REAL LIVE EXPERIENCE
"Well, like any gig, you tend to remember the good bits, because it's more fun." Gareth Liddiard – frontman of blues/rock quartet The Drones – admits that his memory has a habit of retaining only those parts of a show which, whether it be out of distinction or vanity, are worthy of retention. The group has recently released A Thousand Mistakes, a live DVD with over four and a half hours of footage, and Liddiard sounds glad of the experience that compiling the DVD has afforded him; namely, of reliving so many live shows as they actually occurred.
"The gigs are peppered with good bits and shit bits. If we didn't have the footage, I'd probably just remember the good bits, but it's great to have it all there."
A Thousand Mistakes includes a selection of rare live footage filmed between 2005 and 2010 and a full show recorded in 2010 at Melbourne's The East Brunswick Club. The group also recorded an intimate live session at a warehouse in Fairfield, Victoria, inviting Hammond organist and keyboard player Steve Hesketh to play some of the group's popular, but rarely performed tracks. Or, as Liddiard describes them, "the ugly little step sisters that don't fit in”.
Although Hesketh won't be joining the group when they tour A Thousand Mistakes, including a jaunt by the ANU in early October, Liddiard says they still plan to base their playlist around some of the group's older, less-played favourites. "A lot of those songs are songs we can't, from a practical perspective, do live because of the personnel or equipment needed," he says. "However, we are going to base the tour on those [the Fairfield Warehouse Sessions] set lists as much as we can."
The group's most recent LP, 2008's Havilah clocked up a swagger of critical acclaim, including a nomination for the J Award's Album of the Year. Since then the group has done little writing; first Havilah's tour, followed by Liddiard's solo tour, followed by the recording and compilation of the DVD which Liddiard describes as "the biggest head-fuck”.
"During the whole DVD process we were out of our comfort zone. With albums, we know what we need to do at each stage of the process and know who to call for a certain result. The whole film thing was an alien process. It was multi-tiered, multilayered and, for the most part, very technical and quite boring and wearing."
As for the upcoming tour, Liddiard says that watching hours of the group's live footage in all its raw, unedited glory hasn't made him more self-conscious during their shows. "Not myself, but as a band, I can see things that your member of the general public wouldn't. I'm more like a coach, always having higher standards and higher expectations."
The Drones play the ANU Bar on Friday October 7, with support from Adalita. Tickets are $28+bf from Ticketek.