Drenge and Valeras – Electric Brixton – April 2nd 2019

I receive confirmation of a press pass to the Drenge ‘Strange Creatures’ show at Electric Brixton barely two hours before Valeras are due to take to the stage. And given that it’s the PR company of Valeras that have offered me such a neat perk, I need to get a boogie on to get there in time. London’s rarely difficult to navigate though. out of rush hour, and I get into the queue at the Brixton Electric with minutes to spare.

I’m clearly not used to these gigs at larger venues; getting in is akin to navigating through airport security. In fact, I’ve been through airport checks that have been slacker than this. Initially, I’m forced to prove my age by showing my ID. Luckily, I’m carrying my driving licence. Yes, I get that they’re showing equal treatment to all but surely common sense must prevail. A man nearing 50 who looks his age is unlikely to be wearing a disguise to shield the fact he’s under-age. After that, every single one of my jacket and trouser pockets are emptied of coins and pens. My wallet is poked and prodded. The frisking is intense but in these times of heightened security I shrug and accept. 

One wonders how on earth Valeras managed to get into the venue themselves. It’s the first thing you notice when this five piece from Reading take to the stage. I’m sure it’s not what they want attention drawn to yet they look exceptionally young – as if this could be a GCSE music project. (I check – they’re older than that).

Standing in a straight line of four, the guitar playing members (3 girls, one boy) of Valeras quickly and urgently launch into their opener. The drummer, Max, sits behind conducting. It’s the most classic of rock sounds. Some have their hair longer than others and throw it around in time with the driving, ballsy beat. There’s head banging a-plenty and full-on rock stance before we even get to the end of this first tune. 

You can’t help but notice the lead singer and bassist, Rose Yagmur. She does most of the talking between songs; there’s not much and it’s your standard stuff of urging people to come a little closer and checking how in the mood for Drenge people are. But Rose’s  vocal is strong and her bass-playing even better. When she really rocks out, my notes suggest that we could have a young Suzi Quatro. It’s no doubt lazy thinking on my part.

What stands out above everything is the unity between band members, even when cowbell and harmonies are introduced. Despite their tender years, Valeras are a band who have practiced and worked hard to sound more accomplished than many double their age. They’re definitely ones to watch.


I probably first saw Drenge when they were younger than Valeras. It was a festival up North (review here) and back then it was just the Loveless brothers, Eoin singing and Rory on drums. From memory, they played a small stage at the end of a long weekend but still from somewhere I summoned the energy to mosh, such was the compelling thrash of noise that they offered. I later reviewed them when they were a three piece for the Leicester Mercury. I’ve lost those words and the beasts at the Mercury haven’t archived them. 

It seems sort of right that I now see them as a four piece. With third album just released, Strange Creatures, it’s immediately obvious from set opener, Prom Night, that their sound, songwriting and stature continues to develop. This is dark storytelling, more contained than those early days, more angular post-punk than all-out raucous energy. As a set opener, it’s dramatic, unhinged brilliance. It bookends brilliantly with the slow build and electrifying wig-out of Let’s Pretend at the end of the set. 

In between, the raucous does come; the sound epic and fuller than ever. Classic Drenge tunes such as Bloodsports and Face Like A Skull mix in with the newer seamlessly.

I’m no longer moshing – I couldn’t possibly take it in that crowd tonight. At times, when it really kicks off, you almost feel some sympathy for the security guards, rigorously and desperately clinging to an out of control mob. 

By rights, these should be even bigger than they are”, mouths a chap sat (yes, I sat) next to me. And he’s absolutely right. Perhaps it’s Drenge’s gradual growth in band members, their fluent rather than sudden rise from brilliant to better, their determination to keep developing that has kept the stadiums a bit in check. 

Drenge might no longer be at the start of their careers but they’re forging one of longevity. As it would appear are Valeras. Drenge end in encore with ‘We Can Do What We Want’. In times as uncertain as these it’s probably a pretty fine way to look at things. 


SG Lewis ft Josh Barry – Silence

What’s this? The second Sonic Breakfast post in less than 24 hours? Breaking rules again about not posting more than once a day? Quiet days between posts when you were getting fried and fired in Liverpool at Sound City and now a gluttony of posts to break the silence? 

Errrr.. Yes… Kind of…



SG Lewis is a bedroom producer, originally from Reading but now living in Liverpool. I guess that’s where he met Josh Barry who features on this exquisite track that’s generating a fairly noisy response on Soundcloud.

For me, this is about the ‘silence’ that occurs post-relationship argument. Both of you know that, given time, it’ll probably be ok but it’s late at night and all you want to do is sleep. But, you can’t sleep because your mind is playing tricks. And so, over a chilled out bass thud, you replay the crap that’s just occurred. 

The perils of being in a relationship that’s not working… The advantages of sleeping alone…. The joys of making up….



Vienna Ditto – Feeling Good

Let’s continue with the theme of posting songs from bands with cities in their name! A few days ago (before Eurovision got in the way), I wrote about the wonderful ‘Oxford Drama‘ from Poland. And for today’s treat with your toast, I’m giving you the lowdown on Vienna Ditto, a duo from Reading, London and possibly Oxford.


Vienna Ditto first came onto my radar a few months back when a PR company sent me a link to an earlier EP. If Sonic Breakfast had been running then, I would have probably featured them. I was drawn to the theatre in their music and the sound bites in their reviews. Like the B-52’s with added smokey grunge or a more chaotic, punked up Portishead, the duo of Hatty Taylor and Nigel Firth were producing a type of mutant madness that refused to be pinned down. A dabble with Psychedelic lounge blues gave way to a Motown murder ballad. I am probably making up genres.

Their new single, Feeling Good is up for release on June 9th. After a four day Easter break, this is an aural equivalent of a lock-in that should help to keep the party going until the next bank holiday. It’s a real wild child of a number, suggestively encouraging us to slip into a sexy stupor and to stay there until the summer ends.

It’s backed by the intriguingly titled ‘Opium Boys’. I bet that’s got an addictive chorus with an injection of fuzz. The CD is completed by a further 4 tracks – covers of Vienna Ditto’s favourite ’19th century gospel bangers’. I can’t wait to hear what they might sound like.


Coming up tomorrow – the new track by Bristol Ballet….