– by Isadora Jarosek
Melbournian garage darlings The Drones are currently stomping through their national Australian tour to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their breakthrough album Wait Long by the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies will Float By, as well as its recent (and long overdue) release on vinyl. It’s been two years since they last toured the country, and Perth’s Rosemount Hotel had the treat of hosting the band’s second show this time around.
Emerging from the murk of the late 90s with a raw sound and a mean edge, The Drones relocated from homely but uninspiring Perth to Melbourne and, following the critical acclaim of Wait Long, have enjoyed both national and international tours and a place in the hearts of many as something of a national treasure.
Batpiss kicked off the evening’s proceedings will a balltearer of a set, ripping straight into it with their signature sludge punk. The stir these lads have been causing over east comes at no surprise and their punchy, no-holds-barred attack is pretty hard not to love.
When the band of the hour did take to the stage, they wasted no time and cruised into “Shark Fin Blues”, much to the delight of an instantly captive audience. The songs of the Wait Long era hold the place of honour on this tour; the intensity of the music and its themes of desire and hopelessness have not aged.
The sneer, swagger and dry humour of frontman Gareth Liddiard was not lost on a jovial crowd, who seemed just as keen for his banter (“Football’s for people with no minds!”) and barbs (“…and your f***ing s**t city!”) as they were for his performance. His infamous stage presence was in fine form; he performs with a primal and unapologetic energy.
On that note, “Locust” was a definite favourite; Gareth’s strangled wails of “Georgie!” punch their way through this grim retelling of life growing up in a gloomy port town. The lengthy one-and-a-half hour set concluded with the dark but beautiful “Sitting on the Edge of the Bed Cryin,’ a haunting experience that held the Rosie’s main room spellbound and dissolved into layers of harsh, pulsating noise.
They were cajoled back on stage for one last hurrah, again, leaving the room shuddering with sonic waves. Ears ringing, heart pounding and avoiding the crushed glass covering the floor seems way to leave a Drones gig; let’s hope it’s not too long before they’re out west again, whether Gareth has something to say about it or not.
The Drones @ the Rosemount Hotel 22/08/15
Supported by: Batpiss
Photo Credit: Isadora Jarosek