No one in the crowd was quite expecting what Drenge brought to Resident for their Brighton record store performance. The boys have recently been embarking on a small in-store performance tour around selected UK venues, aligning with the release of their new album, Strange Creatures.
Although Drenge often tours as a four-piece these days, it was clear the performance was going to be different from the single microphone and bass guitar arrangement. Special recognition must be awarded to their efforts dressing up their limited set-up with artificial flowers and lamps with multicoloured light bulbs – a nice touch.
Not even a year since their last Brighton appearance at The Old Market, the band always offers their own flair to their performances. Anyone else who attended last April will remember their ceremonial ribbon cutting, perhaps to celebrate their first headline tour in three years, perhaps just because it was hilarious.
“We’re going to play synth-poppy tracks from the new album”, Eoin announces sipping from his can of lager. Rory, who has ditched his drumkit for bass for this performance, stands quietly in between tracks, apart from to make jibes at his older brother’s jokes.
The crowd certainly look confused, but they are quick to accept the band’s new, temporary sound for the evening. They hit play on their synth-orientated backing track and away they go with their punchy single, ‘Autonomy’.
The familiar booming bass of ‘Never See the Signs’, their latest single, plays over the speakers. This track does not stray too far from the album recording, with Rory carrying the record’s strong basslines into ‘No Flesh Road’.
Drenge treats the crowd to a song from their back catalogue, with a menacing rendition of ‘We Can Do What We Want’ from Undertow, the band’s second album. The track was unrecognisable without the grungey opening riff, but instead with its newfound slowed tempo paired with the synth and Eoin’s haunting voice.
After a strong vocal performance from Eoin with ‘When I Look into Your Eyes’ and ‘This Dance’, his bleak, but poetic lyrics conclude with the title track of their third album. ‘Strange Creatures’ neatly ties together their special in-store performance.
Whatever the reason for Drenge’s 80s synthpop reimaginings of Strange Creatures – it certainly worked well – but I would implore the band to keep guitars in their live music set-up. The brothers concluded their set with a signing for fans who had purchased hard copies of the new record.
Strange Creatures by Drenge is out now, released through Infectious Music. Their European tour continues this week, concluding in Amsterdam on Friday 19th April.
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