Ahead of their highly anticipated Download Festival appearance opening the second stage on the Saturday, alternative rockers and harmonious intellects Press To Meco headlined the Barfly, to warm-up before hundreds flocked to Donington Park to bare witness to the wondrous three-piece.
London based pop-infused rock quintet Carson opened the bill, playing their first ever live show. All be it in a somewhat empty room, their vibrant, youthful spirit didn’t hold back as they hailed material from their debut EP Take Our Time. Strong drum accompaniment in sync with a self-assured Don Broco stance to their musicality brought their set alive and away from the evident nerves. Track ‘Take Your Time’ took on a catchy, yet mature tone with gutsy vocality as its enthusiastic vibe ensured for some crowd appreciation. Although Carson may not have shown music beyond the ordinary; courage and ability to combat mistakes through a dynamically lively nature was admirable. With a times some humorous banter coming from the stage, its hard not to like these young musicians, but they’ll certainly have to step up their game in the future to beat the big players.
Fizzy Blood (8)
Yorkshire four-piece Fizzy Blood followed Carson in a matter so different, the anti of the evening was boosted significantly through the band’s ability to be euphoric and heroic. The quartet have come leaps and bounds since their last London appearance with Press To Meco by using their fun-spirited nature to their advantage. Their poised, yet a times wacky presence integrated with accomplished indie-like vocals made for a set showcasing raw talent. Fiery riffs and retro fashion hit the audience to ensure rock elements were not to go a miss. Whilst their high energy moments such as a guitar display on the floor are no less than entertaining, this band definitely seem to lend to more indie tendencies as opposed to rock and roll. That being said, Fizzy Blood lived up to their name and ensured their closer and latest single ‘January Sun’ surprised as scream vocality kicked in to knock us for six.
Hearts Under Fire (8)
Main support came in the form of all-female four-piece Hearts Under Fire. Although the term ‘female fronted rock band’ is one that has become a bitter annoyance in the industry and sometimes a source of stigma, it must be stated as these Surrey women know how to pile on the punk-rock goodness. Their strong unity and canny humour ooze a dark edge that is gutsy, plucky and melodic. From their riffs that hook to cleaner guitar elements, that alone was enough to entice the audience in. But mix this in with divine vocals intertwined with a background gang vocal essence, their set dazzled with talent. Track ‘Liquid Love’ carried on with what seemed to be an evening theme of singing and playing about drunken moments in their much-loved DIY style that carried their dynamite melodies through to the set’s closing stages.
Press To Meco (9)
As the evening drew to its final set, the room instantaneously grew in audience size for the alternative trio. In true Press To Meco fashion, the three-piece bursted onto the stage with an eagerly energetic guitarist, Luke Caley as the crowd effortlessly animated. The band’s adored and quirky juxtaposing of clean vocal elements alongside a chunky instrumental context saw tracks from their Affinity EP being taken by the head bangs that emerged all around a sweaty Barfly. Their unconventional and exquisite use of three-piece harmonies for once were not over-shadowed by poor sound quality, but instead gallantly filtered through freely. Newer track ‘Family Ties’ packed a groovier punch, but without letting up on their uplifting style. But the highlight of the evening was closing track ‘Love and Reason’. It saw a group gather to the stage for a mosh-pit showdown, whilst the trio used the ballad’s power to breakdown into a guitar angst frenzy. It is to be applauded that Press To Meco are not only a hugely talented band, but can pack out as many tempos, tones and textures that you could possibly imagine. Soon their off-the-wall style will only be visible on the bigger stages. Watch out.