Gareth Liddiard @ Regal Ballroom
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Gareth Liddiard @ Regal Ballroom

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Jarrod Quarrell is an arresting artist. It becomes clear why the freedom of experimenting under the pseudonym of Lost Animal was a more enticing pursuit for Quarrell than St Helens, as great as that band was. Even with the talented Shags Chamberlain by his side, it’s Quarrell who captivates the attentive audience with his expressive mannerisms. It’s impossible to remain still when those soulful and broodingly exotic electro/dub/jazz/funk grooves kick in.

 

Gareth Liddiard is an artist that you genuinely want to see each and every tour. Liddiard brings everything and more to his live performance. Whether we care to admit it or not, we – as an audience member – want the artist’s live performance to justify the countless hours spent listening to their music and the passion with which we regard the artist. Liddiard solidifies our passion for his music with each performance.

 

When Liddiard stated early in his set, “this is already too much pressure” (it may’ve had something to do with performing in such a magnificent room where chandeliers, candles and a wedding-like table setup provided the antithesis to the usual pub venue), a fan responded: “You put pressure on us”. It’s true: when you see Liddiard soaking up each lyric as if he was languishing in the Sahara desert and sipping his last drop of water, it reminds us why music can be profound. Liddiard is consistently great – this quality is rarer than most people are comfortable to admit.

 

Having seen Liddiard tour his exceptional solo album, Strange Tourist, several times, it’s become a bonus treat to enjoy the singer-songwriter’s typically entertaining and hilarious between-song banter. Much has been said about the contrast between Liddiard’s morose, highly complex and literate songwriting and Gaz’s ultra-casual banter. Upon consideration, though, it’s only surprising if you deem every intellectual artist to be morbidly pretentious, which of course Liddiard isn’t. Any cynical artist possesses a dark sense of humour because good humour requires perspective. If a writer spoke exactly as they wrote, they wouldn’t have any friends. Liddiard is as comfortable being a down-to-earth larrikin as he is writing deep, insightful and challenging songs. The latter is why we admire him; the former is why we love him.

Liddiard’s bleak humour summoned much laughter (albeit, a little awkwardly) when he suggested – following his tale about suicidal Japanese businessmen – that Australia needed a place for people to go and top themselves (Tony Abbott was mentioned). Liddiard performed two Drones tracks, Your Acting’s Like The End Of The World and Shark Fin Blues (their forthcoming Japanese tour just reminds us that The Drones remain the most original representative of Australian music). To watch Liddiard perform Did She Scare All Your Friends Away and The Radicalisation Of D is to witness an inimitable genius. Liddiard is in a league of his own because he goes that extra mile each and every time.

 

BY CHRISTINE LAN

 

LOVED: It’s a Gareth Liddiard concert… everything. You must own Strange Tourist… for your own good.

HATED: See above.

DRANK: Bavaria.