It’s 2022: you’re trudging through the third year of a global pandemic, the world is on the brink of World War III, and Rudy Giuliani was just featured on The Mask Singer. What else could possibly go wrong?
Probably a lot, but here’s a glimmer of hope in the darkness: earlier this year, a mysterious new festival appeared online, titled “When We Were Young Fest,” a one-day (and now after insane consumer demand, three days of the same lineup) festival was announced, featuring some of the most popular emo and pop punk bands of the early 2000s-2010s, including headlining performances from artists like My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Dashboard Confessional, and more.
As you can see, the revival of the genre is going well, thanks to mainstream artists like Olivia Rodrigo and Machine Gun Kelly implementing elements of it in their music. Here’s where LA-based pop punk duo Girlfriends comes in: comprised of Travis Mills x Nick Gross, two veterans of the industry. Formally known as T.Mills, Travis (singer, guitar) started his music career as a rapper, releasing several projects over the past ten years. Gross is the CEO of music group Big Noise and a member of ska band Goldfinger.
Girlfriends was formed in 2020 (ah, THE pandemic year), releasing their debut single in June 2020, followed by a full length album in October 2020. The project was produced John Feldmann (5 Seconds Of Summer, blink-182, The Used), and the duo performed several of these songs during their set at The Fonda this past Thursday night in Los Angeles.
It’s typical for bands that are on tour as supporting acts to not receive as much of the crowd’s energy, but that was certainly not the case for Girlfriends, who had an impressive amount of fans scattered through the floor singing along to every word of each song during the 40-minute set. There were event moments of some “opening of the pit” action with some (contained) moshing during highlights of the performance.
In an impressive turn of events, I noticed that even a handful of fans were singing along to Girlfriends’ two newest singles, “Pretty Mouth” and “Missing You,” both released this year (and as early as this past week).
Girlfriends has a couple more shows planned with Bad Suns this year and will be playing the So What Music Festival in Arlington, TX later this spring.
See some photos of the performance below, captured by Lauren Carlsey for Staged Haze.