The Drones @ The Forum 26.04.13

The Drones
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

The alliterate King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard start the evening off.


At first glance the liveliness of their set seems a weird undercard choice, considering what most are expecting from headliner act The Drones. Having said that, their Pavement / The Thee Oh Sees influenced sound is well received with lead man Stu McKenzie's screech throughout the set and blues harpist Ambrose Kennedy's howl on 'Cut Throat Boogie' both lighting up The Forum.

However it's hard to escape the feeling that while this is all great fun, it seems to be lacking any great meaning, with King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard struggling to escape the live music paradox — the bigger the cast, the more suited they'd be to smaller venues.

The Drones, on the other hand, could never be accused of not aiming up in terms of the search for deeper meaning. And this is what makes them such a confusing band for some. It wouldn't be a stretch to call them the worst first date band in history, but with I See Seaweed they once again deliver an album of stories confronting the side of life most choose to ignore; refreshing for those of us who feel it important to acknowledge the complicated mess we live in.

It's the title track off I See Seaweed that they start off with. Showcasing the bands conflicting tightness against frontman Gareth Liddiard's rawness they move (though with more than one 7 minute track to play you could hardly say 'swiftly') through the new album. 'How To See Through Fog', 'They'll Kill You', 'A Moat You Can Stand In' run in track order — spiced with old favourites such as 2008's 'Minotaur'. Mid-set they segue to a cover of Kev Carmody's 'River of Tears' and you can tell Liddiard is at home with this song – confident, aggressive but steady, maintaining his energy throughout.

The band finishes off regular time with 'I Don't Ever Want To Change' off Gala Mill, with Liddiard calling out “ Thanks for hanging out, took awhile to warm up but you know - Who fucking cares!” This gets a standing ovation followed by the near-mandatory foot stomp encore call from the audience.

This results in the band returning to mess with our heads with a really terrible interpretation of the Jaws theme. This is followed by the oldest Drones song of the set, 'Shark Fin Blues', and the last song off the new album, 'Why Write A Letter That You'll Never Send'. The latter creating magic – when Liddiard drawls “Only trying to make the world a much less painful place”, you could hear a pin drop amongst thousands of people.

The song ends and the audience is on their feet, cheering the hopeful gloom.

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