Live Music + Gig Reviews

Giant Drag @ Borderline, London

10 April 2006

You’ve got to love Giant Drag. Mainly because if you don’t you clearly have no soul and I will be forced to track you down and set fire to your knees, butnevertheless, you’ve got to love them. Tonight, pitting obvious (and self-confessed) jet lag against a heroic caffeine intake (“I had a cup of tea, thenanother cup of tea, then a Starbucks – and a cup of tea, then a coke….”) , Annie Hardy was clearly struggling a bit, but she battled manfully on;sweetness and light, filth and fury, fragile, yet tougher than you.

“Fingers crossed guys, this might suck…”, she warned us before launching into the (unrehearsed) My Dix Suxs. But it didn’t. None of it sucked, and on theopening night of their first UK headline tour, we were given an uncanny demonstration of why Giant Drag are such an easy band to fall for.

Because you want them to succeed. It’s the charisma; Hardy could rattle on for hours in a totally oblivious fashion about anything (topics today includelamb and mint flavour crisps, bird flu and Kanye West), and the whole crowd would still be entranced. But while charisma helps, it really can’t hurt to have such achingly good songs: High Friends In Places comes off like The Breeders being slowly stretched on a medieval rack and the glorious hazy fug of Smashing makes us all gaze at our shoes like it’s 1991.

They know they’ve got an anthem-in-waiting with Kevin Is Gay, so they do the smart thing and keep it till the end, teaming it in an encore with an almostequally marvelous talon-sharpening cover of Wicked Game that causes every single person in the audience to swoon, but additionally makes every male take amental note to go home and check on their welfare of their rabbit.

And while those are a pair of songs of such quality to be reason enough to attend, they aren’t the only reasons to stay. Stay because of Hardy’s innate (and slightly inexplicable) magnetism, Micah Calabrese’s ability to play about seventeen instruments simultaneously, and because Giant Drag successfully find, and bridge, the gap between PJ Harvey, Elastica and My Bloody Valentine with songs of texture, density, and the strangest mix of cute and dark. Like a squirrel with a flamethrower.

Fact is, they’ll play better shows than tonight, shows when they aren’t savaging their internal bodyclock with lashings of stimulant. However, and happily for all concerned, when they do they’ll still be this stupidly charming. So for the sake of your knees, you may as well do the right thing and give in now.

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