Photos by David Rubene
Drenge played to a weekend-sized crowd on a chilly Monday night at First Avenue. The trio’s 45 minute set featured songs from their newest album Undertow as well as some from their debut album Drenge. With clear influences in punk, most of the songs began and ended abruptly. Drenge dove headfirst into songs with rapid guitar playing that only got even more furious between verses, where they thrashed around the stage with reckless abandon. Aside from punk, songs like “We Can Do What We Want” had a rowdiness to them that is more aligned with garage rock. The band also kept their sound fresh with a watery guitar tone that is heard in many Pearl Jam songs. Aside from the vocals, Drenge has a grunge quality to them. A big contributor to that is the drumming of Rory Loveless. His thundering drum fills rolled through the venue and gave the band a much darker sound. The vibrations pounded on your chest like metal music, but were more controlled than the average headbanger. The vocals had an unmistakably British disaffected tone that worked well with the music. If it had been any more emotional or screechy it would have changed the feeling entirely. It looked like a ball of cathartic fun onstage, but the thrashing was not without consequence. At the end of the night Rob Graham’s bass couldn’t finish the last song and broke, but the other two-thirds of the band played on as the stage crew rushed to Rob’s rescue and brought him a replacement. It was a moment of adversity that showed their professionalism and talent.
Last week while the band was on the East Coast we were able to catch Eoin Loveless and ask him a few questions about the band.
How is the tour going?
It’s going really well. We are just setting up for our show in Philadelphia tonight. We finished up in the UK, which was really fun with a really great lineup. Just a really good time. This is the first time I feel like I have been on tour with a load of really good mates.
Do you see a difference in the crowd reception between America and Europe?
Yes. We have been playing a lot of 21+ shows so there is a massive group of people who aren’t able to get into our gigs, which is a bizarre feeling. But the people that we meet here are always very complimentary.
You were mentioned in the resignation letter of a politician (Tom Watson), can you tell me more about that?
We played Glastonbury Festival in 2013 and the Labour leader just really like our set and was posting things online saying how good we were and then a couple of days later he resigned and mentioned us in his letter. It was sort of bizarre.
Tell me about your newest album Undertow?
We were lucky enough to get the chance to record a second album, so we recorded with Infectious Records. It is like a getaway album, a crime record. It’s about people running away from the law.
You brought in Bassist Rob Graham for Undertow, is this a permanent addition?
Yes, permanent hopefully. As long as we can keep him. He is our best mate from high school and has always been super inspirational to me and Rory. It’s really great being on tour with him and having him around.