SHVPES at the Underworld, London

SHVPES have certainly been making waves since their debut album was released three years ago.

It is no surprise to anyone how much they’ve developed in that short period growing into something phenomenal. This almost but not quite sold-out show at the underworld marked the release of new single ‘One Man Army’ and sees SHVPES leave a mark on not just the scene but on everyone that comes to see them play.

The audience was a little surprised when they saw the first support saunter onto the stage, mainly because most of them were expecting a band, The Well Runs Red. What they actually got was one man and a DJ. Granted the audience was mostly made up of the types of early gig-goers you’d expect like die-hards that wanted to be at the front for SHVPES set and the ever-curious fans who always like to show support for the opening acts. What they heard and saw could not be more different than the main act but strangely mesmerising and with talent to boot. Holding an audience on your own and filling a stage with your presence is not easy but this guy certainly pulled it off.

Next up on the packed line up was Phoxjaw who kicked straight in with ‘Monday Man’ and the venue the audience that was starting to fill out definitely liked what they heard. The band put on a real show and perhaps their good performance was egged on by their good mood having just signed a record contract that day. The Vocalist and bassist Danny Garland screamed beautifully and gave an energy-filled performance that was as visual as it was vocal.

The audience’s next treat was Skywalker who had touched down in the UK from the Czech Republic and were visibly overjoyed to be there. The crowd lapped up their post-hardcore sound and the way they went at it, it was if they were the real stars of the show. You could tell that the band loved what they do and gave it their everything which was matched in enthusiasm by the audience. Frontman Jay Kutcher was the real gem and the grin on his face gave away just how much of a privilege they felt playing for this crowd was.

The crowd had already proved its worth and were waiting in anticipation to rock their faces off to the headliners, so when SHVPES came out and launched straight into ‘One Man Army’ the room went off. Swinging into the next song ‘Undertones’ was an inspired move and that catchy ass song had everybody moving. This show was truly wild and the crowd were pulling out all the stops and so were SHVPES.

After a few songs that really displayed their versatility a beautiful moment that summed up that very versatility happened. The frontman Griffin Dickinson announced, “we’re gonna take a break from punching the shit out of each other,” and slowed it all down by playing ‘Renegades’. It’s no exaggeration to say that every last person in the room was singing along.

As well as the brand spanking new tracks the crowd were treated to some old ones including ‘State of Mine’ and ‘God Warrior’, reminding the fans that a lot has changed over the last few years but sometimes the old ones are the good ones, even if the frontman doesn’t think they are. Later Dickinson sat down for a moment and brought the audience ‘Two Wrongs, No Rights’, showing off what wonderful things he can actually do with his voice. It was a touching moment for some fans and just a chance to get their breath back for others.

The set was amazing and the unsurprising encore of ‘Calloused Hands’ and ‘Afterlife’ gave the fans the chance to say one last mental goodbye to their favourite band, while Dickinson dove into the crowd and surfed his way through the latter. The Underworld is always a great venue for getting up close and personal with the acts and this show was no exception. As for where SHVPES are going from here, the phrase is onwards and upwards that’s for sure.

Photos by Imogen Bird.


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