U.S. Girls Lawnya Vawnya, St. John's NL, May 24

U.S. Girls Lawnya Vawnya, St. John's NL, May 24
Photo: Adam Hefferman
U.S. Girls clearly operate under the motto "go big or go home." Their Lawnya Vawnya appearance was gloriously indulgent, with 10 musicians tearing into a string of transcendent disco-soul jams while dressed in garishly mismatched outfits (including guitarist Slim Twig in a red Kangol bucket hat). With congas, sax, and one dude whose only job was to jump around with a tambourine and shakers, it was an opulent disco spectacle.
And yet, no matter how many people were cutting loose onstage, the show was all about frontwoman Meg Remy. Fixing the audience with a wide-eyed stare, she shimmied and gyrated harder than anyone. Even when she backed off the mic during one of the many jams, she was a ball of intensity, mouthing along with her backing vocalists or silently scatting to the sax solos.
Almost without exception, the heavier and faster a song was, the better. "Incidental Boogie" injected some hard-edged funk rock into the set, while "Pearly Gates" had the swaggering hook of a '90s hip-hop banger. The energy continued to build throughout the set, as the onlookers increasingly came out of their shell and Club One turned into a full-blown dance party.
During one particularly rapturous highlight, Remy repeatedly shrieked "Have you ever danced with your soul!?" before selecting a random audience member and venturing out onto the floor for a dance-off. It was like a scene from Saturday Night Fever, only performed with the fervour of one of those religious services where people start fainting and speaking in tongues.
It was easy to imagine how the show could have been pared down, and the band could have easily approximated the arrangements from last year's In a Poem Unlimited with fewer musicians. But that wouldn't have been nearly as fun as this life-affirming celebration of disco decadence.