Generally I’m not very big on going to show before the headliners are due to go on, especially if I’ve never even heard of the opening band before. In this case, I’m glad I showed up early. The crowd at The Troubadour on Monday night was an eclectic group of misfits – I couldn’t place it. The age ranged from fake ID status, to seasoned Bukowski wannabes saddled up to the bar. Being West Hollywood on “a school night”, the masses were less hipster, more classic audiophile.
Giant Drag took stage at exactly 8:30pm with Annie Hardy on lead guitar and vocals, Micah Calabrese on synthesizer and drums, and someone named Dakota covering bass. Gotta say, one of my favorite parts of the evening was trying to figure out whether Dakota was a man or woman. With feminine (yet make-up less) features, and heavy bangs I thought “girl for sure!”… it was the giant man-hands and lack of breasts that threw me off – and with a name like Dakota it could go either way.
That being said, I’m pretty sure Hardy was really high. With her drawn out, high-pitched stoner voice you couldn’t help but liken her to Lamb Chop, the sock puppet. However, you can imagine my delight when in the midst of her chaotic ramblings (“Don’t worry. I’m not crying. I’m not Cat Power. I’m not gonna’ freak out!”) she referred to the mysterious Dakota as a him! Finally, the truth was out!
With the “man vs. woman” debate finally cleared up I could actually relax and listen to the music, and therefore officially say that Giant Drag is a pretty great band. Their sound is a mix between Hole and Cat Power… or some sort of My Bloody Valentine hybrid. They opened with “You Fuck Like My Dad”, and then went on to “High Friends in Places”, but one of my favorites for the night was their classic cover of Chris Isaac’s “Wicked Game”. Regardless, they’re worthy of being checked out – whether live or via the interwebs. However seeing them live would make you prive to Annie Hardy’s muffled rantings, and perhaps to Dakota, the breast-less bass playing wonder.
An hour later White Lies took the stage, and the once half-filled Troubadour was now completely packed. Two chords in and I had fallen in love with lead vocalist Harry McVeigh. With his boyish looks (he’s only 22), his baritone voice, and British accent, what wasn’t to love? Though I must say the other four members of the band (Charles Cave, Jack Lawrence-Brown, Tommy Bowen, and Rob Lee) were also most excellent. I’ve heard their album before, but White Lies is one of those bands that just sound so much better live – a welcome change to the over synthesized records that can be put out these days. Their sound is a bit Depeche Mode, a bit Joy Division... If anything, I’d call them an off-shoot to New Order – a more modern and electric version of a classic throwback.
The band was super professional – no sound problems, no banter with the crowd, just straight-forward and clean cut. Sure, I would have loved if Harry McVeigh had spotted me through the sea of people and asked if I wanted to come back to his London flat, but he didn’t. Even as heartbroken as I am, their new (and second) album Ritual just dropped a little over a week ago and I can most certainly recommend checking it out. Better yet, check their tour dates and go ogle my boyfriend in person.
Lying in general is never good, but White Lies? Always amazing.
post by Lauren Lomma