After an unbearably long pause Giant Drag, or rather Annie Hardy and co, have pulled themselves back across the pond.
However, Hardy and her cobbled together band haven’t come for a triumph, but for a final farewell, the final poignant gasp of a band that was born slightly out of sync with the world.
And that pretty much sums up the night’s beautiful, anarchic, grungy performance, which starts with the slurs of This Isn’t It, and holds the crowd spellbound right through to the end: not exactly jumping, but bathing in Hardy’s reflected glory.
It is clear from early on that this is her show, just as the band was her baby from the start, from difficult birth, through troubled infancy, releasing only two albums, to this final swansong.
She is an enigmatic front-woman, at once proud and shy, she wears her vulnerability somehow defiantly on her sleeve, with a fuck-you air.
She seems to be at ease with the band and the crowd, chugging louchely through fan favourites such as YFLMD and Garbage Heart, and she’s best when the others leave and she announces it’s “us time”, bringing several hundred Borderline fans into an odd intimacy as she drums and strums through songs including Heart Carl and My Dick Sux. The oddly girlish girl-next-door voice, all giggles and lightness between songs, belies the murky, strained, and pained woman who appears between the lyrics and the chords.
No matter how much the crowd begs, Hardy refuses to play Slayer, at once on the offensive in her flat denial, while also defending her claim as she states it’s not in her key, and she doesn’t even know how to play it.
She does, however, play the band’s trademark cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game (while claiming first that she actually wrote it, and later self-effacingly suggesting it’s all the crowd came to hear).
This won’t be the last anyone hears of Giant Drag… well, not quite.
The final night of this indiegogo funded tour will be a ‘funeral’, a final farewell to the product of Hardy’s tortured twenties, before she moves on to pastures new, and hopefully just as magnificent.