Pretty Girls Make Graves
Giant Drag, The Joggers
Orlando, FL • May 23, 2006
When I walked down Orange Ave. toward The Social, for the Pretty Girls Make Graves show, it was still daylight. It was 6:20pm and the first band of the night, The Joggers, had already started playing. “We’ll be home before 10pm,” I said to my girl as we grabbed the last 2 empty barstools.
The Joggers are of the generation born at the end of the 70’s big rock decade, who spent their teen years listening to what was once considered “alternative.” They have the quirky voice of Archers of Loaf or XTC, but are butched up with an ambitious arsenal of guitar solos and unpredictable rhythms. Yet somehow they still rub shoulders with the dance pop simplicity of Franz Ferdinand and Hot Hot Heat. Infectious and original.
Around 1997 John Waters put out a film called Pecker. In the movie, there was a character named Little Chrissy with a disturbing addiction to sugar. In one scene she sneaks into the kitchen, in the middle of the night, and is found foaming at the mouth, dazed, with a large bag of the sugar crystals in her lap. That girl grew up and became one-half of Giant Drag… Not really, but I swear Annie Hardy is the spitting image of that kid!
She’s petite and speaks with a soft yet squeaky, girlish voice that is laced with naughtiness. To begin the show she says hello, introduces herself and bandmate Micah Calabrese, and without even a hint of apology announces, “…we’re going to play a song for you now, it’s called ‘You Fuck Like My Dad.'” In between songs with titles like “My Dick Sux” and “Kevin is Gay,” she tells stories about finding butterfly heads in her pocket (“So don’t be surprised is we start Flyyyyyinnnnng!”) and how she wrote the song “Wicked Game” when she was 8 years old and was having an affair with Chris Issak. The latter tune of which they also cover in a manner more successful than H.I.M.’s rendition.
Pretty Girls Make Graves quietly take the stage and speed into their limited time set (they had just over an hour before the whole place had to be cleared out to allow for the later scheduled hip-hop show to commence). Vocalist Andrea Zollo is a rambunctious frontwoman whose sweet banshee voice is reminiscent of 90’s grrl groups like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. Zollo’s vocal dynamics are enhanced with a band of instruments that include accordion in its dance/pop/indie bag of tricks. Tossing out tunes from Elan Vital– their latest Matador release- as well as old favorites, PGMG are a fun performance but a little trite. After 20 minutes, the music had grown tiresome and I was ready to go. As an opening act they would have been fantastic, but they haven’t quite hit their stride as a headliner.