February 8, 2010 | 7:30am
The Show: A few minutes before 4 p.m., the all-female trio of Vivian Girls sat down for an intimate show inside the UC Irvine Cross Cultural Center. Guitarist and lead singer Cassie Ramone had turned down the volume on her Danelectro, opting for a cleaner, softer sound than what usually drenches the band's albums. Drummer Ali Koehler's kit had been reduced to a floor tom, snare and tambourine. Bassist Kickball Katy seemed to make the smallest adjustment for the acoustic show, keeping her Paul McCartney-esque Hofner violin bass near its usual level.
Vivian Girls started their set by asking the audience for requests, and received plenty of suggestions from a group clearly familiar with their catalog. Keeping the microphones at a distance and harmonizing their voices, the band strummed through songs such as "Surfin' Away," "Can't Get Over You," "Tell the World," and the breakthrough single "Wild Eyes." The trio's a cappella rendition of "He's Gone"--a song originally recorded by the Chantels in the late '50s--was perhaps the show's most heartfelt moment. "I'm sorry for what I have done," sang Ramone, amid her band mates' doo-wop harmonies. "Believe me, you are the only one."
Deathday Party from Santa Ana opened for Vivian Girls.
The Crowd: Despite the steady drizzle and early show time, a sizeable number of students and a few post-college hipsters turned out to see Vivian Girls and opening act Deathday Party. People stood during Deathday Party's set and a few danced to the ambient-punk band's rhythms. Later the crowd sat in a trance-like reverence during Vivian Girls' performance.
Overheard: "No," replied someone sitting close to the front, when Kickball Katy asked if there were any more song requests--which suggests he'd either had enough or wanted Vivian Girls to play "No," a song off their first album.