Gig Review: Girl Ray at The Bodega

Words: Maddie Dinnage
Photos: Josh Dwyer
Friday 01 December 2023
reading time: min, words

Three-piece band Girl Ray take over The Bodega for one night only, transforming our favourite indie venue into a fantasy world of funky eighties discotheque…


Walking up the stairs of The Bodega, I found myself displaced in time. One moment, I was battling the elements on a dreary Wednesday evening in modern-day Nottingham, the next I was immersed within the world of fantasy eighties clubland.

The bustling venue space was aglow with the cherry-red haze of Girl Ray’s neon sign, spelling the title of their recently released album Prestige. I was probably the youngest person in attendance, but I have zero qualms about dancing the night away with the golden oldies.


The London-based band took to the stage, complete with their effortlessly cool, retro get-up. Girl Ray slide easily into opening track True Love, artists and audience alike grooving to the funky keyboard melody. Singer-guitarist Poppy Hankin and bassist Sophie Moss breathe a sense of the angelic into the venue, producing a series of dreamy harmonies, set against a plonky electric melody. The band swiftly transitions into Show Me More, a glittering track with a twinkling cow bell rhythm, followed by the joyfully bouncy Everybody’s Saying That. 

We catch a hint of the band’s musical influence in sunshine-infused track Hold Tight, which would really strike a chord with fans of George Michael or the Four Seasons. While Easy gives way to Poppy Hankin’s plucky acoustic rhythm, bassist Sophie takes the reigns during a performance of Tell Me, as she gets hips moving with a pulsating bassline. Drummer Iris McConnell remains the beating heart of the operation, her gentle drumbeat a warming cocoon which envelopes the set.


Though they are true to their brand, Girl Ray are by no means a one-trick pony. Their latest track Hurt So Bad experiments with house-inspired rhythms, thoroughly peppered with funky electronic beats. The encore track Give Me Your Love is a little triumph, as singer Poppy transforms her once angelic vocals into something much more robotic using her vocoder, a technique which is reminiscent of modern-day club anthems.

Girl Ray are funky, whimsical, and effortlessly cool. Keep an eye out for the next time that they bring disco to town.

Girl Ray performed at The Bodega on Wednesday 29 November


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