Live Review: The Drones, Deaf Wish, Deep Heat

4 February 2016 | 2:22 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

"The results sound like something between Built To Spill and early days Sleater-Kinney with an underground aesthetic..."

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It's that time of year again for local institution PBS' love letter to live music: Drive Live. Over the course of the week a stackload of bands invade their Collingwood studios and today's session during the Mixing Up The Medicine radio show is headlined by The Drones. The somewhat unconventional nature of these gigs is heightened upon entering the space. It's half-trying to replicate the live environment, complete with a makeshift bar, but for the area in which the lucky few present see the Drive Live live experience, bands are on the other side of a small, glass-fronted studio with a PA and television screen showcasing the action. It's kind of interesting and fun, but a bit lame at the same time.

As with the above gripes, from a live sound perspective 'tis a little shit (can't comment on the broadcasted results) and it kind of feels like hanging out in a band's practice space. Deep Heat open and, despite a few snags, they nail their brief set. They sound like something between Built To Spill and early days Sleater-Kinney with an underground aesthetic, all the while showcasing an original and intriguing flair.

Deaf Wish follow and are far more brash. The band don't hold back, powering through as many tracks as they can in their allotted time. The room is bloody full, rendering any chance to see what's actually going on challenging. From where we stand it all sounds a little quiet, which ruins the illusion of it all. The tracks themselves are quite varied, ranging from short and fast to more fleshed-out, Eddy Current Suppression Ring-style stabs. Still, there is nothing wrong with having a good listen and removed clap from the back of the pack.

For any fan it is a fortunate experience to be here for The Drones tonight, as it marks one of the first few times we can hear some of the self-described "weird" material from their pending monolith. They begin with I See Seaweed, which sounds as if it has bled over to recently explored ideas. From the get-go, Gareth Liddiard is more lively and passionate in his delivery than he has been in some time. An unannounced new song is next (and sounds like a raga as depicted by The Birthday Party) while fellow newbie Taman Shud follows. Performed live, this latter song falls in line with conventional droneage and feels like the band's new The Minotaur, which comes next. The hypnotic, antagonising bassline for The Miller's Daughter then kicks in and sees both sound and performance pushed to their limits. Liddiard and Dan Luscombe take charge, sonically tearing us apart. This caps off the set and painfully leaves us wanting more. But, hey! That's good live music for radio!

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