TV Priest could not have known, when they announced their two socially distanced gigs in London, that it would clash with England’s participation in a certain football tournament. But for those of us that attended Oslo Hackney on Saturday night, it was a privilege to see this band in such an intimate setting.
TV Priest have had a productive lockdown period with signing to Seattle based label Sub Pop, recording and releasing their debut album “Uppers”, a number of high profile online events including SXSW and The Great Escape, but playing live is what they were itching to get too. In fact this was only their second (and third!) gig ever.
Lead singer Charlie Drinkwater’s song-writing is influenced by both personal experience and social commentary and he delivers an impassioned performance prowling the stage.
Joining him in TV Priest are Nic Bueth (bass and keyboard), Alex Sprogis (guitar) and Ed Kellend (drums). They have known each other for years, took a break from music and are now back together making music. 
Social media is full of the impact of the lack of live music on the concert-goers, but what about the bands themselves? It must have been horrendous attempting to be creative in such limited circumstances. Playing live again after this unplanned long break must come with a whole range of emotions - excitement, nerves, anxiety – all completely natural and valid feelings, but they have to be handled all the same.
Even with the football distractions, the 6pm show was sold out and the gig opened with their second single ‘Runner Up’ - you could see the concentration on the faces of the 4-piece but it took them exactly one song to settle in.
The audience whooped and hollered and were rewarded with beaming smiles. Next up was 'The Big Curve', the opening track from album “Uppers”, followed by 'This Island' and the emotionally charged 'Fathers and Sons'.
'Decoration' was one of the highlights of the show with the unforgettable line “I have never seen a dog do what that dog does”. It was simply raucous. By now the audience were totally engaged during the songs, never mind waiting until the end!
'Slideshow' generated even more whoops and cheers.
'Journal of a Plague Year' opened with a clear drum beat and then in comes the dominant deep bass riff. A bluesy, less complex song with the lyrics more at the fore, demonstrating the versatility of TV Priest.
And so onto a treat – a new song - the very funky 'Lifesize'. By now my poor chair was struggling with my bouncing but how cool is it to hear a new song when the current album hasn’t even been toured yet! This was the first ever public playing of this track and you can hear the Stop Making Sense vibe which Charlie has quoted as an influence.
'Press Gang', which is the third single from the album, was another highlight . It canters along at a pace that would be perfect for the mosh pit, but for now we have to make do with chair-moshing.
And so onto the final song 'House of York', TV Priest’s debut single and simply a joy to hear live and to be left with the thought-provoking line “this is not my national anthem” in these challenging times.
The end of the set is followed by a rapturous response from the crowd which the band really appreciated. They had had a blast. It was so obvious in the performance and in their thanks for attending. 
I also attended the second gig this evening:
Second time around TV Priest were so comfortable in their own skin - four mates having a blast playing live together. They were even gracious enough to acknowledge the match and said they would provide an update, but we were all here for the music.
Everything seemed heightened the second time around, wilder and even more euphoric. TV Priest have an riotous sound, wild and ferocious at times yet this is combined with lyrics that are relevant as they are thought-provoking.
How does it feel for a band making this sort of music to perform to a seated audience? On this occasion I believe the band were so happy to be finally playing live and if this is how it has to be right now, then so be it. Plus “Chair moshing” is currently THE thing, and for the crowd it is wonderful to hear live music again and see it performed right in front of you.
Oh and about that football match? Well I think you know the outcome …….
Was it worth going twice? 100%
If you want to see them live, they are touring the UK in the autumn. Get your tickets here.

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