LIVE: ZOAX / Dead! / Press To Meco @ Barfly, London

By Ben Tipple

In London’s Camden Barfly, this particular warm Monday evening has generated quite a buzz. Both the headliners and main support have been drawing attention over the last few months, with each promising a spectacle to behold.

Press To Meco fight through some frustrating technical issues (“this corner must be cursed,” jokes the clearly irked lead vocalist and guitarist Luke Caley) to deliver some loud alternative rock. Despite some outdated melodies, the dual vocals add a distinctive edge to an otherwise uninspiring sound. Clearly adept at their art, some fresh compositions could help to push Press To Meco into the hype territory inhabited by tonight’s main acts.

Unable to shake comparisons to My Chemical Romance, Dead! (even their name is a My Chemical Romance track, complete with exclamation mark) are likely to divide the crowd, yet their sheer ability is unquestionable. At such a young age, each band member demonstrates an on-stage awareness that established bands are still scrambling for – their stand-in drummer is of particular note for his infallible skills. Yet their affinity to Gerard Way and co. is unrelenting, with the overall performance lacking any true individuality or depth. Once Dead! find the balance – and there are hints of it throughout their set – they are likely to be unstoppable.

ZOAX aren’t struggling for individuality, as frontman Adam Carroll leads the way with a mesmerising humorous on-stage presence. As has become customary for the London based genre-mashers, Carroll splits his time between the stage and the crowd, joyfully terrifying unsuspecting onlookers. Despite the visual spectacle ZOAX showcase their raw talent as a band, switching effortlessly between groove-laden hooks and thunderous breakdowns. Carroll’s voice transfers with ease from visceral screams to high-octave croons, seeing him take to the bar for a particularly unusual acoustic serenade (“that was the best moment of my life,” he proclaims).

ZOAX sit comfortably between Feed The Rhino and Letlive, both in terms of sound and live performance. Despite running the risk of becoming a gimmick laden band in the past, tonight shows their musical ability in its full glory. With Carroll taking centre-stage, the remaining band members are more than matching him in musicianship, and the result is truly electric.