Live Music + Gig Reviews

Giant Drag @ Borderline, London

17 September 2013

Giant Drag Things kick off 30 minutes after they’re supposed to. There’s a guy with a mohawk in the front row. It smells very strongly of piss. Yep. It’s just like every other funeral.

But a funeral it sort of is. For this is the last hoorah for Giant Drag, a fan funded tour for Annie Hardy and two multitasking guys she met a week earlier doing driving, merchandise drums and guitars. A wave goodbye to a band with two albums (one released this year; one seven years prior), a cult status and a unshakable ability of always seeming to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Hardy references it several times. The “curse of Giant Drag,” she says. A curse destined to ensure that this tour that is “going quite well” is bound to end in an “ironic death”. At which point her new bandmates look up, worry flashing across their eyes.

Fortunately Giant Drag get through tonight pretty much intact. There’s a lot of love for Hardy and, particularly, the grungier bits from Hearts and Unicorns. Like the opening This Isn’t It, where there’s just the right amount of sweet fatalism against the power chords, or the Pixies-isms of the cathartically howling My Dick Suxs. They are distinctly likeable, but really the best bits are when she kicks everyone else off of the stage, sits at the drum kit and does an acoustic section.

She even takes requests. Although the passionate cry of “SLAAAYER” is met with a frank set of reasons why that isn’t going to happen (“I don’t know how to… It’s not in my key… I didn’t even write it… I’m trying this new brutal honesty thing, it’s not going too well”). When it is just her and the guitar – as she impressively multitasks, at points – it is dark, pained and eminently pretty, and its clear that Hardy really does have a knack of turning her suffering into something you want to hear.

It isn’t the most polished show you’ll ever see. Which given that no one knew each other last week, is probably not unexpected. As we get close to the end things get more ragged: their penultimate song, a take on Chris Isaak‘s Wicked Game, isn’t so much covered as smeared, but it doesn’t particularly matter.

After all, this is not the time. Giant Drag: R.I.P. Annie Hardy, hope we’ll be seeing you again real soon.

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More on Giant Drag
Giant Drag @ Borderline, London
Giant Drag @ Borderline, London
Giant Drag – Hearts And Unicorns