Words by Laura Herbert, photos by Rachael Griffiths.
Sometimes you just know you’re in for a great evening of live music. Tonight is one of those nights. The Barfly sets out for a killer line up, with Zoax on top for their first UK headline tour. Leading up to a night full with unpredictable moves and pure recklessness, The Survival Code, Press To Meco and Dead! provide the perfect warm up riffs.
Kicking things off were hometown boys, The Survival Code (7) who bring a different edge to tonight’s proceedings. Bringing a more defined rock twang, this trio bring a barrage of hard hitting riffs but with chorus’s made to hook you in, they’re songs are like a gift that just keep on giving. Whilst playing to a sparse crowd, by the time latest single Living A Lie gets belted, heads are enthusiastically bobbing along. Frontman Gary McGuinness uses his Irish charm to deliver some good old fashioned vocals, mixing raw grit with soaring melodies as their songs latch onto your ear drums. It’s safe to say that this isn’t the usual crowd for this band, but they came out and delivered a fast-paced set that prepared us for the rest of the night.
In a night showcasing some of the most exciting upcoming talent in the UK, Press To Meco (8) arrive with so much force that they blow their amp. This small blip doesn’t bother them one bit, as they quickly fix the problem and unleash some technically crafted heavy rock. The crowd significantly swells for these South London boys as front man Luke Caley jokingly says “We’re still a bit self-conscious, so clap a bit louder” and the crowd responds as they send shockwaves through The Barfly. The band never take their foot of the pedal, as they battle more technical difficulties. However the band carry on their battle and go on to deliver Autopsy were pure chaotic might, making it a somewhat heavy encounter. The challenge of playing live is what you do when things go wrong, if Press To Meco are anything to go by, you pucker up and smash your way through.
Dead! (8) follow suit as they instantly satisfy the crowds taste of the heaviest kind. It’s clear that frontman Alex Mountford knows how to conduct himself. As he clicks his fingers to the beat, there’s no doubt that the stage is where he’s meant to be. As they charge into their first track at 100mph, the Southampton lot who call themselves ‘Punk ‘n’ Roll’ release an inner darkness whilst headbangers show themselves left, right and centre. Everything. Everything leads them back into a scene of recklessness, where screams highlight their talent to write an intense track for live ears. They ooze huge vibes of MCR, both vocally and melodically with a reckless stamp of their own. As the tour draws to a close, it’s evident it’s been an emotional ride as Alex confesses that, “this has been the best tour ever, I’m getting emotional now”. Showcasing their new song Shocker, it rocks a few feathers before moving onto their last track where claps and screams applaud them off the stage.
The incredible Zoax (9) takes to the stage and frontman Adam Carrol sets about covering every corner of the room with his presence. There’s no half measures with this eccentric linchpin as his cheeky smile sees in the high octane Is Everybody Listening? Yes Adam, yes we are. Whilst the band only have two EP’s worth of material it feels like they have already amassed a set list full of anthemic ragers. Headlining a venue of this size fits the band’s ethos perfectly and songs like High sound absolutely ferocious as Zoax show us the how destructive they can be.
There is no time to relax during Zoax’s set, as you are left guessing what they and Adam are going to do next. “This song is called Click and if you don’t jump I’ll find you and kill you” Adam says with a look of pure rage in his eyes. Click sees the crowd thrusting their hips and bouncing in time with the band, as The Barfly experiences huge tremors. It’s clear to see that this band are grateful for where they are as this marks their first ever headline show. “This is one of the best of my life”, a humbling Adam tells the crowd as his fellow members give their fans a massive thumbs up. The controlled chaos continues, but this time from the bar as the Irish-men serenades us with his charming side.
The intensity remains paramount with Johnny Hall from Baby Godzilla joining the band as they smash their way through the destructive Mind Game. This was becoming more than your average rock show, this was also becoming a giant party for the best live talent in the UK. They end the night with where it all begun from them with their first ever single Bitter. Angry. Fake, which is met by one last rally from the crowd. The breathless frontman cries out with one last line for the night, as he yells “You’ve just created the greatest night of my life”.
If people don’t think the UK scene is in good health, all they need to do is look at night’s like tonight. All of these bands can and hopefully will go on to bigger and better things – but for tonight putting on one hell of a show is what it was all about.