The two Loveless brothers announced late last year that they would be playing a couple of live shows in Leeds, Manchester and London to debut some new material. You might think this would mean a more laid-back vibe at the Brudenell, ponderous and erudite possibly. You would be wrong.
First however was the support, Seize the Chair. This young rabble brought scuzzy psychedelia with them from Sheffield, and it didn’t take long for them to wind the audience into a frenzy. In particular the frontman is hypnotic, decked out in the same black crew t-shirt and black trouser combination as Sam Herring of Future Islands fame whilst also channeling his spirit. It might seem hyperbolic to put them in the same vein but his performance really is that good.
With echo-y vocals and distortion filled guitars they sounded like Brudenell favourites Hookworms and gripped the audience for the entirety of their set.
And then Drenge took to the stage and brought with them more thrashing than can possibly be imagined. They opened up with oldies ‘Gun Crazy’ and ‘Backwater’ to warm the crowd up before giving us any view of their unheard material. When they showed off the first of a couple of new songs, the difference was large but not jarring. If you were new to the band you might not even have noticed, but they were slower without being any less fierce, transitioning from thrashing to pogoing. The punchy repetitive chorus was vintage Ramones and the crowd embraced it as if it were years old.
Mid-way through, frontman Eoin swiped up and chucked away a fur vest that had been thrown onto the stage, it’s not quite underwear but shows a level of devotion from the fans nonetheless. There are rarely any solos in Drenge’s repertoire but the riffs that drive the songs are so thunderous and technical that to have done so would be an unnecessary extravagance. ‘Fuckabout’ was the sing-a-long moment with everyone venting teen angst through the refrain of “I don’t give a fuck about people in love, they don’t piss me off they just make me give up”.
‘Let’s Pretend’ finished it off, building and building for an insurmountable amount of time causing young members to crash in early and get rewarded with jeers. When the climax finally came it crashed through the Brudenell and Drenge left the stage exhausted, sodden with sweat, and in great stead to follow up their acclaimed debut with another excellent release.
photo: diymag.com, vanguard-online.co.uk