PBS Drive Live is a yearly festival of five evenings of live music, broadcast to radio. The PBS radio station opens up its doors to the public, so they can watch this fantastic parade of live local acts take to the studio. Tuesday drive time on PBS every week is Mixing Up The Medicine presented by Erica. The lineup featured RVG, Miss Destiny and ORB for a couple of hours of solid rock. The audience packed into the PBS studio for the slightly odd experience of watching a band play behind a glass window. Visibility was low depending on the angle people were watching from, but a TV screen made sure no one missed out.
Opening up the evening was RVG. They played so well and intuitively together that they resembled a single musical organism. Their beautiful guitar tones were cruisey but not in a fun chilled way, more in a break-your-heart way. Frontwoman Romy Vager’s aggressively sad vocals were haunting, and her performance was so raw and vulnerable that the audience couldn’t help but be moved watching her. Quality of Mercy has been a radio favourite lately and for good reason, it’s a beautifully constructed tune that covers the heavy topics of corporal punishment and the power of mass media. RVG finished on That’s All which had many audience members singing along, and quite probably shedding a tear or two.
Melbourne punks Miss Destiny brought the classic rock’n’roll vibes. Harriet Hudson’s scorching vocals provided the perfect accompaniment to the fast guitars and driving bass lines. In the headbanging Law And Order she growled “the only thing worse than law is order, watch out ‘cause I’ve got something for ya.” You wouldn’t want to get on Miss Destiny’s bad side, but the audience got the feeling from their set that the warning is more for dickhead blokes than anyone else. The two guitarists, Harriet Hudson and Harriet Stewart, both provided some killer guitar solos throughout. Their music sounds fantastic on record but there’s something about a live rock show that just can’t be replicated.
ORB were last to hit the studio with their progressive heavy psych brand of rock. Think lots of reverb and fuzzy, buzzing guitar tones that sounded almost futuristic at points. They had a great energy filling up the tiny studio room. Songs like First And Last Men were full of chilled, complex jams and the crowd loved it. All in all, it was a stellar night at PBS. There’s something particularly special about watching a radio broadcast live from the studio and seeing the presenter and music right there in front of you.
By Prani Harrison
Highlight: Miss Destiny shredding.
Lowlight: It got pretty warm in the small studio space before the fan was turned on halfway through.
Crowd Favourite: That’s All by RVG.