enthusiastic reactions; first was ‘I Spy’ from their new album, which was recorded with Ronnie James Dio (whose name has been treated with a respectful reverence all weekend due to his illness), and the second was a stunning ‘Take It All Away’. As Kim reminded us, it was the first song they ever recorded. Fortunately, they still seem to remember it well.

Their set is faultless, informal, slice of gritty rock n’ roll realism detached from any of the weekend’s theatrics but determinedly connecting with every audience member. Jackie Chambers’ guitar licks are incredible, even if her choice of guitar (Gibson Flying V) seemed indefinably out of place. Drummer Denise Dufort may keep her head down in terms of stage presence, but provides her usual powerhouse approach to their all-too-brief set. More importantly, they look like they’re having a great time, so we do too.

Ending with a rousing version of ‘Race With The Devil’, the girls are dubiously honoured with a pair of distinctly used-looking underpants being thrown onstage. Half the crowd are still cheering what was a relaxed, confident gig. The other half seem to be cheering Enid Williams’ elaborate leather suit, which remarkably is still with us by the end. Don’t ever change, Girls.