Live Review: Drenge, The Fleece (Bristol), 27.02.14


In February Drenge were handed the accolade of ‘Best New Band’ at the NME Awards, fittingly rounding off a year that had seen their stock rise thanks to string of spirited live dates and a critically acclaimed debut album. 24 hours later, and fans are queuing around the corner for doors as the Derbyshire brothers headed to Bristol and The Fleece. Given it’s timing, this was always likely to be a memorable show.

Opening up, Kagoule’s set is hazy yet melodic, with the vocal harmonies of guitarist Cai Burns and bassist Lucy Hatter giving the Nottingham three-piece an interesting angle. TRAAMS follow this up with an impressive showing. The awkward manner of frontman Stu Hopkins is offset by his robust vocals, but it is when Hopkins is away from the microphone that TRAAMS transmit their most captivating sound. The dreamy bass led instrumental that sees ‘Head Roll’ through to near conclusion proves an atmospheric highlight.

Drenge kick things off in a familiar fashion, launching in to opener ‘People In Love Make Me Feel Yuck’ and following it up with the rousing ‘Bloodsports’. The stirring crowd respond instantly to the high-octane delivery as the first in a long line of stage-divers takes the plunge.

Drenge’s show is one of relentless visceral energy, with the rawness of their sound carrying a quasi-metal edge to it in a live environment. The pair hardly draw breath in between tracks and when they do it’s to throw a drumstick or bottle at one another… The way that they feed off one another so naturally whilst performing is not the only thing that points to their siblinghood.

The year that the band have had certainly hasn’t seen them rest on their laurels. Tracks such as ‘Necromance is Dead’ and ‘Backwaters’ sound as fresh and convincing now as they did twelve months ago and if anything the vocals of Eoin Loveless are more assured than ever, maintaining that same snarly drone that has become so distinctive.

Resisting the temptation of a pre-meditated encore, Drenge close with the meandering album closer ‘Fuckabout’, which sees the previously mentioned crowd-surf enthusiasts start a stage diving conveyor belt. In all honesty, it loses its adolescent charm after the fifth or sixth rigid attempt, but the knowing smiles of Drenge appear as nostalgic acknowledgements. This is confirmed when Rory jumps in leaving Eoin to sign off with, ‘I don’t give a fuck about people in love, They don’t piss me off they just make me give up’ before putting down his guitar and following suit.

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