Having first seen Drenge back home at Hull’s Welly Club supporting Temples, with ironically just underneath them on the bill that night the Black Delta Movement, the band I last reviewed for Silent Radio earlier last month, this was a much-anticipated gig for myself and the many others, I’m sure, who have watched this band gracefully rise and rise with just the pure power of youthful energy and rock n roll from two brothers from a small town in Derbyshire.

Walking into the gig, I feel like many of the audience may not even remember the shocking news that Drenge were to be adding a bassist to their line up for their second record. Personally, I remember feeling a mixed level of emotions at the time; the Drenge I will most fondly remember are the two piece I saw in 2013 as a teenager.

Coming onto the stage with the title track from their most recent album Strange Creatures, the crowd do stand idle – not at all unusual for a band coming on with a song off their latest release. Out of the three albums released so far, this one after a few times of listening feels like it’s lacking the energy of the first two. It’s just quite frankly wetter, almost adding a vibe similar to The Smiths with songs like ‘Prom Night’. With the album only being released in late February, it is evident throughout the set, just via the pure crowd reaction and movement, that it does not work live like the previous two albums.

This is most evident when Eoin Loveless (lead singer/guitarist) puts down his guitar and a second live guitarist is introduced; to myself it is just clear that the crowd is almost shocked to be seeing Eoin prance around the stage, singing songs like his band had reached the level of the Arctic Monkeys. It is hard to watch at times, almost confusing and defiantly frustrating. I’m a firm believer of taking the Gonzo approach to reviewing gigs and watching it from the pit and through the eyes of the fans getting sweaty at the front, even if I’m not necessarily a fan myself.

It isn’t until songs from the first two albums are played that a pit erupted. I’d go as far as to say that at points almost half of the standing area became a wash of youthful Friday night unleash: crowd surfing, beer launching and the general wildness you expect to see at a Friday night rock show at the Ritz. Personal highlights are the grungy tracks ‘Back Waters’ and ‘Running Wild’, both from the first two records.

Now after looking at the set list and seeing that the majority of the latest album will be played, it is understandable why the whole set isn’t filled with excitement. When ‘Bloodsports’ is played in the encore, it is exactly what everyone wants, the two brothers and the bassist just doing what they’re known to do best.

Yet when it comes to the last song, I really do feel fucked about: the band play an acoustic version of arguably the song a lot of people were waiting to hear for the whole set, ‘FuckAbout’, a song filled with raging riffs and hard-hitting drums.

It almost shows a level of arrogance that they leave the crowd with an acoustic version of their most known track and hopefully it is something that other journalists and fans pick up on too. Not to say that they have completely lost touch with their roots, but watching Drenge become a four-piece live outfit is something I’m sure old school fans will take time adapting to.

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