deap vally poster

Drenge / Deap Vally

The Haunt, Brighton – 28th February 2013

It's not often the 'Sold Out' signs are up at the 350 capacity Haunt, but tickets for this battle of the duos, featuring Derbyshire's Drenge and American headliners Deap Vally, had been flying out over the past few weeks and the Pool Valley venue is creaking at the seams as Drenge wander on to the stage and, having no inclination for a countdown, move straight into lift off. Isn't it policemen who are supposed to look younger as you get older? The Loveless brothers look as though they have just finished their homework, but there is certainly nothing immature about the glorious racket they begin to hurl into the night. A drum and guitar combination with half an ear for the blues, the Black Keys comparisons will be inevitable, but Drenge are firmly rooted this side of the Atlantic, offering a very British interpretation of Willie Dixon's 'I Just Want to Make Love to You' while embracing a charmingly unprofessional approach that sees every song end with drummer Rory simply stopping playing as Eoin's guitar utters a howl a disappointment, while the drum kit appears to fall apart virtually every song.

This is far from a shambolic offering, though. Drenge offer up a furious, coherent assault on the senses and, after a mid-set change of guitars that precedes the playing of both tracks from their debut single, the towering 'Bloodsports' and slightly insane 'Dogmeat', they often intrude into a more cultured blues sound and end the set with a deadly slow, feedbacking gem of a track that ends with the band starting to pack up their equipment without another word. We're no fans of inane chatter from performers, but the audience who in the main appeared to be there for the headliners, had given them a pretty good response and some acknowledgement may have been appropriate. As it was Eoin is not particularly talkative throughout. 'Have you had a good day?" he asks at one stage, "And more importantly, what did you have for tea?" The response brings a smile. "Crisps? Peanut butter?" This is a young audience and it's great to see that live music still has enough of a pull to drag the youth off their arses now and again.

Having settled near the stage to witness the brothers, as the time approached for the female half of the evening the venue seems to fill even more, making it difficult to move, let alone attempt to reach the bar. Deap Vally's approach couldn't be more different from that taken by their male counterparts. Eoin Loveless sported a white t-shirt depicting bare knuckle fighters; it probably should have been kittens for Deap Vally who exude friendliness and charm and every bit live up to the image of two girls who met at a needlework class. In typical New World fashion, singer-guitarist Lindsey Troy talks more between the first two songs than Drenge did all night, the cosiness of the evening punctuated by songs packed with buzzsaw guitars, Julie Edwards' stadium drumming, and Troy's half-endearing, half-annoying squeaky vocals. The crowd are lapping it up, leaping, surfing, howling ... Deap Vally are making waves and no mistake.

A game of two halves, then. Drenge are seriously impressive, though they spend half the set smiling knowingly at each other and whether they are taking any of this particularly seriously must be up for debate. It would be a pity if they don't build on already promising foundations. Deap Vally are deadly serious and are well on the way to becoming rock and roll stars. Like so many up and coming bands, they played their first UK show in Brighton and the night has more than a feel of a homecoming to it. Watch them soar, but if you were going to bet on which of these bands will leave a lasting legacy, it may well be closer than you think.

'Bloodsports' Review

drenge ticket

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