London post-punkers TV Priest have been away for a while: their two Sub Pop released records went down well amongst enthusiasts of the genre, but the band were hampered by the pandemic, meaning they never got the chance to play their tunes to a live audience before the cuts were released. They’re back with a tour of new material, bringing a mix of new and old gear to intimate rooms nationwide.
TV Priest occupy the basement of Manchester’s YES: a fabulous live room with a low ceiling and tiny stage. The group is a quartet of singer and frontman Charlie Drinkwater, backed with two guitarists and a brand-new drummer. Considering the lineup foregoes a bassist, they achieve some monumentally towering riffs through their stacks of pedals: opener ‘Bury Me In My Shoes’ is glorious, as the aforementioned gargantuan riffs take centre stage.
TV Priest sandwich the new gear between numbers from their first two records. Their brand-new songs land well, with some additional synth components and effects working wonders with Drinkwater’s soaring vocals. The man’s voice is quite incredible, it has a baritone-like quality and he fills the room with some impressive notes, which complement the new stuff beautifully. At one point, he eschews the mic entirely, and delivers his lines, loud and emotive, without any amplification; it’s a truly special moment in a remarkable set of new tracks.
TV Priest’s new material is dark and sensitive, melancholic and hopeful in equal measure. They are on the precipice of something huge here, and the band are showing sonic growth with the addition of synthesisers and overarching themes of despair. The songs wash over you and immerse the listener in the mood TV Priest are creating here.
‘Press Gang’ is a highlight, of course, and the song shakes the crowd awake from their melancholic daze brought on by the tender new tunes. The night is a real triumph and this sneak preview of new material strongly implies that the best is yet to come for TV Priest.