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Live Review
Queer Giraffes
Renowned for their ever-changing line up, Queer Giraffes are like the musical equivalent of an episode of Parky, with ringleader Steve Toner playing the host with the most. This time around, seeing as it's a special occasion (the launch of their single Rocky Too) he's joined on stage by the likes of Katie Richardson, of Katie and the Carnival, and Cara Cowan, who both provide some well-placed backing harmonies. Stephen Leacock of General Fiasco steps behind the drum kit, and his presence is certainly felt, thumping the tubs with accredited ferocity.

The opening number sees Toner gently strumming and crooning by himself, and one by one, his hired guns join him to complete the circle. The song soon builds and finds itself somewhere between Angel Of Harlem by U2, and Nick Cave's Straight To You. A fine welcome to the proceedings, and the band commence a set of no-frills American orientated rock. The highlight of the evening is when Cowan steps up to the plate to provide lead vocals on Stop Being So Sentimental, which boasts a bluesy swagger and a mean attitude.

Whilst they play for over 60 minutes and certainly give the crowd more than their money's worth, the band does overstretch their welcome somewhat: around the 45-minute mark, the rowdy audience seems to exhaust itself, and the band begins to fall on deaf ears, as certain parts of the crowd float in and out of attention.

We're occasionally subjected to some filler material, with some songs bereft of any discernable hook or infectious melody. What's more, the Led Zeppelin references are a bit too obvious for comfort on 50 Flights Of Stairs, with a very similar chord progression as Stairway To Heaven. In spite of their shortcomings, they receive mighty applause consistently throughout the set, and the crowd is found roaring once again as Rocky Too closes their set.

It's clear that Queer Giraffes don't operate like any other band on the circuit; rather than a serious creative vision, it's more of a musical sanctuary for local artists, a chance for musicians to join Toner's rock n roll circus, forget their creative trepidations and the rigours of relentless promotion for one night, and just rock hard, play hard, and reaffirm their love of live music.

Chris Johnson

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Gig Details
Venue: Auntie Annies
Location: Belfast
Date: 19/11/2010

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+ Queer Giraffes