Drenge kicked off the year with a boisterous night of riffing, cheering and sweating at the Brudenell Social Club. Since the release of their self-titled debut album in 2013, the sounds of northern heavy rock have experienced a slight lull. But Eoin and Rory Loveless opened up what is set to be a busy year for them with a loud crack of crisp, juvenile lyrics and overdriven guitar, breathing life into the definitive gig venue in Leeds.
Transforming the brother duo into rock threesome, bassist Rob Graham joins the show to fill out the gut wrenching sound – cementing a volatile sonic gap that was just asking to be filled. The group jumped on stage and blasted out ‘Running Wild’ to an enormous surge of action in the crowd. Three songs later and they still hadn’t stopped. A rendition of ‘Bloodsports’ encouraged more moshing and crowd surfing, yet still Drenge put on an uncomfortably calm performance, as if performing behind a brick wall.
Their sound, which reaches into the depths of rock culture seemingly making constant reference to other groups, yet never feels like a pastiche.
Warming up for a second album release and large-scale tour later in the year, Drenge dropped new song ‘We Can Do What We Want’ to the somewhat confused response from the crowd. The same heavy crunch of sound, only this time it’s unknown, yet somehow familiar; you can definitely hear the sounds of The Clash hiding somewhere. Once the crowd gets the hang of the riff, they’re off again. Speaking to Eoin before the show, he notes his care in not giving the fans too much, too soon. Instead, easing in a new song here and there is their game plan.
There’s one thing that Drenge nail every time. They don’t take themselves too seriously; the nonchalant reality of ‘Fuckabout’ reminds you that they’re just here to have a good time. When questioned about their appearance on David Letterman this month, Loveless modestly echoes their approach to gigging. They don’t expect an audience. They play for themselves.
It’s difficult to describe in words what Drenge sound like; they sort of exist as their own thing. Perhaps they are best described as a feeling. A feeling of modern rock and roll. Needless to say, Drenge are definitely back.
By Thomas Rosser