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Local band Sun Giant, Drenge’s support act, opened the night with a well-meaning but unimaginative set. Their main influence seemed to be 70’s era guitar music, with out-dated songs and a boyish attempt at masculinity audible throughout. The band’s lead singer played intricate guitar lines whilst singing and showed an impressive technical ability. But the music was bland and uninspiring; a little more simplicity would have created more interesting music. The vocal melodies were clichéd, not to mention the lyrics, leaving the audience feeling dulled before the main act.
The mild-mannered moshing at the front of the crowd, mainly between excitable tweens, was the closest the gig got to feeling like a rock concert. Despite the quaint surroundings, Drenge did their best to put on a lively show. Cymbal crashes merged with open chord guitar thrashing at a throbbing volume, and when, at one point, guitarist Eoin ‘Loveless’ held the guitar in various unlikely positions over his head while singing, the crowd seemed enthused with the somewhat shambolic spectacle.
Both bands played music that was derivative of a by-gone age of rock and guitar-based music. Whilst the vibe seemed cutting-edge the real dominant force was nostalgia, with, sadly, no space for originality. Attempts at thoughtful lyrics by Drenge, such as the limp lines ‘I don’t hate people in love/ They just make me… give up’, came off sounding like weak, adolescent yearnings best kept in the sanctity of a teenager’s bedroom.
Despite the disappointment we felt at the gig, the audience responded enthusiastically. Drenge are currently receiving attention from NME, not to mention praise given from recently resigned shadow cabinet MP Tom Watson. Tom Watson, though, is clearly no music guru. Drenge’s newfound popularity seems to be a product of the hype machine, where newness is considered a commodity. We have no feelings of malice towards Drenge, only a disappointment in the band’s music – ultimately, the songs just don’t cut it. Right on, brother!
For more information about the Get It Loud In Libraries initiative and to book tickets for future gigs in Lancaster Library, visit their website – http://www.getitloudinlibraries.com.