By DONNA BALANCIA – Sad Lovers and Giants performed the last show of its first-ever U.S. tour at the Echoplex and the fans of this 1980s new wave-style band couldn’t have been happier.
“I’ve been waiting 30 years to see them,” said Karen and Joe who drove from San Diego to see one of their favorite bands. “I gave up, I never thought we’d ever see them, it was like they were a dream.”
Sad Lovers and Giants is comprised of front man on sax, voice and guitar, Garçe Allard, guitarist Tony McGuinness, drummer Nigel Pollard, Ian Gibson on bass and Will Hicks on keyboards. And if you haven’t heard of them, you’re not alone. The band was founded in 1980, was always very popular in native England and while establishing a strong fan base in the U.S., never toured here or promoted in the states.
All the fans had to go on to make the journey to the Music Mecca at Echoplex was the music and in some cases, friends and relatives who recommended the band. Those as young as 18 bought their tickets a month ago, and those who remember the band from the heyday did the same. One person even drove from Chicago to L.A. to catch the show.
And it was worth it. Sad Lovers and Giants puts on a compelling musical display. Allard’s mesmerizing voice and McGuinness’s haunting guitar riffs hold up extremely well in the face of new music and without a doubt Sad Lovers and Giants is one of the best bands in the post-punk genre.
For those who are visually oriented, the group travels with a lighting package that would make anyone look beautiful and lends a mystical and appealingly colorful presence.
As for the new album from the band?
“We have four tracks in the can already,” said Will the keyboardist. “While we were here we recorded in Los Angeles. We have a few more tracks to go and hopefully we’ll have the album out in 2017.”
Some of the new tracks are out there and have been met with the approval of longtime fans, including “Like Thieves.”
The fans were overjoyed that the band came to town and they spared no expense on several levels, least of which was the exotic lighting package with which the band travels.
But sadly, the first-ever U.S. tour may also be the last, said guitarist McGuinness.
“We all have other projects going on,” he said. “I have another band called ‘Above and Beyond’ and we’re all busy so I don’t think it would ever happen. But the reception here in LA is really quite overwhelming.”
Above and Beyond is an EDM style group and McGuinness is no stranger to dabbling in high profile positions with record companies as an executive and marketing strategist. Apparently like many others in the world of music, he took a day job. Albeit one in music, but nonetheless, he played it safe.
“We broke up in 1986 and got back together in 2004,” McGuinness told CaliforniaRocker.com after the gig. “We spent time in Italy because we found a producer who revived interest in the band.”
But somehow the United States lost out until this last tour that had the guys going to SXSW, to different destinations, and as Allard said, into oblivion.
“We discovered Arizona,” he told the audience at the Echoplex. “We kept driving and driving; it was lovely though.”
Nite Fields and Vaadat Charigim warmed up for Sad Lovers and Giants and the booker was on the mark. All three bands had similar style, with each playing a trancelike and haunting melodies. Nite Fields is from the U.K., and Vaadat Charigim is from Israel.
Sad Lovers and Giants has had its share of fame in Europe, and while the reception in the U.S. was warm, (particularly in L.A.), the group said it’s unlikely they will come back — mainly because of obligations.
If you missed Sad Lovers and Giants’ live show, like dedicated U.S. fans have for the last 30 years, never fear. There are downloads of their music and information available through their website.