Photography: Gaz Jones / @GJMPhoto

DRENGE

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  • PINS
EVOL @ The Kazimier 14/4/15

With the addition of a back-up vocalist and synth player, there’s not much room for PINS to move on the Kazimier stage, but they more than make the most of it with opener Lost Lost Lost, a bolshy number that neatly sets the tone with fizzy riffs and elements of Siouxsie, Crystal Stilts and Warpaint.

Possessing the confidence of a band on the brink of bursting out of indie circles and into the mainstream consciousness, PINS’ set is all glitter, pink lighting and spiky guitars, backed up with shimmering synth lines and a healthy dose of feminine fire that’s perfectly rounded off with a punked-up cover of Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want To Have Fun.

From girl power to sheer testosterone-driven malice: screams and a fair amount of jostling amongst the packed-out crowd – which seems to dramatically swell in both size and enthusiasm every time the headliners roll through town – herald the arrival of Yorkshire lads DRENGE on the stage.

From The Kinks to Van Halen and even, err, The Osmonds, history is littered with great bands borne from the efforts of siblings. Maybe it’s that eerie telepathic link that twins have, or maybe it’s less Children Of The Corn and more just the fact that your bandmate lives in the bunk bed above yours; whatever it is, kin just seem to ‘get it’ better than kith ever can.
That’s no less true for Drenge, who up until last year had been limited to just frontman Eoin and drummer Rory Loveless, though they’ve since picked up a bassist in the form of ex-Wet Nuns frontman Rob Graham. It shows a little that the band are still finding their feet as a three-piece, but happily the extra element now added to an already flawlessly volatile mixture lends low-end weight to their sound, particularly on tracks from their sophomore effort Undertow.

 

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Swapping a smidgeon of the raw edge of their first album for a fuller and more rounded approach, tunes like opener Running Wild and the combustible We Can Do What We Want show off more complex parts than were ever attempted when Drenge were just still a duo.
Still, the bass doesn’t yet seem to have tapped into that unique sibling telepathy, and as a result it’s the old classics that really shine in the set. Nothing clobbers the senses like a steel-capped boot straight in the teeth, while crowd favourites like Bloodsports, I Wanna Break You In Half and Backwaters send the audience into a frenzy, with more than one attempted stage invasion.

They look so nice, those Loveless boys, but strap a guitar on one and shove the other behind a drum kit and the result is one of the most incendiary live shows around, with a ferocity and rage that’s as intense as it comes, and genuinely a little scary at times if you’re right up in the front row.

But that’s half the appeal: in a sea of safe music, Drenge’s delightfully evil racket is an electrifying shot in the arm. Dark, brooding and utterly formidable live, not in years has teenage angst been so engaging.

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