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Concert Review: Giant Drag

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Northumbria University, Newcastle

She may look like the cute bookish wallflower from next door, but Giant Drag’s Annie Hardy has the kind of mouth you wouldn’t kiss your mother with. “I’m on my period,” she drawls, by way of introduction, to a largely oblivious teenage crowd here for headliners The Cribs. Like “Hello, Newcastle” would’ve hurt.

Giant Drag may currently be better known for flirting with controversy – their most talked about song is the confrontationally titled ‘You Fuck Like My Dad’ – but the music is a gloriously hellish racket that’s part My Bloody Valentine slo-core, part shimmering West Coast pop. Comprising Annie Hardy (guitar, vocals) and Micah Calabrese (drums), the LA duo, whose debut album Hearts And Unicorns has just been released in the UK, make an odd couple. Micah sports standard indie fare – skinny jeans and T-shirt – but is practically mute, while Annie’s decked out in big-cardiganed librarian chic that belies a particularly caustic wit.

When she introduces “a song about my 40-year-old boyfriend,” it’s not until halfway through a hauntingly affecting lament to doomed relationships that the nagging familiarity finally clicks. Strip away the layer of sonic grime and Annie’s nasal banshee wail and underneath it’s a deceptively brooding reading of hideous, car-flogging AOR standard “Wicked Game.”

To the uninitiated they may sound like a rag-week student prank, with their desire to shock and the comedy cover versions, but on the melodic sneering drone-pop likes of closer ‘Kevin Is Gay’ it’s clear Giant Drag are far from a one-joke band. Period.

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About Greg Smyth

  • I have to pick up that album. “YFLMD” is pretty badass.

  • Mickey

    I’ve had Hearts and Unicorns since it came out in the US months ago and been to thier concerts. Lead singer Annie is laid back, beautiful and has a great wit and voice. Micah may be “mute”, but not his work on the drums and synth! What’s not to like??

  • Mickey, by no means am I doing Micah’s contribution down. Totally agree with you. Going back to see them tomorrow night!

  • excellent band, love the album, not a bad song on there!

  • RELIC 1963

    About the Top 100 unsung heroes of guitar.. Paul Gilbert,Howie Hubberman,Brian Setzer,Earl Slick,Mike Cambell,et all.are not strangers to these lists!! I’m from San Franscico,and I’ve heard all these players live,,THEY DO RULE !!!! Relic 1963

  • Barfly Frankie B

    Top 100 All time according to Rolling Stone Magazine. Tom Verlaine , Earl Slick ,Howie Hubberman, Brian Setzer, what do they all have in common? All from New York originally,All Vintage Guitar Guys. And all a bit nutty !!! Which makes for their unorthodox style. All are Monsters in their own way. Frankie B.

  • Paul Decker (Buffalo)

    Howie Hubberman had the most incredible guitars at the time..His shop was frequented by,Kiss,Joe Perry,Tom Verlaine, Cheap Trick,Billy Shehan,Jaco Pastorious,Chuck Mangione,Kim Simmons,Lou Reed,Steve Miller,Bob Seager,Boz Scags,Steve Marriot, Brian Setzer…Howie moved to Los Angeles in 1978,,And the music died…P.D.