27 Apr 2018

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Gig Review: I Am Giant @ Galatos, Auckland 14/04/2018

15 Apr 2018 // A review by butch181

I have been following I Am Giant from the start; since the release of their debut single City Limits, their first New Zealand shows back in 2010, before their three studio albums. I knew it was going to be an emotional night, as it was their final Auckland show before their hiatus, but I underestimated the extent of it all. Lined along the front of the stage were their dedicated “army”; having travelled up from Tauranga, Christchurch, Dunedin, Palmerston North, these are the fans that have all become close friends and family to each other through the band’s music, but for the Auckland fans who can’t make it to the final South Island leg of the tour, it is clearly written across their faces, the reality of what this day is to them. The end of nearly a decade of support; the end of an era. And that is why Galatos remains full, despite Californian nu-metal band P.O.D. performing just down the road.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The night started with alt-rock group She Loves You. Having seen them open for Written by Wolves last year at the Kings Arms, I knew what to expect from this group, but I was blown away by their increase in confidence since then. Vocalist Madeline Berry is at home on the stage, seducing the crowd and teasing the cameramen, as she performs. No weak frail vocals here, instead we have some precise notes and melodies that fit in with Jessie Booth and Cassandra King’s guitar and bass (respectively). Up the front, the mix didn’t quite sound right, with Booth’s guitar levels very low, but regardless, the true MVP of the performance came in the form of drummer Katie Baya. Never overstated, the drums are almost too easy to overlook; no theatrical thrashing like you would find from Shelton Woolright, but instead, a wildly varied and technical use of the kit that really gives their songs that extra depth and was a thrill to watch. These women love what they do, even with King staying far to the side and not displaying the energy that the rest of the band exhibited, a few smiles were definitely noticed between King and Berry. There’s something to be said for youthful exuberance and spunk, and She Loves You brings it all.

Next up on the supporting bill for the night is the new wave prog blues-rock group, His Masters Voice. Always consistently on form, I have yet to see a poor performance from them. With chugging riffs, punchy drums, and smooth, flying solos, they have mastered that guitar-centric sound that has kept the likes of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin relevant for all these years. Technically astute, Az Burns knows his guitar intimately, and is able to control every aspect of his contribution to the music, controlling the feedback of the effects for added ambience, or through intricate finger work, his skills put the everyday guitarist to shame. Vocalist Jesse Sorensen channels Ozzy Osbourne throughout the performance with a dominant display of vocal melodies and demonstrating crazy-eyes as he stands at the microphone. Apart from a second of feedback on the mic at the end of one track, their performance went off without a hitch. Professional from start to finish.

The people were here for I Am Giant, however, and the crowd erupted in applause when the band finally hit the stage, breaking straight into Neon Sunrise. The band has had its share of ups and downs, with a regularly switching roster of guitarists, and issues finding a suitable replacement vocalist after the departure of Ed Martin, four years prior, but they are in their element tonight. Finally, with a line-up that has brought back the energy that they had when they debuted, it is unfortunate that the tour is the end of everything. Their sound is best in mid-size venues such as Galatos and Kings Arms, and they use it to their advantage. Andrew, Aja, and Paul line along the front of the stage, and you can see they are giving it their all. Aja’s vocals are on point as he casually switches back and forth between clean vocals and screams in Life in Captivity. The crowd had started to push and shove a couple of songs in, but it wasn’t long before that all stopped, and it turned into a giant sing-along, strangers singing with strangers. Never one to hog the limelight, Aja makes sure to frequently put the spotlight on the others, as Shelton performs a flurry of kicks, Andrew wrenches his guitar from side to side up front, or when Paul jumps into an elaborate bass riff. The setlist contains a selection of old and new, with City Limits is performed early in the set, and a good selection of material from their latest release. 

The crowd eats up every song, and in what feels like no time at all, they exit the stage. They could have played through their entire discography, played it again, and I still would have wanted more. But looking at that empty stage, that is when it really starts to kick in. The emotions. Tears are being shed on the front lines of the crowd. Hugs were given and received as they await the final songs in the encore performance. I still have a lump in my throat as I write this. They returned to the stage with the softer track Transmission but end the night with one of the singles from their debut EP, Let It Go. So often you sing along with the band but don’t truly realise what it is you are saying. I Am Giant knew what they were doing when they decided on the final song for the set; “With so much love tonight…let it go…credits rolling up the screen…it’s over now… it’s over”

Review and photos provided by Alex Moulton

About I Am Giant

With an impressive 70,000+ loyal fans on Facebook and over 1,000 international members of their ‘IAG Army’, I Am Giant have amassed a huge worldwide following with four #1 rock singles and a certified gold album in New Zealand, music videos featuring skate and surfing icons Tony Hawk and Kelly Slater, opening for Slash in Australia, a UK tour with Taking Back Sunday, performances at Big Day Out in Auckland and Sydney, opening for Stone Temple Pilots in Singapore, touring throughout Asia several times, and playing the prestigious Viper Room and Mercury Lounge in the US.

Their debut album The Horrifying Truth, was recorded with acclaimed producer Forrester Savell (Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus, The Butterfly Effect). I Am Giant bound together what they describe as “a collection of stories, thoughts, observations and exploration” into a cohesive and hard-hitting explosion of sound and melody. From the first song Purple Heart to closer After The War, the sharp lyrical themes draw the listener into the band’s growing awareness of mortality and loss of innocence. The Horrifying Truth is pure, unadulterated rock, with its heart on its sleeve and an unquenchable fire in its soul.

October 2012 saw I Am Giant release The Horrifying Truth in the UK and Europe, where their single Purple Heart won support on BBC Radio One as Zane Lowe's ‘Next Hype’ , XFM, Kerrang! Radio and Q Radio as well as hitting the No 1 spot on Polish Radio Eska Rock.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for I Am Giant


Life In Captivity
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Science & Survival
Year: 2014
Type: Album
The Horrifying Truth
Year: 2011
Type: Album
City Limits/Neon Sunrise
Year: 2010
Type: EP

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