5th Dec 2016
The Waiting Room, London
Feral, sweaty, and with the faint tang of ammonia, A Giant Dog’s unabashed rock makes their contemporaries look positively repressed. Leave your kids in the car for this one. Scuzzy, joyous and propelled by sex and groove in equal measure, their set tonight is a spectacle in brazen rock ‘n’ roll.
The misfit role fits A Giant Dog like your favourite leotard.This latest iteration of A Giant Dog sounds big live, and the decision to lean on material from 2016’s Pile is a wise one. Frontwoman Sabrina Ellis is snake-hipped and fork-tongued, delivering bile in style for opener ‘Creep’. “Tenderness is not for me / I could watch you die and not feel a thing,” she barks over ragged guitars. Riffs are shredded, shapes are thrown and bodily fluids flow, all serving to blast the dust and cobwebs from the tomb of hard rock. There’s love in their music, for the genre, but it’s smeared with a thick slime of death, grief and sex that’s all their own. ‘Jizzney’ allows the bright eyes of romantic longing to peer through for just a minute, before ‘King Queen’ swaggers in to smash all sentimentality into the dirt with an unyielding groove.
It’s a shame that the dancefloor is less airtight than their set, allowing some of the atmosphere that’s dying to build escape through the gaps in the crowd. This is of little consequence to Ellis however, who commands the room from both the stage and the murk of the bar in a whirlwind of limbs and hair. ‘Sleep When Dead’ is a sweaty scream-along that barrels into ‘Too Much Makeup’ in a disgusting (read: wonderful) collision of feedback and searing vocals to close the night. It’s a display of the kind of recklessness once synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll, but which is scarcely seen today. For that, A Giant Dog are a rare breed.
Image credit: George L. Bosser