Girl crush: defined as "an intense and typically non-sexual liking or admiration felt by one woman or girl for another," and how I would describe my adoration of funny girl Chelsea Peretti, bohemian rebel Jemima Kirke and blogger extraordinaire Jenny Lawson. As of this past Friday, it so happens I have a new name to add to the list: The Wild Romantics frontwoman Aleisha Kalina.
It was, in fact, West Coast Live's review of the band's debut album, She Could Tell, that intrigued me to have a listen, with the groovy blend of folk-rock goodness capturing my heart before the first track was through.
So when Meg called me last-minute on Friday to see if I was up for the show at Victoria's Sugar Night Club, there was no way I could miss it (not even in spite of my brief but flailing panic over having just put a chicken in the oven and needing a quick shower after a day spent foraging nettles!).
We were nervous about having missed the set as we made our way downtown, and were immensely relieved to find out the opener, Victoria's own Zoubi and the Sea, hadn't yet taken the stage. With time to come down a bit from our frenzied arrival and procure a much-needed refreshment, we were able to sidle up to the stage just in time for the first act.
The beauty of a solid opener is that it serves as a kind of warm-up, giving one the courage to start swaying their hips in time for the familiar songs. In this, Zoubi and her companions did not disappoint, winning over the room with a funky, saxophone-backed set that left us primed to boogie.
Certainly the crowd had closed in by the time The Wild Romantics emerged on stage radiated by dreamy, sapphire light, my mind exclaiming something along the lines of, "Wholly Babetown!" Duo Aleisha Kalina (subject of my newly formed girl crush) and beau Evan Miller captivated the crowd instantaneously with their crooning electricity, literally infusing the room with sparks and displaying what might best be described as poetry in motion.
The first element of any proper girl crush is a coveted sense of dress, with Kalina's backless bodysuit and satiny leggings qualifying her a true rock goddess, rivalling Joan Jett (and perhaps even Catwoman herself). As she moved and turned to the shudder of her tambourine, blond halo swinging, I longed for just an ounce, even, of her dazzling sureness. Likewise, Miller's on-stage presence could only be described as sultry, from the rakish tilt of his campaign-style hat to the suggestive gap of his partially unbuttoned shirt.
In case you hadn't gathered as much by now, The Wild Romantics put on one hell of a sexy show, their energy and passion supercharging the crowd with feverish excitement. During one point Kalina and Miller sang together into the same microphone, their bodies and mouths drawing closer and closer, the congregation practically buzzing with anticipation, until Kalina finally broke the spell by cheekily flinging her cohort's cap offstage.
It's not all about the sex, of course. One of the factors that always makes a show extra-special for me is the experience of feeling like I'm part of the performance, and I'm glad to report The Wild Romantics nailed it. It wasn't just their playful intimacy, but their ability to get the whole assembly shaking to their harmonic rhythm, particularly during their closing (and my personal favourite) song, Who Ya Foolin', during which they had the crowd shouting, "Baby, don't you think you've had enough!" Sadly, I had not, for before I knew what hit me, it was over.
Meg and I rejoined as the floor slowly cleared, gushing over what an amazing performance it was, how adorable and sexy and talented the singers were, how that microphone part was totally bananas!
We had the privilege of connecting briefly with both Miller and Kalina separately after the show, my starstruck-edness translating to an awkward gushing stream of, "That was amazing! You're amazing! OHMIGOD, AMAZING!", the rest of the time straining to hear over the din of patrons. (For the record, both are as irresistibly adorable and sexy as they appear on stage.)
With She Could Tell serving as my current favourite kitchen dance party soundtrack, I'm now on the hunt for a tambourine to turn things up a notch and practice being as awesome as my newest girl crush.