LIVE: Nervus / Worriers @ The Parish, Huddersfield

By Tom Walsh

The playlist at The Parish throws up The Lawrence Arms’ eloquently dark ‘The Slowest Drink at the Saddest Bar on the Snowiest Day in the Greatest City’, a tale which depicts battling through the elements and noise to find something better. While one of Chicago’s finest acts– and tonight’s main attraction– are a little further apart in terms of subject matter, it feels somewhat unifying.

As the rain cascades down on to the streets of Huddersfield on a typically dreary and miserable midweek evening in the town’s beloved dive bar venue, there is an overwhelming sense of belonging. This is where people can feel comfortable in their own skin, don’t have to answer to anyone and can be themselves.

This gig follows Transgender Awareness Week, a celebration which raises the profile of the transgender community, and tonight features two bands that could not be bigger supporters. Anytime members of both Nervus and Worriers give a mention of the transgender community and the network of support it creates, it generates whoops and cheers from the audience.

Worriers’ lead vocalist, Lauren Denitzio, fresh from a tour with Anti-Flag and Cancer Bats, opens the set with the crooning ‘Future Me’ before embarking on a set characterised by outspoken views on LGBT issues. Enlisting the help of Nervus’ guitarist Em Foster, Worriers thrash through a melodic, candid set.

With an extended version of their 2017 album ‘Survival Pop’, it means Worriers can serve up some previously unheard gems. The duo of the heartbreaking ‘No More Bad News’ and longing love song of ‘The Saddest Little Waffle House in Eastern Pennsylvania’ are little treats to light up the freezing surroundings.

There is a warmth about Denitzio’s performance, who openly talks about her anxiety on ‘WTF Is Sleep’, her hatred of the police on ‘Yes All Cops’, and the importance of Transgender Day of Remembrance on ‘They / Them / Theirs’. It is a powerful performance from a band that deserves a much bigger stage.

A quick change over and Foster is now into Nervus-mode and they’ve come here to party. The Watford four-piece take to the stage to the strains of The Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’ as a fan drapes a Transgender Pride Flag over Paul Etienne’s keyboard stand. This is the celebration everyone has braved the elements for and Nervus waste no time getting into their groove.

The songs that Foster once thought would never leave her bedroom are brought to life. The intricate guitar work and big choruses make these incredibly hook-laden tracks. Etienne thrusts and jives to every beat as Nervus provide snippets from their 2018 album ‘Everything Dies’. The likes of ‘Sick Sad World’ feel huge even in these surroundings, and ‘It Follows’ hammers home whilst ‘Oh Joy’ is devastatingly beautiful.

As The Lawrence Arms spoke about walking through the snow to find somewhere they could escape and forget about the world, Nervus and Worriers create a welcoming and inspiring environment that make battling through the Huddersfield rain worthwhile.