Marie Ulven also known as, girl in red, is one of the biggest stars in the recent bedroom pop craze, especially for young queer people. Her music is quintessentially bedroom pop. It’s lo-fi, dreamy, and the lyrics are simple, repetitive, and relatable; you can easily imagine her songs on a soundtrack to a teenage romcom. From Oslo, Norway, girl in red has grown to significant stardom within a few years. I had the pleasure to see girl in red and Claud on the last stop of their tour for a sold out show at Moroccan Lounge in Little Tokyo.
Claud opened up the show to a packed room of eager fans all by themselves. Nevertheless, their smooth, sweet voice and the creative production behind their songs kept the room engaged. Claud even played a brand new song with a catchy chorus in which they sang, “I wish you were gay,” which in my opinion is a much better rendition of the title than Billie Eilish’s “wish you were gay.”
When waiting for the next set, fans were chanting, “girl in red! girl in red!” Finally, Marie ran onto stage. Her personality is loud and charmingly awkward and goofy. She wore a shirt that she excitedly proclaimed has an image of her friend’s “coochie” on it. Then, the band kicked off the show with “4am” a bouncy, energetic song that is--ironically--about not wanting to go outside. Which is characteristic of a lot of girl in red’s songs. Although her music is soft and feels intimate, her live shows are animated and lively. During every chorus of every song, the band and the crowd were jumping wildly about; there was so much energy in the room. Girl in red doesn’t have a very big discography. On Spotify, there is one EP and a handful of singles. It was very easy for the crowd to get enthusiastic about every single tune like “girls” and “summer depression.”
Marie mentioned that she had only been playing with her current touring band for 1 year. However, they put on a fantastic show. The whole band had such great stamina; Marie and the other instrumentalists were running around the stage and jumping up and down the entire set. Even so, girl in red was dynamic. The band mellowed down for “Watch You Sleep” which gave Marie and the crowd a somber moment. She whispered, “I don't ever wanna leave/ I'll watch you sleep/ And listen to you breathe,” as fans sang along.
Between songs, Marie accepted gifts from fans such as fan art, letters, and many, many rainbow flags. One rainbow flag had a flamingo painted on it so Marie joked, “It’s a flamin’ gay!” She was a master at quirky, hilarious banter and even gave a shoutout to a fan’s friend who couldn’t make it to the show.
For the finale, they played “i wanna be your girlfriend”--a huge fan favorite. The crowd went absolutely insane. By this point, my voice was hurting from screaming all the lyrics, but I didn’t let this stop me. In the last chorus of the song, Marie leaps into crowd. Every fan rushed towards the center to catch her. When she got back onto stage, girl in red finished the song with a dazzling outro as lights flashed colors of the rainbow. It was a fantastic, prideful gay experience. The small, 275-capacity Moroccan Lounge was hot, sweaty, and filled with exhausted breaths.
Girl in red is returning to LA at The Teragram Ballroom on her “World in Red Tour” in September. If you want to scream your little gay heart out, I suggest you get tickets now.
— Natalie Lee, Staff