Friday, March 18, 2011

Man crushes can really creep on you, can’t they?

Musically I tend to fall for the enigmatic frontman, generally one who can turn a hefty phrase plus also know there way around a fretboard or two. It’s not hard to see why - music, for me, is fundamentally modern poetry performed on stage without the wanky posing (for most parts). I’m a lover of the written word, so give me a beautifully crafted story over a clumsy chord progression any day and I’m essentially yours.

But sometimes, just sometimes, one of the accompanying musicians will grab my fancy. Usually its a rhythm section maestro (I mean, who doesn’t love someone who knows there way around a clever back-beat), but every so often it’s a flashy axe-man who tickles the bones. Recently it’s been The Drones’ guitarist Dan Luscombe - a man sometimes overlooked due to the sheer weight of personality displayed by his no-holds-barred band leader Gareth Liddiard.

I’ve always wielded a huge respect for the no-nonsense vibe Luscombe was able to bring to Liddiard’s stories (and, to be fair, Liddiard’s very own solid guitar work). There’s nothing new about what he’s doing, really: an easy equation of simple, clean guitar lines played on decent instruments and done so with absolute confidence. To be able to forge a distinctive guitar sound in this day and age is no easy feat, but to do it by bringing the whole equation back to absolute basics is impressive.

Tonight, I paid for a ticket to see ex-Augie March lead singer Glenn Richards ply the boards at the Northcote Social Club, but found myself increasingly attracted to the left-side of stage and the often-silhouetted figure of Luscombe creeping in. He straddled his side of the stage well with his axe of the moment (generally a clean Strat or a Tele put through a couple of effects) and barely moved. His guitar body stayed welded to his right hip, with the neck thrust to the left and slightly forward, like a loaded weapon. The nonchalant breezy air of his playing gave way to moments of complete tension as his shoulders hunched in and the strain of the upper reaches of the fretboard worked its way right through his neck muscles. Those moments built an enormous tension, which broke satisfying as his body floats back towards the drum riser. Man, that’s intense. It had been a while since I was musically smitten, but boy this lad with his shark-fin hair-do, barrel chest barely contained by his open-collared shirt and a don’t-give-a-shit swagger really does do things. Check him out.


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