What a difference a county makes, after leaving sunny North Yorkshire I arrive in a wet and miserable Huddersfield, grabbing my hoodie out of the back of the car as I dash over the road and head upstairs at a time for what would normally be just me and the sound tech occupying the room find it not only half full but already warm and thankfully the Parish has fixed the hole in the roof that was present during heavy rain on my 1st visit after they moved across town from their original venue.

Omens are good then as it’s not our friends The Lottery Winners who are headlining that I’m here to see tonight (tho obviously I’m going to, see separate review following this) but actually the support act they have brought along with them for this tour,

Jack Valero. With so many years under their belt playing to just one man and his dog both the Lottery Winners and indeed the crowd know the importance of catching the support as the majority of the crowds at their gigs saw The Lottery Winners for the first time as someone’s else’s support band and indeed the crowd are showing their roots looking around as there’s Shed Seven, Pet Needs, Frank Turner etc shirts out there on the floor to complement those wearing TLW’s ones.

Now on to Jack Valero, having come across him during one of Spotify’s random track plays I was instantly intrigued to listen to more and the results were favourable and as luck would happen I get an email at the beginning of the week asking if I was free on Thursday to check him and the band out, hell yes!

Opening with Jack coming on solo playing a few bars of Beethoven’s Choral finale on the guitar (nod to U2’s entrance on the ZooTV tour perhaps?) as the rest of the band join him on stage it’s straight into I Can Hear It Coming and it’s clear why so many are here so early to catch their performance, fast paced and an excellent taster of what’s to follow.

What does follow is Catch My Soul, a song that sounds something like what Jake Bugg would sound like covering a Beatles song, fantastic rock n roll vibe running through it and it certainly grabs the rooms attention before Jack addresses the crowd to thank The Lottery Winners and to mention how welcoming they have being to them, where even Dave the Road Manager has been printing out their set list for them but…

Unfortunately tonight they were left in the dressing room with Thom Rylance (the most likeable frontman in the world…) who made some changes which will be mentioned in brackets going forward as they have already played I Can See You Cumming and Catch My Sperm… They crack off again with Temporary (Anal) Helplessness, a tune that you would swear by is a Paul Heaton & Jackie Abbott song – it’s of that calibre!

There’s Always Something You Can Do, a song that’s produced by none other than Jamie Webster for Jacks new EP We’re Not In Kansas Anymore comes next and it’s upbeat with that typical Webster swagger to which Jack adds by showing off his vocal range which towards the end I’m amazed to say hits the heady heights of the sadly now departed Greg Gilbert of The Delays

Innocent (Flesh)Light is given the full Rylance treatment and changes a usually rather sombre song as Jack gets the giggles during the opening verse over changing the lyrics to it’s new title which the crowd happily join him in singing along addind the new chorus word. Chaos and (Clap)Cloudy is a new song, again with an anthemic chorus; expect it to appear on TV montages if show producers pick up on it.

Penultimately next is the track that opened my ears to this lad and that’s Pull Back The (Foreskin)Hammer. On record it’s a proper earworm, the chorus with the line “one in the chamber and one left in the gun” really digs in there and played live it loses nothing. They finish with what Jack calls their happiest song “This Is A Nightmare” and it’s been anything but! A tremendous introduction to this young lad and his energetic band. 

I had high hopes entering tonight, a few friends I know and trust rated him and they, like him and the band, didn’t let me down. On record there’s a mix of things going on, I’m hearing elements of the previously mentioned Beatles and Paul Heaton as well as hints of Aztec Cameras Roddy Frame in the vocals and writing wise Form Over Function has a Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 vibe written right through it.

After tonight I expect big things from Jack and the band going forward and I urge you all to check him out, don’t stop at the first song, there’s a lot of depth and variety going on here with his song writing and after tonight I’ll certainly be watching his ride to stardom going forward.