Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Giant Drag 5/16/09 - Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA.

Again, sorry for the lack of posting - hopefully, this one will make up for it.

Last week's Giant Drag performance was a special one for a couple of reasons - one, it was one the band's first shows in almost 2 years; and two, it celebrated the return of it's original "half," Micah Calabrese.

I first heard of Giant Drag sometime in 2005 when listening to the now-departed Indie 103.1. "This Isn't It" was playing at the time, and I instantly found the song to be pretty catchy. Continuing to listen in hopes that the DJ would announce the title/band's name, I found out the song was indeed by Giant Drag. However, I promptly forgot about what I had just heard, and it wasn't until a few months later while browsing for cds at Second Spin, I spied the band's Lemona EP on display in the racks. Remembering what I had heard awhile back, I bought it, and their later full length release Hearts and Unicorns, and have been listening ever since.

Admittedly, I seem to have had the worst luck trying to record Giant Drag. No, really - it's ridiculous. My first attempt was when they were touring with and opened for Pretty Girls Make Graves' final tour at the El Rey in June 2006 - the culprit? A dead battery. A second attempt was made a little while later when they did a "secret" show at the Silverlake Lounge - the culprit again was, yep you guessed it, another dead battery. (this is why I almost always try to check my batteries before I leave for a show)

The 3rd and final time was at the LACMA Art Walk afterparty (held at the H.D. Buttercup furniture showroom in Culver City, which is actually part of the old Helms Bakery, really cool place) Open bar and hors d'oeuvres and a huge stage set up in one of the showrooms. Everything seemed to be going pretty well so far recording-wise, until I started to feel extremely light-headed and about to collapse, and had to run to the bathroom - thus ending up missing the last two and a half songs of the set. I blamed it on a lethal combination of cupcakes and vodka - lesson learned, baked goods and alcohol sometimes don't mix.

Interestingly enough, this was one of the (very few?) shows that featured frontwoman Annie Hardy with a full backing band (post-Micah leaving.

So, after a long absence, along came this reunion show. Setlist featured a good amount of material from Hearts and Unicorns, plus a representative showing from Lemona and a yet-to-be-released EP. A couple of new tunes were showcased - "Don't Come Around" (which sounded somewhat Queens Of The Stone Age-like) and "Mess With My Face." In the covers department, "Wicked Game" (b-side to Hearts and Unicorns) and a surprising Bob Marley cover "Sun Is Shining" were performed.

Admittedly, I've always found the Troubadour difficult to record in - myself and other tapers seem to agree that the sound in there isn't the greatest. I thought the sound was better that I've recalled in the past, but listening back I'm not sure - there was some level fluctuation during the show, and Annie's vocals seem buried in the beginning. As always, your mileage may vary.

1.) "Stuff To Live For" Video Introduction FLAC MP3
2.) This Isn't It FLAC MP3
3.) Mini-"improv" FLAC MP3
5.) Don't Come Around (debut) FLAC MP3
6.) Tired Yet FLAC MP3
7.) Swan Song FLAC MP3
8.) My Dick Sux FLAC MP3
9.) Stuff To Live For FLAC MP3
10.) Sun Is Shining (Bob Marley cover) FLAC MP3
11.) Mess With My Face (debut) FLAC MP3
12.) White Baby FLAC MP3
13.) Wicked Game (Chris Isaak cover) FLAC MP3
14.) Interlude/"Encore Break" FLAC MP3
15.) E: Cordial Invitation FLAC MP3
16.) E: "Second Interlude" FLAC MP3
17.) E: Kevin Is Gay FLAC MP3
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