Having just won an award for best new band, Drenge, the grunge rock duo hailing from the quaint and peaceful town of Castleton are touring the UK and it’s safe to say they left quaint and peaceful behind as they stopped off for a sold out date at The Plug in Sheffield with support from Menace Beach and TRAAMS.
Menace Beach were the first of the support acts to take to the stage, gracing an already busy audience with a grungy psychedelic rock performance. They played a set comprised of material from their collection of existing Eps, setting a defiantly loud tone for the night. Frontman Ryan Needham’s scuzzy distorted vocals were accompanied by the higher pitched but equally as scuzzy voice of Liza Violet creating a hypnotic harmony.
Next on the list were 3-piece band TRAAMS and all in all honesty, tonight they were the weaker of the support acts. They intro’d to a prolonged instrumental before bursting into a set of sporadic guitar riffs and warped baselines with the howling vocals of Stu Hopkins. The sound was powerful and had the audience dancing but there was just something missing. TRAAMS live sound was definitely a more stripped back version of their album’s tracks.
After much anticipation, the grunge rock duo entered stage and the distorted sound of crunching riffs and furious drums launched the crowd into the set. Drenge opened with the epitome of teenage angst and frustration ‘People In Love Make Me Feel Yuck’. The crowd were quickly enthralled by the raw and untamed gravelly vocals of Eion Loveless and lyrics ‘I put my hands in the air / you crush my knuckles to dust’ gave the crowd ideas as they quickly turned into a frenzied chaotic mess. Drinks along with items of clothing were being flung into the air and fans had already began crowd surfing their way to the front even before the beginning of the third song.
The surname ‘Loveless’ became more and more seemingly appropriate as the set continued with darkly cynical songs from their self-titled debut album, such as ‘I Want To Break You In Half’ which featured the brute power of Rory Loveless thrashing on the drums and Eoin’s rough and ragged guitar riffs and gritty vocals. Fans clapped, chanting along to the ‘la la la la la la la la la la la la’ of ‘Nothing’ as Drenge showcased the result of when garage punk meets rock dynamics and for a stage where only two stood, the transcending sound was that of many with not a single element missing.
Despite pleas of ‘we want more, we want more!’ from the crowd, Drenge ended with the shoegaze fuzz that is ‘Fuckabout’. Lyrics ‘I don’t give a fuck about people in love / they don’t piss me off / they just make me give up’ channel the angst and the whole room yelled along showing this is a song that’s relatable to most singles out there. Rory proved to be the slightly more wild brother as he dived into the crowd to finish, whilst Eion stood laughing on stage as he finished his guitar sequence before exiting (the normal way) — an outstanding live act.