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AT THE DRIVE-IN + Le Butcherettes at Hordern Pavilion, Sydney on 29/9/2017

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Tonight’s activities consisted of some Mexican Garage Rock and Texan Post-Hardcore. Sydney’s iconic Hordern Pavilion was the place to be for those who were lucky enough to have seen At The Drive-In in the past, but better yet, for those who questioned if they’d ever see the day. Well, tonight, feelings of nostalgia were reached and taken to the next level.

Coming out with a tribal dance of sorts, Teri Gender Bender graced the stage stamping away before speaking her native tongue with the Mexican flag behind her, making for one grand backdrop. If Chris De Burgh were in the audience, he’d be more than likely to invade the stage, breaking into “Lady In Red”, as Teri wore a red dress in style.

“Burn the Scab”, the opening track to Cry Is For the Flies (2014) opens the set tonight. “Demon Stuck in your Eye” is another song we are treated to from the phenomenal album.

Drummer Alejandra Robles Luna and bassist Marfred Rodríguez-López back the fat riffs of Teri who delivers on “I’m Getting Sick of You”, from the debut LP, Sin Sin Sin (2010), and “Boulders Love over Layers of Rock” another off Cry Is For The Flies. It is the standout of Teri’s keyboard that is the main highlight of the tight set, expressed well in my personal favourite, “The Leibniz Language”.

Finishing off a set – which was over before you could tie your shoelace – was the brilliant “Henry Got Love”, full of indie goodness enough to wipe The White Stripes of their stripes like a destructive tsunami. It is no wonder Le Butcherettes scored the support slot tonight, with ATDI guitarist Omar Rodríguez having produced their previous albums and once a member of the band. Now signed to Mike Patton‘s Ipecac Records, it is also no surprise with the talent on display tonight.

Next up was the reason most were here tonight to reunite with a flame that was so near to going out. The El Paso, Texas natives, At The Drive-In took to the stage with the response of kings blasting out with “Arcarsenal”, taken off the stellar Relationship of Command (2000). To think the band would split a year after its release and now come back with the pure gold of in•ter a•li•a (2017), “No Wolf Like The Present” is the first taste we get from the new record and new songs mold in well to those of that groundbreaking album many thought would be their last.

The only two songs featured on recordings other than the two aforementioned albums were the beautiful “198d” from the Vaya (1999) EP and “Napoleon Solo” from In/Casino/Out (1998). One could not complain, with the number of treats from Relationship of Command, with “Enfilade”, “Cosmonaut”, “Sleep Walk Capsules”, the spoken word of “Invalid Litter Dept”, and the anthemic “Pattern Against User” spreading nostalgia across the pavilion.

”Continuum”, “Hostage Stamps”, “Call Broken Arrow”, “Pendulum in a Peasant Dress” and “Governed by Contagious” – all new songs -blended into the set as if they had been written twenty years ago. The band has not aged one bit, with the water from Texas borrowing from the fountain of youth a possibility. Tearing down the roof of the Hordern one last time with the set closer to end all set closers, that being the crowd favourite “One Armed Scissor”.

Tonight has been one night to keep in the old memory storage as it was one costly experience not to erase anytime soon. May At The Drive-In and Le Butcherettes stick around for a long time as rock is alive and well, and it’s great bands and fans like this who are keeping that heart pumping.

Photos by David Youdell.

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