Given the immense popularity of the Albany, New York post-hardcore quintet Drug Church‘s latest, third album Cheer, released towards the back-end of 2018, the band could have sold out the relatively small Boston Music Room two-times over tonight – or, if it had been available, comfortably upgraded to the Tufnell Park Dome next door.
However, for those lucky enough to get one of these hot tickets – both here in London and across an almost entirely sold out UK tour, of which this is the last date – there is a real joy to be had in witnessing the band grace intimate stages and rooms, crucially without barriers to encourage the “stage dive party” this show soon descends in to.
Before the chaos can begin, however, the crowd are treated to the London, Ontario band Single Mothers, the brainchild of lead-vocalist Andrew Thompson. The Canadian four-piece have equally been garnering an increasing amount of respect and popularity over their three full-length records, and given Thompson and Drug Church vocalist’s Patrick Kinlon’s similar enigmatic and charismatic styles as frontmen and lyricists, the two bands touring together makes a lot of sense.
Indeed, Single Mothers put on a great show tonight, touching upon all three of their albums with engaging energy that thoroughly warms up the crowd ahead of the night’s main act. Everything performed here works in a pleasing manner, none more so than their set closer from 2014’s Negative Qualities, the excellent punk-rock ballad ‘Money’. Overall this is a very impressive set and one can easily imagine a triumphant return to these shores sooner rather than later.
Shortly after, the headlining Drug Church take to the stage and immediate bedlam ensues. Opening with the same triptych as the band’s latest album – ‘Grubby’/’Strong References’/’Avoidarama’ – the band immediately strike a chord with the audience, who reciprocate by singing along to every word and throwing themselves about the pit.
Equally, vocalist Patrick Kinlon’s stage banter is charming as ever, responding to a heckler claiming “he has just worked a 50-hour week” as the first “good reason he’s ever received to shut up and play a song in many years of doing this”. In recent single ‘Unlicensed Hall Monitor’, Kinlon enlists the assistance of the crowd to sing the self-admittedly “impossible” final coda, while their most iconic track ‘But Does It Work?’ follows to a rapturous response from the crowd.
Finally, the band close on Cheer lead-single and perhaps the band’s best track to date, ‘Weed Pin’, after a brief dip into their back catalogue with Hit Your Head‘s ‘Drunk Tank’. The reaction to their biggest single is equally chaotic, befitting a track such excellent magnitude. The band play a relatively brief set (just 10 songs in around 40 minutes), however, any more for this riotous crowd and the whole room may just pass out. This was a perfect set from one of the genre’s new torchbearers and it will be very exciting to see what they have in store next.