Auntie Annies is busy, and its new Animal Disco club night is bustling with a thriving atmosphere and thoughtfully attired crowd that's such a reflection of the band playing tonight that it borders upon pastiche.
Understandable, though, given Girls Names' story: forming in 2009 in Belfast almost by accident as a duo to support San Diego's Wavves whist barely knowing their instruments, they eschewed CD to release their self titled EP both on vinyl and as a double sided cassette, which was subsequently followed up by an album, You Should Know By Now. Girls Names make noisy, throwaway, thrift-store pop, so irresistibly short and bittersweet that it's immediately obvious why they're so deserving of the buzz that's been exciting blogs everywhere.
On stage it all translates brilliantly, with shadowy vocals echoing over a lo-fi guitar racket, whilst the band, now a trio with the addition of Clare on bass, hold themselves with an aloofness that's not disengaging, but interesting. Despite the sparse nature of the sound, it still manages to be packed full of catchy surfer-rock hooks surprisingly easy to dance to - Don't Let Me In and Graveyard are perfect examples - and with songs weighing in at only a couple of minutes or so each the set is an enjoyable half hour flash of their sharp, amicable melancholy.
With the lyrics drowning in a swimming pool of Ian Curtis-esque reverb and the slightly experimental nature of Girls Names musicianship you could easily be forgiven for thinking that maybe they were simply mislaid off a compilation of early eighties post-punk bands, but as they modestly shuffle behind their instruments to an enthused, well received audience it makes them even more of a curiosity.
Belfast isn't the obvious choice for a lo-fi, surf rock band tinged by the eighties, and although not big on the local gig scene, they certainly stand out as a band to be followed.