Reviewed onSunday July 24 (photo by Ashley Mar)
Reformations are a funny thing. Their now-infamous Big Day Out show was the last time At The Drive-In played Sydney, leaving the stage in a huff after less than 20 minutes and then breaking up a month later. A post-punk band reforming after more than a decade very easily runs the risk of becoming the very nostalgic heritage act they initially railed against, but 16 years on from that fateful show, they return to finish the set and prove they haven’t forgotten how it’s done.
From the openers ‘Arcarsenal’ and ‘Pattern Against User’, frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala hasn’t lost a step of his trademark moves, bouncing off every surface like a deranged James Brown and jumping into the crowd at the earliest opportunity. Omar Rodríguez-López uncharacteristically looks like he’s actually having a great time as they rip through the bulk of Relationship Of Command.
There is something oddly satisfying about a room full of reformed punk kids coming back to sweat it out again. Rather than remember the good old days, the band and crowd pretty much picked up right where they’d each left off, with a heaving pit and a resurrection of the art of crowdsurfing for good measure.
Bixler-Zavala was a his oddball self, but through the weird banter about telling your grandkids “we’re all gonna be cosmonauts” to “radiating at 300 megahertz”, there was a genuine appreciation for being able to come back. After all, they did turn their back on this city all those years ago – but even though we’re all dads now, we’re definitely happy to have them back.