“It wasn’t this quiet last night” slurs front man Matt Hitt at the crowd, who are about as flat and dull as a punctured bouncy castle. After seeing Drowners two years ago at Soho’s Borderline, a gig where everyone was blissfully jumping around drenched in each other’s sweat and beer, it was sad to see the Brudenell crowd standing so politely, as if waiting through another support act. I was confused as to why, though; with a voice like Julian Casablancas’ and Morrissey’s love child, peppered with the suave charm of Alex Turner, Matt Hitt was simply irresistible.
Effortlessly surging into each song, the New York band fed off each other’s energy as they swayed about the stage, cheekily winking at one another and chucking back rounds of much-needed Jäger bombs. To be honest, Drowners’ new album On Desire is pretty poor compared to the absolute tunes of their self-titled debut, but the bands’ undeniable and irresistible charm still soaks through.
People swayed to the skittering hi-hat of ‘Human Remains’, and the contagious chorus of single ‘Cruel Ways’ had even the bar staff nodding their heads. But it was the songs from their debut album that got people uncrossing their arms and throwing them up in the air instead. The opening riff of ‘Watch You Change’ had girls cheering and grabbing their friends at the first bar, and banger ‘Luv, Hold Me Down’ saw the first mosh of the night. During ‘Unzip Your Harrington,’ The crowd flirtatiously pointed at Hitt collectively on the line “Oh boy you look so suave,” and inhibitions were stripped back by the lively ‘Long Hair,’ which didn’t allow those jumping along to catch their breath.
Despite the turbulent attitude of the crowd, Drowners maintained their captivating energy throughout their set and that in itself was a testimony to how great they are as a band.