LIVE: Press To MECO / Chapter And Verse @ The Parish, Huddersfield

By Gem Rogers

Despite the rise of chains of identikit venues, one thing the UK continues to do exceedingly well at is hiding away small venues with heaps of character all over the land, often in the places you least expect. Huddersfield’s The Parish is one of those, with a 150 capacity converted stable building hidden behind their popular pub; it’s also probably one of the coldest venues in the country tonight, as the weather has taken a sharp turn to the wintery side and an icy chill worms its way in through the doors.

Fortunately, there can be few bands as warming to witness as London’s Chapter And Verse, who’ve taken up the role of main support on this lengthy cross-country run. Their stage presence is electric and engaging throughout as they open with their irrepressible, anthemic latest single ‘Bad Blood’, before continuing to drive through a lively set that brings in older favourites like ‘The New Breed’ to sit alongside as yet unreleased ‘Beauty Sleep’ and ‘Miracle Drugs’. It’s exciting to see a band so capable and this performance is nigh on impossible to fault, with huge harmonies, earworm melodies and energetic riffs blasting nonstop through the room. On top of this, Chapter And Verse foster an atmosphere of inclusivity and joy through the community they are building around the band that is extended to all in attendance tonight. There is no doubt that we are watching one of the UK’s best and brightest new bands, and the future looks even brighter.

Tonight’s crowd may not be the most energetic, but by the time headliners Press To MECO take the stage, there are at least enough bodies huddled in the small room to finally bring the temperature up a little as we prepare for a set from a band who still feel like somewhat of a closely guarded and beloved secret in the alt rock community. Bringing a fresh, poppy appeal, they’ve become a staple name on the live circuit, and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone with a bad word to say about this three-piece – for good reason.

Kicking things off with 2018’s ‘Familiar Ground’, we’re instantly treated to their livewire energy and sparkling, irresistible harmonies, with an undercurrent of bass-driven heaviness. The gorgeous ‘If All Your Parts Don’t Make A Whole’ follows swiftly, and there’s no disputing the mesmerising quality of Press To MECO’s music; everything about this set feels comfortingly natural and uplifting, pulsing life through the air.

Tonight’s setlist focuses largely on sophomore album ‘Here’s To The Fatigue’, with thunderous new track ‘Easy Life’ making its debut on this tour and sounding massive as it echoes around the rafters. The balance of delicate harmonies with powerful technicality is just part of what makes Press To MECO so special, and they execute every moment with not only precision, but a considerable dose of heart. Despite the relative quietness of this Friday night audience – though on closer inspection there is plenty of singing along, head nodding and foot tapping – the three give as much to this performance as they would to the biggest of festival crowds. Rounding off with the fun-drenched riff fest of ‘Here’s To The Fatigue’, there’s one thing that’s definitely not lacking in The Parish tonight, and it’s gigantic, beaming smiles – truly no better way to sum up the mood of the evening.

It may be cold as ice as we leave back into the night, but on the inside we feel nothing but warmth. Press To MECO may be a bit of a secret for now, but the word is spreading, and the glimpse we’ve had of new music shows that they have no intention of slowing down yet. Tonight has been a joyous illustration of just how much hope there is for the future of UK alternative music, and the next tour can’t come soon enough.