Having been touring small venues all around the UK for the past couple of weeks, SHVPES and Press To Meco continued their co-headline tour together in Southampton at the highly regarded Joiners Arms on none-other than Halloween itself. The Joiners is a fairly small venue with a maximum capacity of 200, but not one to be disregarded having won NME’s competition to find Britain’s best small music venue in 2013. Having been open since the 70s, the Joiners (back then simply the ‘Joiners Arms’) has seen the likes of some very big names play its stage, such as Placebo, The Libertines, Ed Sheeran and Enter Shikari amongst others early on in their careers.
First up out of our co-headliners were Press To Meco. Arriving on stage in some unusual costumes, to say the least (and we’re not talking vampires and zombies here, but more so some odd characters including one with batwings, wearing yellow tights and a bright, multi-coloured Mexican-looking mask, and another that appeared to be a rather well-endowed vampire…) Press to Meco are a young alternative rock band from London, made up of Luke Caley, Adam Roffrey and Lewis Williams, and from their costumes and the way they playfully entered the stage, you could guess they’re a little more light-hearted with their style of music than that of their fellow co-headliners.
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Their performance was full of enthusiasm and Caley interacted well with the crowd. Highlights of the set included songs such as ‘Autopsy’, ‘Diffusion of Responsibility’ and the aptly named ‘Ghost’ – perfect for a Halloween performance. At one point towards the end of the set, Caley asked two fans in particular by front centre stage who had taken advantage of the space in the room to really get into the music throughout, to create a circle pit with a twist. As the music started again, the fans started said circle pit in the manner of moving like monkeys at the bands request. All eyes turned to see this unusual sight. After playing their last song, Press to Meco thanked the crowd and exited the stage.
After a short break, SHVPES entered the room, a bit later than expected due to a run over through the evening. Their costumes certainly more simple, but effective, and more to what you’d expect on a spooky Halloween. Blood spattered boiler suits and creepy masks. More fitting to the metal nature of the band.
The 4-piece from Birmingham have had a great year including the making, and release, of their debut album,”PAIN. JOY. ECSTASY. DESPAIR.”, only a couple of weeks prior. Their short set included a few songs off the album including the title track amongst others. If you haven’t heard the band before, think along the lines of Korn or Killswitch Engage and Memphis May Fire. Similarly to Killswitch Engage they occasionally mix rap and metal together – a winning combination. The most recent addition to the band, lead vocalist Griffin Dickson, gave a strong performance with high energy. Songs to note include ‘Skin & Bones’ and ‘Two Minutes of Hate’.
As previously mentioned, the gig was a quiet one in terms of crowd, however, both SHVPES and Press To Meco kept up the spirits and played as if they were at a sold out show. Putting their showmanship skills to the test, SHVPES got as much of the small crowd as they could participating in the show including doing an Irish jig together, and at a later stage participating in a small wall of death with a few energetic fans. The band from Birmingham, despite not having the desired outcome in terms of numbers, put on a great set making new fans in the process.