Live Review: Got a Girl at The Triple Door 9/21/15

Live Reviews
09/24/2015
Gerrit Feenstra
all photos by Brittany Brassell

Sometimes, random happenstance can lead to wonderful things - the entire existence of Got A Girl exists as a testament to this. While on set during the filming of the Edgar Wright film adaption of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead got a chance to meet Dan The Automator, who helped Beck and Nigel Godrich with the film's incredible music (among others, he wrote this gem). The two hit it off and hit the studio for a one-off recording session that turned into the extensive multimedia project seen in their debut LP, I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now. With Got a Girl, Dan and Mary create a fun, sensual, and absurd persona, taking on the form and flavor of French pop for a record chock full of unrequited love, impossible hyperbole, and even a joke or two. Now, a year after the album's release, the time has come to take Got a Girl to the stage. Tonight, the band made their live debut in Seattle at the Triple Door, with a splendid result. Got a Girl took the stage for the first time with unfettered grace and jovial fun, kicking off a tour that is bound to see more of the same in the coming weeks.Got a Girl is a project that sees a veteran producer (Dan The Automator) joining a fresh face (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in a brand new lane for an all new adventure. Sure, that makes it sound a bit like a franchise reboot, but Got a Girl is nothing like that. Dan has been in the hip hop game for almost 20 years, working with Dr. Octagon, Kool Keith, Del the Funky Homosapien, and solo, making his own records and producing for Gorillaz. But with Got a Girl, he takes on French pop without a single hesitation. The first track of the project we got was "You and Me", a song where Dan's breezy hip-hop translates seamlessly into this new arena (if you try hard, you can hear Del dropping an insane verse at the 1:15 mark or so). Then, when you add in Mary Elizabeth Winstead's soaring, sultry vocals, there's no denying that Got a Girl was a match made in heaven.

It's no surprise to long-time fans of Winstead that she has every business branching out from acting to try her hand at a record (remember "Baby It's You" from Death Proof?), but hearing it live always changes things. She holds the high registers of "Put Your Head Down" as delicately as a glass flower. She gives the low registers of "I'll Never Hold You Back" bravado and punch. Every note of tonight's performance was dynamite. It might just be the orchestral-pop context, but in a lot of ways, Winstead evokes a similar spirit as Lana Del Rey on stage. In each song, she chooses a motive, and sticks to it. In each, she is a siren with a different song - a differing voice for a different situation or a different time, but each is given the focus and individual definition of a painting. The old movies playing on the backing screen help occasionally - the graveyard romps of Harold and Maude decorate the playful melancholy of "Last Stop". But for the most part, it's Winstead with no filler taking front and center as Got a Girl's shining star.

Of course, Dan does his part splendidly too. After conducting an orchestra for Deltron 3030, here with only his trigger pad, Dan does seem a bit restricted. But he finds plenty of other things to do, mixing drinks at the table besides him and invoking plenty of friendly chemistry between Winstead and himself. On stage, the two echo the air of mystery that has remained the focus of Got a Girl's visual presentation in the videos for "Did We Live Too Fast?" and album's goofy teasers. It's a fun counterpoint that makes for a playful presentation of the band that never takes itself too seriously. It's a kind of entertainment and audience interaction that breaks the dynamic of the moment - stuff that Triple Door is perfect for.

Mary and Dan burned through their twelve song record and then encored with some additional material, some old, some new. The singularity of the Got a Girl project made the mood of tonight very low key - no song was left behind, and yet, nothing felt forcibly included. At just over an hour, Got a Girl held their welcome splendidly and then bid us farewell. While tonight's performance was lovely, I don't expect Got a Girl to tour endlessly to oblivion. Mary and Dan are both busy with other projects and always have their hand in multiple endeavors. But seeing Got a Girl live for the first time was a wonderful treat for those of us here at the Triple Door, and I think I can say with confidence that the band left Seattle with a sincere optimism for the rest of Got a Girl's first live tour.

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