After witnessing the opening date of their first UK tour at the infamous Brudenell Social club two years ago, I was eager to catch the Drenge boys in Leeds once again.
With a second LP, Undertow released in April of this year, they could be forgiven for focusing their set on the appropriate promotion of this latest release. Thankfully they chose otherwise and treated the crowd to a perfect balance, rousing us with 2013 favourites ‘Gun Crazy’ and ‘Backwaters’ early on. Their signature heavily distorted chords and enigmatic vocals from frontman Rory Loveless were strong from the offset. Their raw mix of grunge and blues-rock influences remain a refreshing change after the wave of indie four pieces that came throughout the noughties. They first appeared on Jools Holland in 2013 and have continued to impress since, in the way that Royal Blood burst onto the scene after endorsement from Arctic Monkeys with their Finsbury Park shows.
The two brothers have certainly matured since that first gig at Brudenell and have since enlisted a bass player, Rob Graham. Although the sheer noise that could be made by the original guitar and drums set-up was impressive, this latest LP is a cut above musically and professionally with lower frequencies punching through to fill the void. That’s not to say they have lost their playful element however, emphasised when Rory leapt into the crowd for a quick surf post-set.
They close with ‘Let’s Pretend’ from their self-titled first LP Drenge. Their atmospheric extended intro to this song set the tone for what was to be a sinister finish. It certainly sparked something in the young crowd as they descended into the evening’s final mosh-pit – a fitting end.
Drenge impressed as always with a typically charismatic and tight performance, full of contrasting breakdowns and complex drum rhythms for which all three members must be commended.
photo: Samuel Lewis