The Drones have kept a relatively low profile of late, so it's great to see them back treading the rock and roll boards once again, delivering a track by track run through of high watermark release Wait Long By The River And The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By. Amazingly it's been ten years since the record detonated upon the musical landscape, and tonight's epic reading amply displays exactly why it's held in such high esteem among real-deal music aficionados.
A decent sized crowd is on hand from the get-go to greet tonight's opening act, the acerbically monikered Melbournites Batpiss. 'The Piss' come north with a big reputation, and their sludgy, monochromatic take on the art of punk delivers a suitably intense commencement to the night's proceedings. The blunt force trauma of their sound wins plenty of ears, locking into some impressively incessant grooves as they showcase a swathe of tracks from their albums Biomass and Nuclear Winter.
Keeping faithful to the album's original running order, Shark Fin Blues tears open the floodgates upfront, it's bruised and brooding intro morphing into a ragged glory of screaming salvation that rises to heavenly catharsis and beyond. Drawing breath only briefly, uptempo fist pumper Baby keeps the rage burning, before The Best You Can Believe In showcases the multi faceted strength of The Drones as a unit, with the sweetly cooed 'na na na' backing vocals of Bassist Fiona Kitschin, ably supported by second guitarist Dan Luscombe, highlighting the epic sense of sweetness and clout the band so effortlessly extol.
It's hard though to keep ones eyes too far removed from front man and guitarist Gareth 'Gaz' Liaddiard, who strangulates and enunciates every profound utterance from deep within the sinewy fibres of his being, cajoling forth every last drop of emotion with a bug eyed intensity that few artists can match and nary none can imitate...he means it man...
If things can't get any more intense, then the spine tingling, gut churning Locust brings it all crashing down. It's profound lyrics of heartbreak and swelling tidal wave of sound enough to implode concrete structures as it rises and consumes the mesmerized throng.
The highlights roll on thick and robust across the back end, Sitting on the Edge of the Bed Cryin', Another Rousing Chorus You Idiots providing little respite when absolutely none is required or expected, each moment further hammering home the band's reputation as truly one of this countries finest live acts.
The band return for one final salvo, upping the intensity quotient even further (it that's possible) with their in-the-red take on Kev Carmody's classic number River of Tears.
At the end of it all one is left cleansed and satiated. The Drones still have 'it', and on the strength of this unified display of ragged catharsis their star will still continue to burn brightly for as long as they choose. A glorious re-visitation...