Drenge @ Gorilla, Manchester, 2 May

Drenge make a welcome comeback tonight in Manchester as part of their Grand Reopening Tour and it's very much business as usual

Live Review by Meg Roberts | 11 May 2018
  • Drenge at King Tuts Wah Wah Tent

Drenge, it’s been far too long. Following a three year hiatus, the packed-out crowd of Manchester’s Gorilla eagerly anticipate their return to the stage. If there’s one thing Drenge have always done well, it’s put on a show. Most critics will tell you that. But this isn’t nostalgia as the makeshift banners which read 'The Grand Reopening Tour' might have you believe, twinned with Eoin Loveless and his promise of songs old and new. This is what it says on the tin – a grand, explosive reopening.

So reacquaint yourself with the Loveless take on nineties grunge coupled with anarchic blues and head to the mosh, the show is about to start. As Loveless cuts the ceremonial ribbon and opens to the sounds of new track Bonfire, think a punk call to action and a social commentary of sorts. We don’t know the lyrics and they’re not the kind you can just pick up but it doesn’t matter, as it’s more than enough to rile and rouse the crowd; we’re ready for it.

This is a Drenge show – a band who announced via Twitter "belong on the road, and in your hearts" – and business as usual for the now four-piece (can the Royal Blood comparisons stop please?) means unwavering grunge riffs, heavy drums and a raw, nihilistic vocal which rips through debut album classics including Face Like a Skull, Dogmeat and People in Love Make Me Feel Yuck.

Standing in the Cold, taken from 2015’s Undertow, marks a decidedly slower turn to the set and truth be told, we could all do with a breather. Loveless' emotive vocals, coupled with support from the crowd, echo across the venue as if every injustice they've been served are being taking out on the lyrics, making for an atmospheric performance of the track. Similarly seen with one of the closing numbers, an acoustic rendition of the much-loved Fuckabout, where the crowd take on this song word for word almost entirely without the band culminating in the poignant ‘I don’t give a fuck about people in love / They don’t piss me off / They just make me give up.’ Drenge, we’ve missed you.