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Annie Hardy @ The Sanctuary at Pico-Union || July 7, 2017 || Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Annie Hardy @ The Sanctuary at Pico-Union || July 7, 2017 || Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

Los Angeles, CA-  When I saw the name Annie Hardy on the bill as one of the opening acts for Sean Rowe at The Sanctuary at Pico-Union, I did a quick double take. It was a familiar name to me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why it was ringing my bell. As soon as I put the name into the google search engine, and as soon as the name “Giant Drag” popped up, it all started slowly coming back to me.

Giant Drag was a band that I know I’ve seen live before. I want to say I saw them either at a Coachella or opening for another band. Unfortunately, those were my booze-and-other-substances days of concert going, and my memories from that period in my life are kind of a blur. That being said, I remember that Giant Drag’s music was a quirky kind of grunge, and definitely not a genre of music that I would have thought would be opening for Sean Rowe’s brand of Americana.

But on July 7th, Annie Hardy, seated with just an acoustic guitar resting on her lap, performed an intimately personal set of music featuring cuts from her recently released debut solo album “Rules”. It was a performance that felt deeply honest, and as she sang each word, you could feel the weight of emotion in her voice with every syllable. When I did a little research after her performance, I learned that she had been through more tragedy than a person should ever have to go through. and that these songs she was singing were her own personal redemption songs. Powerful stuff for sure, and even more powerful to see her sing those songs live.

Midway through her set, she amicably asked how many people liked Jesus. She joked that she related to him and then proceeded to sing a pair of songs that resonated critical of religion. Insofar as the performance was in a church, that overt act of rebellion felt very punk, and I loved that it happened.

The mood of Annie’s performance wasn’t all heavy, though. Towards the end of her set, she broke from her current repertoire and engaged the audience to assist her in freestyling a song incorporating words shouted from the church pews. Connecting the words in a humorous, and at times potentially offensive, way, I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions. But upon retrospect, I get the feeling that Annie did this musical exercise intentionally, acknowledging the need to break up the heavy mood, to give the audience some proof that her current state of mind wasn’t as heavy as the music she had written for her solo album. Either way, it rounded out the set and made for a very memorable musical experience.

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