Storytellers review: Giant Drag (RIP) at The Deaf Institute

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(93% true story, as told by associate editor Orestes P. Xistos)

It was a dark and stormy Friday. No, really, it was. Well, it was almost Saturday, but who cares about days that end in “y”? I was minding my own business, dunking animal crackers in my tea when my housemate Sam arrives.

“Hey, foo’, what’s up with the grin?”

“Well, just came back from Manchester. Went to see Giant Drag with Rich and Adam.”

“How did it go? Have a seat and wrap yourself in towels, you look like Chief Wiggum‘s discarded dunked donut.”

“Well, we drove carefully because it was too gorramn misty and rainy and snake pass is a harsh lover. We got to The Deaf Institute and although the streets seemed emptier than usual, at least for a Manchester Friday night, the venue had a decent crowd. Not packed, because The Followers of Giant Drag are a few but at least we had more people than Jesus had in his too-VIP dinner.”

“Noice. Opening band?”

Bad Grammar. We missed them and I wanted to see them. They are quite good.”

“Move to Manchester. Result.”

“Make me.”

“Paint my kitchen! Sorry, back to the review.”

“Well, it was a weird experience for me. Giant Drag never ventured to Mexico so it was weird I had to be in the UK to catch them live, even if it was on their swansong. The one thing that struck me at first is that although a lot of musicians have a “stage persona”, like Tom Waits or Pope Emeritus II, Annie Hardy is more Billy Corgan and Ryan Adams, what you see is what you get and I’m torn between giving the best grades to the music or to her constant storytelling, which both made me chuckle and do some stage invasion and give her a hug. It’s a bit harrowing to think that an artist you love is struggling to make a living from what they love, but it’s a harsh world out there. Still, there was some gallows humour involved and I can’t find any fault on her show.”

“Heard the backing band were local musicians or summat?”

“Yeah, and to be honest, for people she’s just met they worked quite well with her. Both for old and new stuff, it seemed to work a-ok. There were some technical problems and  Annie Hardy joked that “technical problems were courtesy of Giant Drag“. Another funny bit was when she said that the tour was sponsored by Charlie Sheen. It was a pleasure to listen to songs like ‘You Fuck like my Dad’ and ‘Dennis the Pennis’ live and I reckon her personality warmed up the audience so much that any stuff they didn’t know they probably accepted as well as the more known songs.”

“Like the one with the meowing?”

“Yeah, they played ‘Kevin is Gay’ in the encore. She joked that “her older boyfriend” stole ‘Wicked game’ from her. We all know hers is the Definite Version.”

“It is?”

“All hail The Queen Hardy! Her will be done!”

“Oh, want some tea?”

“Sure.”

“What, then?”

“We stuck for a while after the show ended, as she was around talking to people but also looking at the exit. A lot.”

“Did something like “The Bat For Lashes” incident happened?”

“No, not at all, she just wanted a cigarette. She earlier made a comment that “the perks of from being professional homeless is smoking”, which I supposed it’s a good queue to go for a cig.”

“You met her?”

“Yes, and yes, I fumbled my sentences. But got a photo with her.”

“Can I see it?”

“No. “

“Aw.”

“I enjoyed, it was a bittersweet ending; my first & last Giant Drag gig ever. I know that Soundgarden were playing in another venue that same night and I’ve never seen them live. I might catch them one day, but I think I made the wise choice. Now, to wait for Annie Hardy & The Psychos and PNP…”

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Words & photo: Sam J. Valdés López.

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