Sometimes it’s just hard to pin a band down. Our Sleeping Giant, for instance, whose songs fly all over the genre radar. Singer Danny Gibbons opens the night with four solo acoustic tracks in rapid succession, journeying through the Dashboard Confessional-esque “Lost Art of the Mid-Range Jump-Shot,” to slightly country songs. The best of these four is “Down for the Count,” which sounds like a missing track from the Pearl Jam unplugged set.
Gibbons then calls for his backing band, which he jokingly (maybe) refers to as the “bastard sons of Texas.” As good and varied as the acoustic songs were, the full-band set has a touch of polish and musicianship that just can’t be matched in the solo material. Drummer Danny Proud is the glue holding all of this together. It’s not that guitarist Nick Garza and bassist Jordan Williams detract from the performance, but the beats that Proud provides, particularly during “Heart of the Matter,” make the band an incredibly cohesive unit.
“The Road I Take” explores more of Our Sleeping Giant’s country leanings, sounding a bit like a mid-’90s post-grunge take on an old Johnny Cash song. “Reflections from a Hospital Bed,” which Gibbons proclaims to be “rather somber,” follows. The lyrics are certainly solemn enough: “There are many things that I would like to do and say I hope I have the time/ Maybe I should, but I’m not the kind to pray.” Gibbons’s Seven Mary Three snarl, however, gives the song a harder edge than you might expect. Gibbons then pauses between tunes to inform the sparsely populated room that the band’s next song will be a cover, and that if they don’t like Bruce Springsteen they can “get the fuck out!” Their take on “Atlantic City” is faithful enough, with Gibbons quickly mumbling a majority of the lines in true Springsteen fashion.
Our Sleeping Giant closes with “My Hardest Year to Date,” the title track from their upcoming EP, recorded at Dead Room Studios. I’ll go ahead and be honest here; I don’t know what this song is about or if it’s even any good because I didn’t really get to pay attention. As the song started, I caught something flash out of the corner of my eye. I turned to check out the TV for some clarification and happened to witness the single greatest thing ever. Apparently there was some kind of ostrich race with human jockeys held in Minneapolis earlier that day, and ESPN decided to air the highlights. I made the choice, and I stand by it. There’s no way OSG’s closer, whatever its strengths, could’ve competed with ostrich racing.
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