Live Review: dirty three lost animal the tivoli

1 April 2012 | 9:48 am | Staff Writer

DIRTY THREE @ THE TIVOLI PIC BY STEPHEN BOOTH

DIRTY THREE @ THE TIVOLI PIC BY STEPHEN BOOTH

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Lost Animal may seem like an odd choice to open up tonight's bill, but anything would be difficult to fill such shoes. Lost Animal (aka Jarrod Quarrell) doesn't let such a daunting prospect sway him though, as he and his band swagger through material from 2011 debut Ex-Tropical. Aided by a band that includes veritable Melbourne to-go-to guy Shags Chamberlain, Lost Animal elongate the standard aesthetics and muddy them with the kind of gritty dirge that is likely to irk some as much as invigorate others. Much of the crowd is of the latter tonight, and with Quarrell's drily dark humour this proves to be a fitting introduction to the night's proceedings.

The stage is threadbare and simplistic, inadvertently becoming a blank canvas for the trio that is Dirty Three to splash their evocative masterpieces on with madcap affectation. Warren Ellis holds down the eloquent hobo pastiche with aplomb, and he is in fine form tonight, regaling a captivated audience with warped tales of abandon, abuse and acrimony, all with a devilish gleam in his eye that barely contains the lunacy broiling within. With an introduction that proffers the eighth level of hell as Gina Reinhardt's anus, these “stories of origin” have become as much of a staple as the music.

Dirty Three

But the music…wow. No amount of preparation or experience with their live show ever prepares for the incendiary performance that is proffered tonight. Whilst Mick Turner remains as always to the side, his crackling, spluttering guitar lines speaking volumes, it remains Jim White's job to somehow steal attention from the manic Ellis. Looking like a professor, White's exemplary drumming is in itself an institution, the constant patter-patter staccato punctuated by a fill or a gunshot snare. Such an enigmatic engine room barely sounds like a backbone for any song to form, which is why the Dirty Three remain one of the most arresting, innovative bands in musical history.

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Their latest album Towards The Low Sun has seen them marry the short form of musical composition with the elegiac majesty that is their modus operandi, and it's breathtaking to see this shorter slices interact and mingle with the more tested and tried back catalogue, a lot of which is also aired. Furnace Skies is as rambunctious as the band was in their early days, whilst Ashen Snow provides the elegance. But as always it's the staples of old that hold sway, and the trio do not disappoint. Summer Days They Drop Like Flies, Hope, Restless Waves, Sue's Last Ride, and the ubiquitous Everything Is Fucked all get their time in the sun. As this cacophonous group thrashes out with their last leg kick and the sound disappears into nothingness, the band leaves the stage to thunderous adulation. Truly one of the greats, as always in fine form.