17/09/13: Giant Drag + Big Cosmos + Mise En Scene
After a long and shitty day at work where nothing goes right the last thing you feel like doing is leaving your house to go a gig on a miserable, rainy Tuesday evening. I weighed up whether or not it was worth leaving the house for a few minutes but then decided to pick myself up and head out into the night because sometimes, just sometimes, it’s worth it.
So that’s how I ended up here standing in the middle of a Soho bar with half a pint of water on a school night. I can’t even commit fully to being broke and sober. Only half a pint please I might change mind. I’m here for only one reason though and that’s to see Giant Drag who are in the UK for the first time in seven years to play a farewell gig. I mean if you wanna grace the same stage as this kind of band on the same night then you have to know you’re in for a tough ride.
Anyway back to Giant Drag and their brief return to the limelight before they enact a planned implosion. Giant Drag started life in 2003 when singer and guitarist Annie Hardy was introduced to drummer Micah Calabrese by her mother who worked with him. The band gained notoriety for their jokey song titles, 90s influenced riffs and love of a good cat solo (I always say if you can’t meow it, it isn’t a good solo). After releasing their debut album Hearts and Unicorns in 2005 the band were tipped for success but seemed to disappear. In between then and now Micah disappeared to who knows where, Annie was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and after releasing the Swan Song EP in 2010 Giant Drag, which now consists only of Annie and session musicians, released a long awaited sophomore album Waking Up is Hard To Do this year.
So Giant Drag are back tonight as a three piece who Annie met a week earlier when she stepped off the plane in London and they practiced all of two times together before hitting the road. You gotta love that. But back to the start, to Mise En Scene who opened up tonight’s show in very shiny sequinned outfits. The Canadian band played cute, indie pop songs that definitely made me wanna look them up in the future. I have now and really love them. They did end their set by jovially shouting “Thanks Newcastle… I mean London”. Clearly they’re good for laughs as well as tunes.
The second band were Big Cosmos. What can I say about Big Cosmos. I mean, they played in time, they were tight, they didn’t fuck up so I guess they’d be worth your money if you paid to see them. Thing is they just didn’t move me.
So that take us to Giant Drag. Annie and the band waltzed on stage, them looking slightly nervous but on it and her with a electronic fag hanging out her mouth making immediate jokey conversation with the audience. The went straight into ‘This Isn’t It’ and ‘YFLMD’ and it was like they never left. Everything sounded heavier, more intense, more present. ‘My Dick Sux’ was just as raw as it ever was and ‘Wicked Game’ is still one of the bast covers in music history and I stand by that claim. Annie went on to say that she really couldn’t explain fully then and there what’s happened in the last seven years but gave us hope that this wouldn’t be the last we’d see of her so hopefully she’ll come back with a new band. She also revealed that there will hopefully be a DVD of the tour coming out in the near future.
In the middle of the gig Annie asked the band to leave the stage so she could have some alone time with the audience. Once the band members slinked off stage Annie crawled behind the drum kit with an acoustic guitar and played a stripped back set. For a few songs she played guitar and drums at the same time. It’s a shame Giant Drag never got to be the big time band they were clearly meant to be but standing here in the Soho pit with other Drag lovers who sing along in unison to every song it’s obvious that they still meant the world to a lot of people.
After ripping through the best of Giant Drag Annie thanked the crowd for coming and honestly said that she was very grateful for British fans and press who started her career. It doesn’t need to be said that she doesn’t need to thank us, she’s already given us so much.