Live at The Refectory on Saturday, 25th February 2006
So here we are at the Refectory, the house lights go down and on comes Giant Drag. If you have never seen or heard of Giant Drag before then here is your first impression of them. The first words out of Annie Hardy's mouth were, "hi there we're Giant Drag and this is our first song and it's called 'you fuck like my dad'". What an impact that has to have on the unsuspecting The Cribs fans. You felt almost shocked for a moment as Annie began to play (and speak). Why? Because she just looks so innocent, like daddy's little girl who appears so scared yet at the same time seems completely stoned off her face. Giant Drag hail from somewhere (I am not sure where - may be America or Canada) and consist of 2 people. Annie Hardy the guitarist and vocalist who Kurt Cobain would be if he was a girl (and not dead), and drummer Micah Calabrese.
Giant Drag were an absolute delight to watch down to the very last drop. Their light grungy rhythms and frantic drum beats really grasped the ear of the eager fans in front of them. When Giant Drag got through to their 3rd song Annie told us that when she was 8 years old she fell in love with a man (not a boy, but a man). She then went on to tell us how she wrote a song for him; he published it, now she wants it back. Giant Drag then went on to play this song which just so happened to be "I'll never fall in love again" (their new bonus track).
Giant Drag's most entertaining feature was probably not so much their music, although their new grunge played a significant part in it. No it was when Annie spoke to the crowd and really interacted with them. Why? Because she seemed so innocent from the sounds of her voice and the look about her yet she came out with the most fucked up things. I mean what innocent girl writes a song called "My dick sucks". That in itself was just one reason why Giant Drag were amazing.
Their set seemed to go so fast, which is a real shame because they were really enjoyable and I highly recommend them to anyone who likes the odd bit of grunge that is not too heavy to handle and that has a bit of humour in it. Just before Giant Drag leave us tonight Annie says something that really stuck in my head. "Hey is today the 27th? Ah it doesn't matter, our album isn't out here yet, but hey who cares about music when we have T-shirts and badges." Great words from a very talented band.
Now on to The Cribs, the room again goes very dark just before the red glow begins to show from the stage. Cheesy disco music comes on, disco balls begin to glimmer in the reflected light and The Cribs rush on to the stage. "Hello we're The Cribs from Wakefield" and the crowd let out a mighty roar as they begin their first song. The seemingly mellow crowd theme that had been going on all night was completely obliterated within seconds as they went absolutely nuts. People started to climb on top of each other just to get a bit of a better view of The Cribs. On one of their first songs ("What About Me") the crowd sung every word along with The Cribs making the atmosphere just that much more vibrant and energetic.
We are only up to the third song now and The Cribs have already got the crowd going enough to get them chanting "Yorkshire! Yorkshire!" and you can't help but feel privileged that these guys are almost representing us. The Cribs put so much energy into their performance and lead singer Ryan Jarman who shouldn't have even been playing due to his injuries he got at the NME Awards put his heart and soul into every bit of the performance. You could tell that they were really enjoying playing for us almost as much as we enjoyed watching them. I think that it's a real plus when the band enjoys the gig as much as the crowd, it really shows and creates a much better environment.
The Cribs played such happy cheery indie music; you couldn't help but enjoy them. Due to Ryan's injuries he obviously couldn't move around very much. So instead he bobbed up and down, the only reason I mention this is because he resembled Kermit the frog a little bit which gave me personally loads of entertainment. One another occasion the drummer stood on his drums and let out a mesmerizing almost tribal drum beat that weaved into one of their songs (yes, that relates).
Probably one of the landmark moments of the night was when Ryan said "hey everyone do you want to see my stitches". He pulled up his top and took off the bandages to reveal and absolutely huge gash down his back that made a large majority of the crowd quiver in disgust. I thought it was great to be honest, and even though it was a bit sick you had to admire his respect for the audience because of it. It probably got infected or something from all of the condensation of their fans sweat so you have to respect that.
After going through all of their greatest hits and my personal favorite "Hey Scenesters!", to which almost everyone was singing along to or pretending to sing along to depending on how well they knew the words. On their final song Ryan said that Leeds has a lot of potential and that they don't have egos like a lot of the bands out there today. So they don't do encores "because they are not wankers" basically. He then announced "Leeds you are fantastic" before playing their final song and exiting for the night.
Overall the gig was enjoyable the music was of a high quality. However despite everything it wasn't really a gig for the record books, I don't know why but nothing from the night really grabbed my attention that made me think "wow that really was one of the best gigs ever" I spoke to a few people after who thought the same thing. Maybe it's just me being picky and don't think by any stretch of the imagination that the gig was crap but it didn't show off anything new is all (nice positive end there).