Live Review: TV Priest at Yes Basement, Manchester (29/10/21)
Upon arrival, it seemed clear Yes Basement had a clear understanding of the formula for a very memorable gig experience, like the combustion triangle all elements of oven cooked pizza stalls, cheap giggle juice (served in all corners of the venue), and a gig room in which Charlie Drinkwater deemed perfectly suitable to host an hour of punk-infused confessional… never ceases to fail. The two doormen have a card stamp, they recognise my willingness to get into the gig and soon enough they reply with a YES- that was encrypted into my hand. Luckily enough by the time I entered the gig room I was greeted with a harsh trill that sounded like metal was passionately dancing with the strings from Alex Sprigolis’ guitar.
My ears are peaked with anticipation. Although, from the jump I do notice the crowd had seemed to be formulated by one of those probability generators that are free for use, on a Google web browser. There was definitely a crowd from all walks of life, one thing was similar though, and that was the jubilation that was seemingly surging through the bodies of the audience. What else can one expect, when a band of TV Priest’s caliber open with their acclaimed track ‘The Big Curve’. Charlie Drinkwater assumed a position on the stage with his restless movements and vocal delivery that almost seemed like he was dragging out all his inner narratives into the same emerald, green light that illuminated the band. Drinkwater was the main man, in every sense of the word, and the band seemed to rise to it, by continuing to spray the venue with surgical supersonic stabs coming through the guitar- this was particularly the case during the track ‘Lifesize’. The crowd was really connecting with the pure unadulterated energy that TV Priest was generating. However, at times the crowd resembled punters half-heartedly watching gladiators’ claw for blood, this was due to the stiff-bodied members of the audience. While on the other hand singular pints were sent soaring through the air, into members of the crowd who even then had no interest in sparking any kind of energy towards a reaction.
The gig was desuet, the main action was found on stage, all the talking was done with the purpose of showcasing the musical styles that TV Priest possesses. There were no frantic scrambles to stay upright, no crowd surfing, and not out of your head dancing. That would be my one main criticism and it speaks volumes as TV Priest couldn’t have done anymore to set the crowd alight, other than pouring gasoline into the circumference of the gig room itself! The band ended with ‘Saintless’ which along with their performance of ‘The Big Curve’, and ‘Lifesize’ were purely inspiring. Before attending the gig, I was assured that TV Priest was undeniably a band that displayed promise. However, after seeing the band in the flesh, I understood that they provide a very detailed and nuanced look into what indie/punk bands from the ’70s and ’80s may look like. After the gig, the band came into the crowd to talk to a couple of fans which was a nice touch. This occurred after the band had to kindly decline the prospect of any form of an encore. I mean… it’s understandable, the crowd seemed very keen to shout ‘encore’ but not so keen in their efforts to support the movement of their legs, arms, or heads. If you are faced with the opportunity to see TV Priest live, I would snap up the tickets as quickly as possible…. or maybe just take a stop at the local bar beforehand in case you are met with the prospect of the crowd being as lacklustre as they were on the 29th October at YES Basement, Manchester.