Victory North is a much needed addition to Savannah’s music scene. The mid-sized venue boasts superior acoustics and has consistently booked a wide variety of big-name acts. Now the popular venue is opening up the stage to its first local headliner.
Lulu the Giant are a Southern blues/jazz/roots trio led by songwriter Rachael Shaner, with drummer Daniel Malone and guitarist Jacob Evans. With her stirring upright bass and soulful, fluttering-bird-wing vibrato, Shaner has been a much sought after musical collaborator, as well as a champion for local arts, so it is fitting that she and her bandmates get a chance to shine.Get Savannah arts and culture news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our Dine Savannah and Do update newsletters
“It’s funny, Big Freedia is playing the weekend after us, and I looove Big Freedia,” said Shaner. “I love that we’re playing the weekend before and I’m like, ‘What?’, but thankful that they’re taking a shot on having us headline, and I hope that the local Savannahians will come out and support just like they come out and support bigger names because being a musician from here and constantly pushing back on the ‘unestablished music scene’ here, or ‘transient music scene’...we’ve got plenty of bands and musicians from here that are staying here, but not a lot of opportunities for them to play, at least in venues that are great, so until you spotlight them you can’t question why they aren’t in the spotlight.”
Lulu the Giant’s second album, “Solid Gold,” came out earlier this year, but the band decided to re-release it recently in a much improved and polished mastered version. It was an unusual move, but worth it to Shaner and company. “Do you still want to work that out and figure it out, and spend that time, and of course the answer is, ‘Yes’ as an artist,” Shaner explained. “As musicians you definitely do because even if no one else can hear it, you can and that will drive you crazy for the rest of your life. Even if you hear it on the local radio or a grocery store you can’t live with yourself, right?”
Lulu the Giant took that extra technical know-how and have returned to Malone’s Red Porch Records studio to record a new album set to be released next year. The Victory North audience will get a chance to hear many of Shaner’s new songs and the expansion of their sound. The trio will be joined throughout the show by some of their favorite local musicians to flesh out the music. “We’re adding some depth and layers, as well, into the vocal harmonies that we’ve always had,” said Shaner. “I’m really excited for that because we’ve been working really hard and letting these songs develop as we rehearse, and change and grow. I’m so excited for the next album.”
The Stardust Pixxies, a gravity defying performance arts troupe, will be opening the show with a taste of their long-term collaboration with Lulu the Giant, an installation called “Etheria” which is slated for Fall 2020.
“I keep describing it, for lack of a universal understating, as ‘Fantasia’,” said Shaner. “It’s music and dancing and it tells the story in that space without words, without a narrator. It’s a visual story.”
Shaner and Malone will accompany the Stardust Pixxies on piano and bass, but rather than the dancers moving to the music, the musicians will react to the movements of the performers. “We have a lot of freedom in that,” Shaner explained. “We’ll be doing some improve stuff, as well, trusting their talent inside of their space and their choreography. It’s always magical to watch them play off each other. It’s great to play off of [another art form].”
The Victory North show will be Lulu the Giant’s last in Savannah this year as they eagerly step back into the studio to carve out the best sound they can out of their already accomplished music. But before they do, Shaner looks forward to blowing the roof off of the place with her resonant upright bass.
“I am excited to shake some bodies, move some souls with that timbre.”