The Drones - Thursday October 13, The Corner
Why has our mere year-long depravation of Drones felt like an eternity? We've been gifted a run of more than consolatory solo projects in the meantime, but the Australian music landscape just wasn't the same without The Drones. Thankfully the tour celebrating the launch of new live DVD A Thousand Mistakes looks like the beginning of a more absolute return of the group as a collective.
Those who caught the beginning of Adalita's opening set, in which she performed tracks from her freshly crowned self-titled Independent Album Of The Year, were greeted by a massive, fuck-off wall of guitar noise. Presenting an intoxicating sonic cyclone, guitarist J.P. Shiloh loosened up the audience's collective earhole as Adalita graced the stage. Something had to give, with J.P.'s amp appearing to pretty much combust one song into the set. After those technical difficulties were resolved, Adalita ran through the heartbreakingly beautiful tracks which make up her LP, consolidating herself as one of the most important, and unequivocally relevant, artists we have today. The repetitive beauty of album opener Hot Air was a triumph, utilising a basic looped riff and a painstakingly simple guitar melody.
Not to get hung up on aesthetics, but are The Drones the best looking band in Australia? Or has absence made the heart grow fonder? Anyhow, there was a steely determination as the dapper crew took to The Corner stage. Replete with Steve Hesketh on the Hammond organ, the night's setlist was built upon the fan-servicing warehouse session contained on A Thousand Mistakes, digging up some of the rarely performed tracks from The Drones back catalogue.
During the raucous run-through of I Don't Ever Want To Change (the lyrics of which give the live DVD its title), there was a moment where Gaz's eyes seemed to burn through his mop of hair - his aimless, intense stare portraying a rather scary image of a man possessed.
Underneath Gaz's cutting folk commentary, The Drones are above and beyond a cracking rock and roll band. As you could probably expect, Nail It Down ramped the night into something more than a little bit magical. After the frenetic stop/start dynamic of the track wound up, there was that rarely attainable moment, the crowd relishing that brief moment's pause to process that "holy shit" appraisal of what they'd just witnessed, before exploding into the greatest cheer of the night. Breathtaking.
Wrapping up their encore, Adalita and J.P. Shilo were brought onstage once again.
"We're going to do something that no-one's ever done before, and cover a song by this old songwriter you might know. Some Jewish guy," Gaz stated wryly, before kicking off with a rousing rendition of Dylan's Oh Sister. A rather special end to what was a resoundingly special night.
LOVED: How diverse the crowd was - ranging from amorous teens to crusty old punks.
HATED: That I couldn't make it to all three shows at The Corner.
DRANK: Enough to nullify any chance of being able to afford purchasing the DVD from the merch stand.