Review and photography by Robert Barrett
The title of Drenge’s latest album ‘Strange Creatures’ seems to sum up the band’s recent history pretty well. The band have mutated over the years into a hulking four piece grunge beast, a far cry from the simple double act they used to be. Under the cloak of darkness they arrived at the O2 Institute, hungry and ready to devour Birmingham whole.
Due to a last minute drop out from gothic rockers The Wytches, VALERAS were tasked with opening the show. The band carried an onstage confidence of an act that had played stages this size before. Frontwoman Rose oozed swagger. With strong riffs and strong style, they are one to keep your eyes peeled for.
The stage was lit a bloody red colour as Drenge cut through two tracks off the new album ‘Prom Night’ and ‘Bonfire of the City Boys’. Frontman Eoin no longer spends all show strapped to the guitar. Released from the shackles he sauntered across the stage, with crazed dance moves casting Nosferatu like shadows on the back curtain. An alternate, slower version of ‘Backwaters’ caused a giant circle pit to form, before the song reverted back to its original state causing mass chaos with its blistering grunge riffs.
Crowd surfers revelled in the band’s one, two, three punch of ‘Running Wild’, ‘Bloodsports’ and ‘This Dance’, for me this was the peak of the set, and showed the energy the new band set-up could bring to both the new tracks and the old favourites. Yes it’s no longer the in your face slasher film sound that defined the first album, it’s evolved into something more dramatic and heavier, a classic universal monster movie brought to life on stage.
A furious take on sing along anthem ‘We Can Do What We Want’ ended the set. The band crept back into the shadowy twilight of the night. The creature walks among us, and its name is Drenge.
Setlist: Prom Night
Bonfire of the City Boys
Face Like a Skull
Never See the Signs
People in Love Make Me Feel Yuck
When I Look into Your Eyes
We Can Do What We Want
(The original version of this article was first published on Gigjunkies http://www.gigjunkies.com/band-reviews/drenge-valeras-at-o2-institute-birmingham-uk-6th-april-2019/)