Live music review: A Giant Dog and Lola Tried at Beerland

Special thanks to guest photographer Mike Manewitz 

Thursday night’s second installment of A Giant Dog‘s February residency at Beerland sold-out just as fast as the first Thursday of the month. AGD took a bit of hiatus from performing at the end of last year after nearly three years of non-stop touring between the garage-punk act and Sweet Spirit (their equally successful other band) by founders Sabrina Ellis and Andrew Cashen. Finally back at it after a nearly three-month break combined with the tight confines of Beerland meant AGD played to a full-house the past couple weeks. 

Prior to A Giant Dog’s raucous performance, Lola Tried got the evening off to a proper start with an inspired performance. Centered around a relentlessly energetic, Lauren Burton, the group has clearly flourished in the last year. The garage-rockers are bolstered by fine percussion work at the hands of Ray Flynt and stellar lead guitar by Ray Garza (OOni, Poly Action) with rock-steady bass from Greg Spencer,  Lola Tried have become a formidable foursome with Burton’s swaying red hair punctuating the music with hair tosses and fist pumps. You end up loving her moxie before the first song is done.

According to Garza who we spoke to before the performance, the group has plans to release a full-album soon. Burton echoed that sentiment on stage adding, “…hopefully, you know how that shit goes,” before launching into the next track in the set list. 

When we asked Burton and Garza which songs they enjoyed playing live, both mentioned “Pulling Teeth” and “Room.”Burton quickly weighed in on our chat with, “My fav songs to play live: 1.) Room because it’s really really loud and I can step on my effects pedal and make a lot of noise and I get to yell with Greg. 2.) San Marcos because it was our first single and we’ve made it evolve and I love playing it because it reminds me of how far we’ve come as a band.”

“My favorite [song} at the moment is Pulling Teeth. The lead riff I play was written by Lauren and I have a lot of fun playing it. I too really like playing Room (our last song), because it’s really primal and it ends differently each time. We all sort of follow Ray Flynt at the end and never know for sure where he will take it,” remarked Garza.

After her bandmate pointed out his affection for the riff she penned, Burton jokingly tried to recant, then ceded the point to her lead guitarist. Like Ellis of AGD, the red-headed she-rocker is disarmingly frank when sharing her thoughts. She’s as authentic as they come.  

Lola Tried will appear on the Four Daze of Clash Bill during next month’s SXSW Music Festival. RSVP for free entry

By the time A Giant Dog took the stage it was late. That didn’t stop fans from crowding in close inside Beerland to get a better look at the indie-punks who have been turning in show-stopping performances on the regular since forming in 2008. The upstarts were celebrating bassist, Graham Low’s birthday in addition to their second show since their last tour ended. 

Vocalist and songwriter, Sabrina Ellis took the stage dressed entirely in her usual unitard, this time in black with a fur-fringed velvet jacket over it until she finally shed the jacket amid the frenzy that ensued. To be clear, there hasn’t been a performance we’ve witnessed by this act that didn’t result in moshing, crowd surfing, hoots and hollers. A Giant Dog come to rock your soul out of your body. Every. Damn. Time. 

Popular singles, “Sex and Drugs,” and “Photograph” drew predictably enthusiastic reactions as Ellis gyrated, hip-thrust and ROCKED her way through the show. The end of the set saw Ellis make her way deep into the audience,  ending the performance prostrate on the floor of the venue. The band returned with a Cranberries cover in honor of Dolores O’Riordan’s recent death. 

A Giant Dog continue their Beerland residency each Thursday through the end of February. Tickets to the next performance can be purchased on the venue Eventbrite page