The Drones are an incredible band on record. Live, it is fucking pandemonium. This was the fourth time I’ve been able to catch them live in the past couple years, all in completely different formats, including at Golden Plains Festival and again at the Sydney Opera House last year. However, this was the first time I’d seen them perform new material from their stunning new album Feelin Kinda Free which came out earlier this year.
I was a little late and unfortunately missed first opener You Beauty, but I headed in for main support Harmony, and can safely say I haven’t seen a venue so packed for the opening act in a long time. You can see why The Drones picked them – their ferocious energy was infectious and magnetising, raw, fun, intense and free. It set the tone perfectly for The Drones, and although I hadn’t heard them previously, I’m an absolutely converted fan and plan to see them many more times in future.
The Drones came on stage to one of the most unexpected, but amazing, opening songs that The Drones could have possibly ever come out with: Orinoco Flow by Enya. The entire crowd burst out laughing as much of the song played out. Surely enough, the band soon came out and began actually covering it live. It was fantastic, and they hadn’t even begun to play their actual music.
From there, the show moved from strength to strength. Gareth Liddiard and co. proceeded to traipse through all but two songs from their new album, which each as raucous and chaotic as you could have hoped for. To Think That I Once Loved You continues to hold the throne as my favourite rock song of the year so far, and to finally see it live, in all its glory, passion, power and intense, intense emotion, was one of the best live music experiences I’ve enjoyed in some time. The band were joined on stage by the three backing vocalists of Harmony, who also contributed to the album, and they added a haunting, melodic element to the chaotic lurch on stage. Another particularly special moment came midway, when, after a lengthy, dramatic introduction, they launched into I See Seaweed, the opening and title track of their previous album. Another of my favourite Drones tracks, one that I’ve enjoyed a number of times live now, continues to be fresh and possessed, as if it’s the first time all over again.
An amazing set from an amazing band. I’m so stoked I got to catch them again, and implore fans to check them out on their remaining dates:
Friday 20th May: 170 Russell, Melbourne
Saturday 21st May: Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
Saturday 28th May: The Tote, Melbourne (12-25 afternoon show)
Saturday 28th May: The Tote, Melbourne (over 18)
Words by Lauren Ziegler. All photos copyright Danielle Hansen / Howl & Echoes