LIVE REVIEW: Reno Divorce, Trillians, Newcastle, 26th June 2019
Formed in Denver, Colorado, back in 2001, Reno Divorce have spent the last 18 years forging a solid reputation for themselves on the punk rock scene.
They’re difficult to pigeonhole, as their sound contains elements of Orange County punk, a dash of honky tonk country, and a healthy slice of rockabilly swagger.
The band they remind me of most – and I know this is hardly original – is Social Distortion at their best, and if that’s not a recommendation, I don’t know what is.
They’ve released four full-length albums and a handful of singles and EPs, and after missing their one and only appearance at Rebellion in Blackpool in 2017 due to the sort of clashes inevitable at a festival of that size, I was glad to be able to catch them on my doorstep.
The three-piece – who seem to have shed a guitarist somewhere along the way – opened with Stumble, their own take on the Link Wray instrumental Rumble.
From there they blazed headlong into more than an hour of upbeat punk rock ‘n’ roll, with lots of energy and attitude.
Like Social D’s Mike Ness, Reno Divorce frontman Brent Loveday is a storyteller, armed with a low-strung Gretsch and a fistful of socially-aware lyrics.
He delivers his words with passion and conviction, while laying down coruscating guitar riffs, as bassist Andy Brown and new drummer Sleepy lock into the rhythm.
What Were You Saying? is a step back to their debut album Naysayers And Yesmen, while A .45 Will Pay the Rent, from their second album, is an early set highlight.
Their most recent album, 2012’s Lover’s Leap, contributes a handful of tracks, including Rep To Protect and Ill-Gotten gains, though sadly Three Time Loser is a notable absentee.
The band’s most recent offering has been a couple of EPs, Ship Of Fools and Fairweather Friends, and much of the set is based around them.
Ship Of Fools and She’s In Love With Avenue are the pick of the bunch, and things are livened up with a couple of covers.
Dolly Parton’s Jolene and Motorhead’s Ace Of Spades are two songs coming from very different places, but offer an insight into where Reno Divorce take their inspiration.
After a two-song encore of Ana Lee and the excellent Lovable Loser the show’s over, with Loveday urging fans in the small but appreciative crowd to get their merch now “’cos fuck knows when we’ll be back”.
Credit to Trillians for putting on gigs like this, and let’s hope Reno Divorce’s first-ever visit to Newcastle isn’t also their last.