ReviewedSaturday September 28
“The sky is blue / And I am too,” sang The Drones’ Gareth Liddiard, but he shouldn’t have been, ‘cause we were all chuffed as shit to be there. And hidden somewhere beneath the sorrow of opening track ‘I See Seaweed’, I think he was chuffed too. A mixed-bag audience met the five-piece with adoration, happily bopping along for an hour and a half as we all beamed with pride at our Aussie success story.
Following the opener was recent hit ‘How To See Through Fog’ in a much less tight performance. But this doesn’t mean bad – far from it. Liddiard’s yelps and wails weren’t manufactured or contrived, but free. His words fell organically from his lips as if this wasn’t just a job for The Drones, nor was it mere fun. Nope – writing painfully honest songs and rocking your socks off is crucial to Liddiard, Fiona Kitschin, Dan Luscombe, Michael Noga and Steve Hesketh’s survival.
By the time 2005 single ‘Baby Squared’ was played the audience had really loosened up, cheering the occasional “yew” and crunching plastic beer cups beneath them. And though I know it isn’t possible, I could swear even the band’s instruments twanged with Aussie accents. But ‘Baby’ just ain’t who The Drones are now. It might be a favourite that got the crowd riling with excitement, but the fivesome just didn’t believe it with so much conviction. I mean, they’ve been around since ’97 and, as you’d hope, have moved on.
The encore saw The Drones joined onstage by supporting act Harmony for a Leonard Cohen cover. A song of helplessness and disappointment, ‘Diamonds In The Mine’ fits almost seamlessly with the tone of The Drones’ 2013 album I See Seaweed. But despite singing “There are no letters in the mailbox / And there are no grapes upon the vine / And there are no chocolates in the boxes anymore / And there are no diamonds in the mine,” Liddiard didn’t leave us on a sad note. The two bands shared their microphones, danced with us in rapture and sent shivers down our spines. A sense of awesomeness reverberated between the performers and crowd and I couldn’t help but think: this is how music should be.