LIVE: Chapter And Verse / Delaire The Liar @ Night People, Manchester

By Gem Rogers

It doesn’t feel like an overstatement to say that British alternative music is in one of the best states it’s been in for years. While the big names – bands like The 1975, Don Broco and Nothing But Thieves come to mind – grow ever bigger, there is, more importantly, a steady and growing wave of promising artists releasing their first EPs and albums into the world. London’s Chapter & Verse are comfortably in the ranks of that rising home grown talent and tonight, on their debut headline tour, they’re here to show Manchester what they’re made of.

Main support on the tour comes courtesy of another increasingly familiar name in the form of two-piece Delaire The Liar, whose style is as unique as their name suggests. The band open with attention-grabbing use of a vocal loop, making the most of Ffin Colley’s startlingly clear, powerful voice. The set is full of energy and passion, and feels just a little bit wild – though in a captivating, rather than uncontrolled, way – not to mention loud for noises being produced by just two people. Colley’s acrobatics on stage leave him a little (unsurprisingly) breathless and their style may well be a little too marmite for some, but it’s an enticing, assured performance that feels like the beginning of something bigger for the duo.

For Chapter And Verse, this tour is not only their first as headliners, but their first as a five-piece, with drummer Kevin Miller joining them earlier this year and Ash Morton moving to guitar. The result is a band who are able to not only replicate their expansive recorded sound, but add to it – despite the small confines of this club venue.

Realistically, though, it wouldn’t matter what size the venue. From the moment Chapter And Verse step on stage, we’re taken to another realm where the outside world and all its troubles are of no consequence; such is the engaging, rich atmosphere generated by their music. It helps that front man Josh Carter’s vocals are borderline hypnotic – beautifully warm and unique in tone, his control is nothing short of spectacular. The chances of this man hitting a wrong note seem about as likely as a lottery jackpot win.

This isn’t a show carried purely by the lead vocal, though, as Carter’s efforts sit atop solid harmonies and crystal clear instrumentation. The intertwining, atmospheric guitars from Darren Gosling and Morton are frequently transcendent, but still not averse to indulging in heavier moments – second track ‘The New Breed’ has just the right amount of lively chugs powering into the chorus, whilst Glow EP track ‘A Devil In Blue’ sounds ferocious.

This year’s ‘Glow’ EP is the star of tonight’s show, and with good reason, as the band developed a distinctive and mature sound on their sophomore release. ‘The Casket’, with its blissful harmonies and swelling crescendo, makes for a spine-tingling few minutes towards the end of the set; in moments like this, there can be no question of Chapter And Verse’s skill to captivate an audience. The set is also sprinkled with a handful of new tracks, and ‘Bad Blood’ is a highlight – ticking all the anthemic rock song boxes, the song unleashes a huge, instantly memorable chorus, nestled alongside a finger-clicking, singalong middle-eight and bright, driving riffs that are irresistibly smile-inducing.

Carter makes time to engage with the crowd during the evening, confirming with sincerity that this is a “safe space for you to be who you are”, and the band encourage this spirit to build around them with their developing ‘New Breed’ community. Finishing the night with the pulsing ‘Magazines’, there’s undeniable glee as both new and old members of this community join in to bellow a powerful lyric – “I am the man I am because of those I’m scared of losing” – in perfect unison.

This may be the first headline tour for Chapter And Verse, but their skill as a live act is equal to the most seasoned arena performers; full of identity, talent, and passion, their set is not only engaging, but truly exciting to witness. The idea of seeing this band headline festivals in the future doesn’t seem at all far-fetched, and with the strength of the new tracks on display tonight, a full-length album can’t come soon enough. If British alternative music is at its best right now, bands like Chapter And Verse are the ones leading the charge – and, in their hands, the future looks bright.