PBS Drive Live: 10 years of bringing Australia’s best music, live to you

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PBS Drive Live: 10 years of bringing Australia’s best music, live to you

Photo by Naomi Lee Beveridge
Words by Tammy Walters

Melbourne’s PBS 106.7FM celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2019 and in 2020, they’ll mark ten years of their revolutionary in-studio gig series, Drive Live.

The glisten of the past decade shines brightly with performers such as King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Spencer P. Jones, Courtney Barnett, Tropical Fuck Storm and Amyl & The Sniffers sharing the honorary platter over the years, mirroring the expansive nature of the station’s playlist rotations.

This year, the program boasts Sleep D, Danika Smith with choir and Big Yawn on night one, Bad//Dreems, Angie McMahon and Birdz when we go again. The likes of Coda Chroma, Elizabeth, Grace Cummings, Clowns, Spiral Perm, Baby 8, RVG, Surprise Chef and Tanzer fill out the remaining nights across the week, Monday February 3 – Friday February 7.

Danika Smith with choir Melbourne folk artist Danika Smith will be helping to kick things off on Monday February 3. A 2011 triple j Unearthed High finalist, her music blends acoustic melodies with soulful undercurrents, as demonstrated on last year’s single ‘Suit Of Armour’. Smith’s airy vocals will be backed by a choir when she takes to the PBS Drive Live stage, making for one mesmerising performance.

“PBS strives daily to represent a thriving, diverse and engaged music community and this is reflected in our Drive Live bookings,” PBS Marketing and Events Coordinator Aleisha Hall says. “When curating the lineup, we look for established and emerging artists who reflect the eclectic and varied nature of PBS. From jazz to punk, rock to soul – PBS is a beautiful amalgamation of many music genres.”

The lineup selection was, and continues to be on brand with the 40-year deep mission of PBS in supporting and fostering the ever- evolving, ever-erratic, and ever-exciting local music community.

PBS’s mission and values have birthed a number of memorable moments within the Drive Live setting, with Hall’s stand-out moments including, “The day it was 40-plus degrees and the crowd was halfway out the door while The Drones smashed all sound restrictions and the studio – there were some sweaty folks that day.

“[Then there was] Sampa The Great with her full band and REMI just popping in for a quick vocal – nothing says community like that. And Aldous Harding perched on a stool with nothing but her voice, an acoustic guitar and a silent studio audience.”

It’s moments like this that couldn’t happen without PBS’s passionate staff members and plethora of volunteers, and stems throughout their multitude of programs, sessions and events.

“Music and community radio are deeply intertwined, each complementing and supporting the other in a constant dance that makes no sense as a solo,” she says. “PBS is deeply embedded in the live music community because our people are deeply embedded; from the staff members who are personally active as musicians, DJs, and sound engineers, to the over 400 volunteers who bring their passion and music knowledge to the station every day and make this thing possible. We maintain and grow with it because we’re part of it.”

Moving into the next decade, growth will play a major role in the station’s next steps. PBS 106.7FM will be shifting from their iconic Easey Street location to their new home at the Collingwood Arts Precinct. While the Drive Live event and station’s birthday call for celebration, it is also the end of an era, a sad goodbye to the past and a warm hello to the present and future PBS.

“To celebrate the 10th Drive, in what might be the last year at the Easey St station is the perfect end to an amazing decade of music, and one that I think will be remembered for years to come,” Hall explains.

“Drive Live at Easey St has always been about showing real radio in the making. The artists perform in the studios giving the audience a somewhat fish bowl experience of live music. The exciting part of our new home is the purpose-built performance space for all live performances, which will surely add a new level of depth to Drive Live moving forward.”

The 10th PBS Drive Live hits Easey St in Collingwood from Monday February 3 to Friday February 7. It’s totally free but RSVP is required for each session.