Live Review: SHVPES w/ Chapter And Verse, Pengshui, & Press To MECO | Mama Roux's, Birmingha

Fresh off the release of their latest single ‘One Man Army’ British metal crew Shvpes assembled a top class line up of bands for their headline show at Mama Roux’s, a nifty little venue tucked away in Birmingham.

Opening the night is Chapter And Verse [8], a band who captivate and mesmerise through poetic lyricism and beautiful melody, laden with bursts of Darren Goslings lively guitar noise and Kevin Millers pounding drum beats. They start their set off with their latest release, ‘Bad Blood’, vocalist Josh Carters voice reaching far into the back corners of the room while guitarist Ashley Morton lays down a stylised, suave-ish riff. Filling out their set with reprisals of ‘Shelf Life’ and a speech about acceptance of the self and acceptance from others, they play through the ever beautiful ‘Ink’, a song about obsession Josh tells the crowd, and heavy hitter ‘Magazines’, a track that roars into life with a tremendous gang cry, riddled with heavy bass courtesy of Jonny Hopwood, who also supplies the band with big shouty vocals when needed. Chapter And Verse may have had an early slot on the bill tonight but their presence was much greater, their passion and artistry spewing out of their performance in droves.

Enter Pengshui [8], who storm the stage in a raging flurry of sound provided by Chris Hargreaves AKA Fatty Bassman, who jacks his bass with the ability to create live synths and wobbly electro noise. Combining together the aggressive vibes of punk and grime music glazed over with a healthy dose of EDM - they bring the energy. Nothing is quite as loud and in your face as their heavy electronics created through live instrumentation, drummer Pravvy Prav smashing the kit while front man Illaman jumps about, drink in hand, setting the vibe. With strobe lights going off they blast through ‘Control’, Illaman grabs a fan and shares the mic with him as more and more people get on board with the band. Pengshui are the kind of live act that can enter a room of 300 people that don’t know who they are, and leave with at least 250 of them as new fans. It’s hard not to be impressed by the raucous energy they give off as they close out their set with a triumphant 'Nobody Cares'. They flip a genre on its head, they do things their own way, and at their current rate of acceleration (the band is just over a year old at the time of writing) it wouldn’t be surprising to see these guys headlining the famed Brixton one day.

Press To MECO [7] play a full set tonight, as part of their ongoing tour with Chapter and Verse they've conjoined their show with Shvpes for a double headliner, as they take to the stage to rip through the delightfully upbeat 'Familiar Ground', playing on tropes from the presumed dead but very much still alive genre of easy-core, filling the air with unhinged chuggy bass and guitar riffs and pop punk style vocals. They brighten the room with their vibrancy, keeping the crowd moving with recent banger 'Easy Life'. Impressive is a band that can allow its three members to share vocal duties, even more so impressive when one of those members is co-ordinating all four limbs on a drumkit at the same time. As they roar through a set laden with hardcore tendencies and pop sensibilities, it's easy to understand why this band have been steadily gathering interest since their formation in 2010. There's something homely and inviting about their presence, guitarist Luke Caley even had plush versions of Bojack Horseman and his buddy Todd sitting on his amp, and each member wears their enjoyment on their face like a badge of honour, and it's because of this that Press To MECO remain an absolute joy to behold on every stage they play.

In a now fully packed out room the crowd feels tense, people have travelled from all over the country tonight to see Shvpes [9] dominate the stage, and dominate they do. Rushing to the stage, they signal for crowd cheers as each member takes their place while the intro sample of stonkingly massive new tune ‘One Man Army’ fades its way in. As front man Griffin Dickinson appears and the band drop into the main riff segment of the song there’s a surge of movement from the fans, they’ve been waiting all evening for this and not even 60 seconds into their set Shvpes have the place completely under their spell.

The energy is through the roof, as the band roll through heavy hitters ‘Undertones’ and early track ‘State Of Mine’. Guitarists Ryan and Youssef make full use of the stage, swapping places throughout the set and leaning over the crowd, creating an intimate experience and generating further encouragement for the crowd to go nuts. Griffin gets in on the close up action as well, as people take out their phones to record videos and snap pictures (it’s 2019, people take phones to shows get over it) he reaches out and flips the camera around, supplying those in the front row with a brilliant, and somewhat comical artist to fan interaction memento.

Their set is fine tuned, and the band are naturals at creating a larger than life presence on the stage, with notable moments of crowd participation for the whoa-ing on ‘Skin & Bones’ and set closer ‘Afterlife’, and Griff holding some insanely impressive notes alongside his rapping and harsh vocal abilities. By all accounts Shvpes are a band that based on their live performances, and armed with a catalogue of underappreciated bangers throughout their discography, are far too large a presence to not be playing on bigger stages by now.