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Drenge - O2 Academy, Oxford, 4/6/2014

  by Dastardly

published: 9 / 7 / 2014

Drenge - O2 Academy, Oxford, 4/6/2014


At the O2 Academy in Oxford, Dastardly watches sibling duo Drenge play an intense and anarchic set

“This song is a fuckabout,” sings Drenge singer/guitarist Eoin Loveless. And he’s not joking either...it’s discordant, stops where you don’t expect it and probably began life as a joke at a soundcheck. The fact that it’s now greeted with arm waving adoration by Oxford’s 02 Academy is one of the keys to this band’s fast swelling fanbase. Essentially they don’t give a monkeys, arctic or otherwise and by the simple act of not caring have brought with them all the freedom of abandonment you might have previously had to look for in a live Nirvana YouTube clip from 1991. Drenge, or ‘Druids of Stonehenge’ as they were know before they sensibly shortened their name, began life in 2011 in Castleton, Derbyshire. Well, at least part of that sentence is based on fact. Like many post-White Stripes bands they’ve saved money on bass player wanted ads and decided to go it alone with just guitar and drums. While this can often lead to the kind of fad cul-de-sac last seen on 'Brookside', Drenge have avoided any shortcomings by virtue of the fact that Eoin and Rory are brothers and possess a near visible telepathy on stage. What other band would have the drummer nonchalantly throwing water bottle caps and then the bottles themselves at the singer throughout the set. It’s' er, a bit touching actually. Together the siblings have conjured up a sound that owes much to Nirvana’s debut ‘Bleach’ if Kurt had grown up in the disaffected North of England rather than Washington State. Like Kurt, there’s something innocent about Eoin that is at odds with the white hot hurricane noise fuck of sound coming from the assortment of amps lined up behind him. In a world of guitars that have happily been overloading circuits since someone at the admiralty gave Jimmy Page the first fuzz box back in 1964, it’s great to see bands like Drenge and John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees still experimenting with the form and searching for new ways to mangle a guitar signal. There’s no slacking behind the kit either as brother Rory gives it a heads down pummelling, earning the round of applause that Eoin orchestrates for him from the crowd. Above this maelstrom Eoin plants foreboding Morrissey-esque tones, deep beyond his years into songs like ‘Running Wild’ and ‘Backwaters’. There’s drama as well when required as the brothers steer us through ‘Let’s Pretend’ to it’s eight minute conclusion. In short, you’d have to be a deaf, dumb and blind indie fund manager not to see the clean up potential for this band in a post-Arctic Monkeys (or ‘Arctic Conditions are No Laughing Matter for Bare-Arsed Monkeys’ as they were previously known) world. Last but not least, they also pass the ‘The Moanataur test’. This hallowed accolade has only been afforded to a very few bands, usually associated in some way with either Guided by Voices or Mogwai, so it is with some trepidation that I take Ed (aka The Moanataur) to the show tonight. About half way through I notice his head bobbing and there’s a wry smile across his lips. "Steppenwolf," he mutters in my ear. Nuff said.

Also at O2 Academy, Oxford

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live reviews

Deaf Institute, Manchester, 20/12015
Drenge - Deaf Institute, Manchester, 20/12015
Billy Seagarve watches Derbyshire band Drenge, who have recently expanded into a trio, play an intense show at the Deaf Institute in Manchester
Miles Kane
Barfly, 5/6/2013

digital downloads



Drenge (2013)
Abrasive and intense but bleakly humorous debut album from controversial Derbyshire-based sibling duo, Drenge

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