– Gullivers, Manchester –

Before tonight’s show my friend texted me asking “is Manchester safe?” It took me aback. Going to watch live music is something nobody should ever have to worry about, but that’s the situation our city was thrown into after the tragic events of last night. On the way through the streets to see Priests at Gullivers, the atmosphere is strange and quiet, but, inside, there’s an overwhelming sense of defiance and community.

Priests arrive on stage to ‘Appropriate’, the opening track from this year’s critically acclaimed debut Nothing Feels Natural, and the floor shakes as the song elevates into a monolithic wall of noise. Priests have an unruly energy about them, they’re aggressive and abrasive, yet endearing all at the same time. The track ends and frontwoman Katie Alice Greer tells the crowd what is probably the sincerest “thanks for coming out to see us tonight Manchester” ever.

Next up is album highlight ‘JJ’ and they continue in the same vein as on ‘Appropriate’. Priests often are compared to Savages and IDLES but tonight their sound is much more in line with X-Ray Spex, particularly Greer’s vocal. They are a difficult band to pigeonhole: there’s punk, post-punk and sometimes the guitars even sound western. One consistent is the energy in each of their tracks though. It’s an energy which is mirrored by tonight’s crowd, some are throwing their bodies around for the entirety of the set, and the show has everyone in Gullivers moving.

Another highlight from the set is ‘Leila 20’, which starts off with a guitar riff that wouldn’t be out of place on a Joy Division record. Although it’s the band’s first visit to Manchester, it’s apparent they have been influenced by this city in the past. Following ‘Leila 20’ is ‘Nicki’. “I want more and more and more”, Greer shouts, a sentiment shared by everyone in Gullivers tonight.

For ‘No Big Bang’, Greer moves away to the side to give drummer Daniele Daniele centre stage. She shouts out the lyrics and thumps the drums simultaneously with a raucous energy, it looks exhausting, but brilliant none the less. If you ever get a chance to see Priests live, it’s not to be missed for this track alone.

They end with ‘And Breeding’, from their 2014 Bodies and Control and Money and Power EP. The high-energy levels are unswerving, it hasn’t dropped off for one second throughout the night. Priests look to have enjoyed their first debut performance in Manchester, “we’ll be back here very soon”, Greer exclaims.

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James Power

When resisting the urge to put on the new Radiohead album for the one-billionth time, I try to keep my music listening as eclectic as possible.I was the clichéd skinny jeans & Strokes t-shirt clad indie kid in school clad and have never really grown out of that. Since starting university in 2012 I’ve got into lots of electronic, house, techno music and finding it very addicting. Favourites include Jon Hopkins, Todd Terje and Nicolas Jaar. Very recently I’ve been getting into old shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine, Ride & The Jesus and Mary Chain. I’ll have probably found something new by next week. Anything Thom Yorke puts his name to is one constant though.I’m a lover of CDs (probably because as a student I can’t quite afford vinyl) and my 250+ strong collection seems to be growing exponentially. If we discussed the pros and cons of physical music compared to streaming and how we consume music today, I could bore you for hours.Soup Kitchen is my spiritual home.I’ve pledged to take a review a month of an artist that I know nothing about, so sometimes I might sound like an idiot.