Supporting The Maccabees at the O2 Guildhall were alt-rock outfit Drenge, who delivered a 40 minute set that showcased the best of the band’s two records to date; their self-titled debut album released in August 2013 and the critically acclaimed Undertow, released in April earlier this year. In addition to band regulars Eoin Loveless, on guitar and vocals, and his younger brother Rory, on drums, was Rob Graham, who provided bass and backing vocals to complete the live line up. The trio’s Southampton date was their sixth supporting The Maccabees in November across the UK.
Despite the Guildhall being reasonably full and delivering flawless sound quality as expected, the set was ultimately underwhelming. It was only until the latter stages of the set, starting with the band’s most popular and arguably best track ‘We Can do What We Want’, that the diverse audience really started to get involved and even then it was only the most devoted fans in the front few rows who obliged. This was perhaps the highlight of the performance, giving the audience a taste of the rock and roll style more associated with their first record, a shift away from the alternative-rock inspired tracks that shaped the majority of the set. ‘Running Wild’, ‘Never Awake’, and ‘The Woods’, taken from the band’s latest offering Undertow, were the most pertinent examples of this and demonstrated why they are regarded so highly within the alternative rock scene.
Otherwise, the crowd was limp and largely lethargic throughout and struggled to engage with the band’s performance, which was a shame for a band of Drenge’s calibre and popularity. Nevertheless, frontman Eoin’s vocals were more than adequate and resonated perfectly around the venue, as well as the band’s electric guitar and bass instrumentals, which occasionally drew a muted applause from the crowd. However, it was somewhat inevitable that the audience had the evening’s main event in mind; The Maccabees.