The Drums at The Corner Hotel

– by Louise Richards

The Drums, Tuesday 2 December, The Corner Hotel

Supported by: Sunbeam Sound Machine

On the last stop of their Australian tour for their recently released third album Encyclopaedia, New York based The Drums left a crowd of pepped up teens dancing out the door of The Corner Hotel in Melbourne last night.

As a fan of the band since they dropped their self-titled new-wave inspired album back in 2010, I was eager to see them perform their new experimental sound from an album that represents quite a stylistic shift in their music.

Supporting band and Melbourne locals, Sunbeam Sound Machine, set up the excited crowd with an eclectic mix of surf rock inspired tunes. High energy soon switched to anxiety throughout the room when The Drums didn’t come on stage for almost 45 minutes.

But this nervousness quickly faded when lead singer Jonny Pierce stepped on stage and looked out to the crowd with his renowned death like stare, reminiscent of the creepy thin guy from Charlie’s Angels. Opening with the ever so ominous Bell Laboratories, I felt as though I was teleported to a Devo video clip from the 1980s.

It wasn’t too long into their set before they punched out crowd favourites Me and The Moon and Money, which had the audience singing more of the songs than Pierce himself. Many of these singing maniacs around me tried their hardest to replicate to obscure dance moves of Pierce but quickly learnt that such rigid and often haunting moves should be left to the expert, whose sanity was questionable at times.

They closed off their set with Down by the Water, an all-time personal favourite of mine. But this didn’t seem to be the case for the rest of the crowd which began to thin out not too long into the slow power-ballad.

My highlight of the night would be Jonny Pierce. It is very rare to find a lead singer of the indie-rock persuasion who can captivate an audience as well as he does without the aid of an instrument. With Pierce’s unique and powerful vocals coupled with his intriguing dance moves, countless times during their set I found myself with a smile fastened to my face and my eyes glued to the stage. It is a feeling The Drums induce time and time again that very few bands can replicate.

Photo credit: Sebastian Avila

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