Grin and Bear It
Traams live
Traams & Drenge

Komedia, Brighton - 25th February 2014

After being spoiled by the Speedy Ortiz and Joanna Gruesome combination at the Green Door Store just five days earlier, there was another terrific line-up on offer at the Komedia as Sussex boys Traams lined up as main support for Drenge, who were playing their third consecutive sold out gig on the south coast.

Having already bust the seams at The Haunt (with Deap Vally) and at the Green Door Store (on their own), the Komedia marked another step up for the Loveless brothers, with a bigger capacity and certainly an unfamiliar audience in attendance. With the venue lowering the age of entry to just fourteen, it is an unusual scene that greets us as we head to the front as Traams tune up, with rows of children gathered by the stage making us feel a hundred years old, but offering a mighty encouraging sight for the future of live independent music in the city.

It is amusing to see the reaction when Stuart Hopkins plays the first notes on his guitar in anger with a whole row of teenagers jumping out of their skins and taking an involuntary step backwards, and as Traams storm through their set the average age at the front rapidly increases as perhaps the support act doesn't turn out to be quite as glamorous as the headliners the youngsters have come to celebrate. If they don't win over the youth, however, for the more ancient listener Traams get better and better at every show; they throw themselves into their music with fearless determination and aren't afraid to go round the houses because they are in no hurry to get to their destination, living for the ride rather than the ultimate goal. Hopkins is terrific to watch. He slings his patched up guitar around, crouches, points and wanders around, completely lost in the power of it all. It's seldom to see a singer/guitarist so active, though the gloriously long, wandering instrumental breaks in Traams' addictively-driven, garage rock songs leave him plenty of space in which to escape the microphone and set off on his journeys. Conversely, bassist Leigh Padley spends the entire gig on his toes, bouncing around virtually on the spot and getting nowhere, while drummer Adam Stock sets the pace for his bandmates' irregular travel plans.

If Traams are blistering and purposeful, then Drenge tonight are sadly only a shadow of the band we have come to know and love. Perhaps the rows of bouncing teenagers, who quickly return to the front on Traams' departure, throw an unnerving spanner in the works or perhaps it is the realisation they won't have to work that hard with such a willing audience in front of them that affects them, but as they charge through their set there is a noticeable lack of appetite. The interaction between Rory and Eoin is almost completely absent; there is no horseplay, no chatting or whispered in-jokes, and no communication at all with the leaping youngsters, the front row of whom look likely to break their kneecaps at any moment on the Komedia's eighteen-inch stage. Halfway through the set, Rory stops at the midpoint in a song to towel himself down before resuming his playing. Sadly, it looks horribly rehearsed and a bit, well, shit.

It's clear the youngsters in attendance are familiar with the band and their music, with the singles going down especially well. There's also a couple of new tracks thrown in that don't seem to do very much except trundle to an eventual conclusion. It's frustrating and a bit annoying, but everyone is allowed an off day and we look forward to the next time Drenge head into town, at this rate at the Concorde 2. As for Traams, we await The Great Escape with fevered anticipation.


Words Adam, Pics Gary, Dry Ice Annoying

Drenge live at The Komedia
Traams live at The Komedia
Review of 2013
Facing The ther Way - The Story of 4AD
Wilko Johnson live at G-Live, Guildford
Cheatahs live at the Albert
Joanna Gruesome and Speedy Ortiz at the Green Door Store
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