LULU THE GIANT is a long-running local trio known for their blues, jazz, and soul-infused songs led by bassist, singer, and songwriter Rachael Shaner. They’ve garnered critical acclaim for their unique sound and eclectic shows, with local gigs becoming more and more rare due to the demands of the road.
If you’re looking for a chance to see the band right here at home, look no further than Savannah’s newest venue, Victory North. There promises to be special guests and surprises planned, as well as an opening set (and post-show fire dancing in the courtyard) from Stardust Pixxies.
Ahead of the show on Fri., Oct. 18, we spoke to Shaner about what fans can expect and what’s next for the group.
You say that this is the first local headlining show at Victory North.
Yes, it is!
How did that happen?
We begged them, and gave them gold, silver, and our first-born children [laughs]. We approached them and said, “We need local bands to be showcased in a space that’s not necessarily a bar.” It’d be a shame if there still wasn’t a place for local bands, even with this new venue. They were really open to it.
It’s so great that they’re supporting locals, especially considering all the touring shows that have come through so far. Are you planning a special set?
Absolutely. And what I’m super excited about is that the Stardust Pixxies are opening the show with a new collaboration performance art piece, which we plan on releasing in the fall of 2020. It’s almost Fantasia-esque in the kind of collaboration it is. We've got some really fun people joining us. Wayne Wilson is an incredible singer—he's just ridiculous. I don't know how else to explain it [laughs].
We’re going to have a trombonist joining us as well, who’s actually a Marine trombonist. Anders Thomsen is going to be joining us on a song, and some other guests as well. We’ll be showcasing some songs from our upcoming album—this show will definitely be new material, since we only play, like, two shows a year here [laughs].
What’s the new album like?
I’d say we’re kind of going back to our first album. The first album wasn’t really released on any major platforms because it was more like a heart work, you know? But the sound of it was really deep in a groove. Someone described it as “walking through the forest alone, as dusk is settling. You think someone might be behind you, but it’s still a comfort to be there.”
That really got me. There’s an ominous comfort in the bass for sure, so that’s always been a focal point in the sound that we want.
How does the writing process for y’all?
I generally write everything lyrically, but the music generally starts with me on upright bass. I bring the band this concept, and that uses starts with our drummer Daniel because we keep it pretty percussive. He’ll say, “That’s shit, so cut that.” [laughs].
The song kind of grows a bit, and from there it’s a very general experimentation. We’ll have a theory and test it. The only thing that always clicks is the lyrics and what I want to convey in a song. How to convey it is all on the table. So I get the pleasure of writing, and then the privilege of bringing it to the band and saying, “How do you feel about this?”
Jacob, our guitar player, is great because he’ll either have the same idea as Daniel or he’ll do the complete opposite of whatever Daniel says and it turns out to be perfect [laughs].
That’s the hardest part of navigating the band dynamic—trying to find the chemistry between people that allows you to be honest about ideas and the way things are going. When you have that, everything else is easy.
Yeah, and that’s definitely taken a few years to culminate and come by. There’s still the initial, primal defensiveness. But thankfully, at the end of the day it’s like, “Alright, we’ve got to do this and we’re going to make this happen. It’s going to be great, but it’s just not great right now.”
Is there anything else you wanted to add about the Victory North show?
I’m honestly just so stoked to play this venue. Big Frieda is the week after us and I’m just like, “What are we doing on this stage?” [laughs]. I’m thankful for the venue to be hosting us. I’m stoked. I just hope people come out and support.
It’s easy to support a big band coming through, but to support a local show is important so that we can get more local bands in this space.
And we can prove that Savannah may be small, but she’s mighty.