At the very northern border of Brooklyn there was a party of epic proportions to celebrate the second coming of a great band by the name of The Giraffes as well as the vinyl release of their new album Usury (which I highly suggest you check out as it may very well be their finest disc yet). It was like taking a time warp back to the NYC punk scene of some fifteen years ago, a time when this band was all the rage and burned with an intensity onstage few others could ever hope to. I saw this band back around 2001 for the first time at the bar Lux and remember witnessing lewd public sex acts and dodging flying beer cans only to get drenched in whiskey while kicked in the head by the boot of some punk crowd surfing. Yet, it was all so awesome, and I was hooked and forever a fan. Still, one most dangerous and infamous bands in the NYC sadly seemed as though their time was not so infinite after incidents like guitarist Damien Paris getting arrested for antagonizing and then being shot and arrested by a Fire Marshall, or lead singer Aaron Lazar having a series of heart attacks on and off stage which caused doctors to urge him to stop playing all together. It was a sad loss to the Big Apple’s music scene when then disappeared for a bit, and even though guitarist Damien Paris and drummer Andrew Totolos tried to keep it going with other members like a female lead singer, it just wasn’t the same. Yet, when I heard the original boys were back, I felt compelled to obey my inner demonic voices and come witness the beautiful mess that was The Giraffes.
Opening the show was an outfit calling themselves It’s Over that came in to fill in last minute for Happy Fangs. Named after a Roy Orbison song, the band features singer and guitarist Danny Barria of another Brooklyn band from back in the day called Big Sleep. I really don’t know much else about the band other than they have an amazing drummer and did often remind me of the same kind of harmonic and nomadic shoegaze of that previous-mentioned ensemble.
After that was a fellow Silver Sleeve label-mate to Giraffes by the name Big Bitch that bill themselves as Gran Puta as that is apparently not as lewd and insulting to the easily offended. Their sound is bombastic and brilliant. After my hearing adjusted to the pure volume of the sonic wave blasting off the stage, I had to admit this Arizona power trio was pretty kick-ass with squalling and howl guitars and raw driving rhythms, they definitely put the heavy back in the rock.
Then there was the fabled line-up of The Giraffes of yore (and now thankfully today) of lead singer Aaron Lazar, guitarist Damien Paris, maniac drummer Andrew Totolos, as well as the addition of what I do believe is their third bassist Josh Taggart, all back together and badder than ever. Together, the in-your-face hard rockin’ of The Giraffes somehow mix sounds as diverse as Black Sabbath, the Ramones, and the Spencer Blues Explosion, in a tasty bouillabaisse and then set it on fire while still in your mouth, and yet somehow, manage to sound uniquely technically proficient despite all the crazy happenings going on all around (and even often on them). Dressed in a deluxe three-piece suite, it took no time for Lazar to get hit with an almost constant barrage of mostly empty beer cans and becoming generally soaked in alcohol. Simulating sex acts with each other in between generally bro-ing out on stage while smoking cigarettes and other such substances as well as swigging from a bottle of whiskey that seemed to keep getting replaced and shared with the audience, the debautchery on stage was nearly indescribable. Yet, it was all just hot sweaty insanity just like the old days, and still I loved it.
Article: Dean Keim