Drahla’s readiness to move between high profile support slots with the likes of Metz and The Cribs, but also perform at more niche events or in smaller spaces, is something that warrants respect. It’s an impressive balancing act in the same way that their increasingly stellar musical output evokes the No Wave experimentation of EVOL era Sonic Youth, while remaining strangely accessible. This is thanks to the placement of melodic hooks amongst abrasive noise, and while this is a combination popular amongst fellow Leeds based post-punk acts, it’s in the execution where Drahla sit comfortably ahead of the crowd. While their recent signing to Captured Tracks is objectively great news, I was fearful that this would render performances like their recent surprise spot at CHUNK a thing of the past, so I thought it best to attend.
They move from a 3 piece up to 5 for the performance, and while there are positives to both a more minimal live approach, as well as a more expansive one, tracks like ‘Faux Text’ benefit from the live sax accompaniment, providing a sense of place and occasion, making me feel nostalgic for scenes I wasn’t alive to witness in cities I’ve never visited. I’d spent the last year romanticising the New York No Wave movement, wondering what being at a James Chance gig in the 70s would have been like, and to date this has been the closest gig to satisfying that itch. And yes, the low capacity venue and close proximity to the band are factors in this, but ultimately, it’s the songs themselves that are accountable for the set’s success. Despite only having around 26 minutes of recorded material, the likes of ‘Silk Spirit’, ‘Form of Luxury’, and closer ‘Fictional Decision’ contribute to making their setlist resemble a small arsenal of robust, disciplined tunes.
On the 23rd of this month Drahla perform at the Brudenell Social Club and it’s not to be missed.