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Drenge - Barfly, 5/6/2013

  by Gillian Fish

published: 25 / 5 / 2013

Drenge - Barfly, 5/6/2013


Gillian Fish watches young Derbyshire-based brothers and indie rock duo Drenge play a taut and highly-charged set at The Barfly in London

We arrive at The Barfly in time to catch the second support band, the Wytches, Upstairs it is already packed full, so there is not really any choice but to remain at the back and just listen rather than watch! This band already have quite a lot of hype surrounding them, and, after having their guitars stolen in Birmingham the night before, it is probably fair to say some people had turned up early due to several mentions of the band on Twitter earlier in the day. After Fender loan the Wytches guitars for the London show, the band are able to perform their form of psychedelic rock (which they themselves describe as surf doom) to the crowd. Lead singer Kristian Bell’s voice has an almost eerie quality and is really quite captivating. The fact we only see the top of his wild hair from the back of the room and not much else doesn’t matter because the sound makes up for the lack of visuals. The band, originally from Peterborough and now based in Brighton, could be accused of jumping on the psychedelic bandwagon, but their sound although obviously influenced by that genre is heavier with standout track being the excellent ‘Digsaw'; I would definitely recommend checking them out. After the Wytches have finished we are able to move a bit closer to the stage in time for headliners Drenge. The two brothers from Castletown, Derbyshire, who look like butter wouldn’t melt, wander around The Barfly unnoticed before taking to the stage and showing that looks can be deceiving. Drenge launched straight into their set with the brilliantly-titled ‘People in Love Make Me Feel Yuck’. The short song is the first one I heard from this band before I knew anything about them and it instantly grabs you. It definitely made me want to see more of these guys. Despite only having a combined age of 40, the brothers sound like they have been doing this for many more years than they have. Since I saw Drenge for the first time at the beginning of the year, they have become tighter and now have a full set of fast-paced songs. On single ‘Dogmeat’ singer and guitarist’s Eoin’s taut guitar riffs and brother Rory’s relentless drumming are equally as engaging, Their cover of ‘I Just Wanna to Make Love to You’ (changing the lyrics to ‘I Don’t Want to’) with Eoin delivering them in his signature snarl meanwhile is pretty much genius. I couldn’t really write about this gig without mentioning the rather annoying (and rather drunk) couple in front of us, who seemed more interested in each other than watching the band and talked loudly during several of the songs. Unfortunately the more notoriety a band get the more chance there is of coming across people like this at their gigs; luckily Drenge were loud enough to drown them out. Recently released ‘Backwaters’ is perhaps the band's most “polished” song with Eoin’s voice sounding clearer, but it still retains their raw, gritty quality and has potential to be huge. The penultimate song ‘Let’s Pretend’ really is something quite special, with its scuzzy guitar reverberating through you; stripped back rock and roll at its best. So, I think it’s fair to say Drenge impressed, and I’m looking forward to seeing them playing on much bigger stages in the future. The photograph that accompanies this article was taken by Tanya Quick.

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