While you can take the volume and electric guitars out of the songs, with Gareth Liddiard on stage, the intensity of The Drones cannot be diminished.
Last night at the Vanguard, Liddiard performed the third of four shows on his current solo tour playing material from the last three records by The Drones. The show gave Liddiard a chance to play a few songs the band don’t typically play in their live sets as well as providing quieter, though no less harrowing, interpretations of some The Drones’ most enduring songs.
The intensity of the songs was tempered with Liddiard’s affable, funny and engaging manner between songs. Some of the introductions provided context for the songs (such as Careful As You Go’s genesis as a request from someone at the Canberra War Memorial) while others simply made us laugh (I Don’t Ever Want To Change’s irony being lost on the young).
But it was the songs I went to see and I was not disappointed. Playing for nearly 90 minutes meant I got to hear a lot of what I hoped I might. Careful As You Go and Penumbra, both from last year’s insanely excellent, Havilah, were welcome as they were the only two off the record I had yet to hear live. I’ve got the whole set now! And Shark Fin Blues…well what else can you say about it? One of the finest songs of the last decade.
While the set was full of memorable moments, it was a couple songs from Gala Mill that really resonated with me (same as last time, apparently). Words From The Executioner to Alexander Pearce and Sixteen Straws, both songs that deal with the lives of convicts in the early years of the colony, are so incredibly powerful to hear live. The tales, sung with Liddiard’s cracked and damaged vocals, cut right to the core of humanity’s morality, corruption, and search for redemption. Amazing stuff.
Just another memorable evening with the songs of The Drones then. Fucking hell…this band…
Cold And Sober
Careful As You Go
Shark Fin Blues
The Drifting Housewife
I Don’t Ever Want To Change
Words From The Executioner To Alexander Pearce
Your Acting’s Like The End Of The World**
* with Dan Luscombe
** with Dan Luscombe and Ben Salter
Ben Salter of The Gin Club opened the show. And while I wasn’t completely taken with his songs, his voice was in fine form. Unfortunately, the incredibly loud talking back at the bar (which actually did make it difficult to enjoy the set) got the better of Salter who “confronted” the chatting. It was kinda awkard. I’m not sure his set ever really got back on track after that.
Photos from the gig here.
Did you see Tiny Mix Tapes’ 5/5 review of Havilah this week?