What can I say about The Drones’ performance that hasn’t been said about Norwewgian weather. It was tumultuous, thundering and left me wet to the bone. If you’ve never seen this band live, firstly try and get out more they did play both Big Day Out and Laneway Festival for Christ’s sake but secondly and more importantly be sure to jump on the next opportunity to see them you get.
The fact that bands like Grinspoon, The Living End and Faker garner well over three times the radio play that The Drones do is one of many signs that the local music industry is not only ill, but is so deluded and infirm due to the sonic syphillis that has infected it since the 80s and arguablely earlier that it’s completely lost it’s mind. The way Gareth Liddiard leads the band through idiosyncratic tempo and key changes before launching into a full volume assault on your ears drums in awe inspiring.
Opening the set with Nail It Down, the opening track from their latest album Havilah, The Metro was literally shaking with excitement as Liddiard’s gravelly vocals carved through the crowd like a rusty butcher’s knife. As usual drummer Mike Noga and bassist Fiona Kitschin played their parts with that sort effortless grace that makes you think, ‘hey I could do that,’ and always ends later with you at home, alone, having once again discovered you gimpish retardation when it comes to playing music.
I spent most of the set violently moshing with some friends despite the fact most of the crowd were the quiet types and this coupled with the absurd ammount of booze I imbibed means I don’t have a very clear recollection of the songs played. I definitely heard the Minotaur and I could have sworn they busted out Jezabel and a few others from Gala Mill and Wait Long By The River, but there was a lot of material from the new album, all carried off with a professionalism and passion unparralled in Australian rock music today.
Their last song, whose name eludes me, was by far the standout track of the night. Starting out with a jarring bassline, Liddiard and other guitarist Dan Ludscombe let loose with heavily distorted sections of fretboard bashing glory. The song finished with an escalationg series of plodding breakdowns, each louder and more fervent than the last, that built into afire and brimstone crecsendo that left the audience begging for more.
I can’t stress how could this band is. Their albums havesuch a raw and earnest quality that you’d think they’d struggle to recreate it live, but having toured Australia, Europe and The US almost without pause over the past few years, the band are as well oiled a musical machine as you’re likely to find anywhere in the world right now. If you haven’t heard them, go buy their albums. If you’ve heard them but never seen them live, go buy a ticket to their next show. If like me you’ve heard them and seen them live, well there’s only one thing left to do… buy tickets to see them at ATP New York where they’ll be playing there first album, Wait Long By The River & The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By, in it’s glorious entirety.
Photos: The Drones - The Metro Theatre, 25th April 2009 - Music Feeds