Date: March 4th 2016
Venue: The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Support: Max Raptor / Press To Meco
When music is surrounded with pessimists saying that rock is dead or asking where the next generation of headliners are, it’s hugely encouraging to see a long, well supported, rotating headline tour of 3 genuinely great and exciting British bands getting the publicity that it is deserves. The ‘UK Throwdown’ tour triple threat of Press To Meco, Max Raptor, and Allusondrugs is the perfect example of what your local independent venue can offer you, and how the rock scene in 2016 is overflowing with hungry, talented bands.
First up in Milton Keynes tonight, Max Raptor  provide the punk rock for the evening and immediately dive into new material with the self-titled track from their ‘Damage Appreciation’ EP, and frontman Wil Ray is already mingling with the fans on The Craufurd Arms floor. The bouncy yet political ‘Population’ sounds on point, but oldie ‘Obey The Whips’ has the crowd taking over the back-up vocals. 2016 is looking like the breakthrough year for the Hassle Records newbies with plenty of European shows planned and their self-titled record dropping in April – and, if ‘Old Romantics’ is anything to go by, it’s certainly one to look out for. Seminal track ‘The King Is Dead’ closes the show on an almighty high and the Burton-upon-Trent complete their 40 minute section with the bar raised very high.
Thankfully, South London boys Press To Meco  are up to the task and blast out their debut album opener ‘Family Ties’ like a band that have been together a decade. Luke Caley‘s curly hair bops along with the music as he sings the melody during ‘Honestly’, but he still manages to pull off the intricate, almost prog riffs throughout. The old cliché of how can a three-piece band possibly make such a noise is extremely relevant to Press To Meco, but, on the other end of the spectrum, their perfect harmonies on ‘Autopsy’ show a slower, more thoughtful and sensitive side. Not for long though, as ‘Manipulate’ throws the heavy rock back in the mix, and the young band continue to show that they can impress on all fronts.
Yorkshire psych-pop-grungers Allusondrugs  can hardly squeeze into a genre as their take on the 90s scene is different to anything around at the moment, and, as ‘Stir’ introduces the band tonight, it’s hard not to be mesmerised by what’s happening on stage. There’s green hair, outrageous jackets and more hair than a Wookie barber but it’s the blurry Pixies-fuelled music that steals the headline show during the excellent ‘Nervous’. The band are no strangers to this venue and there are plenty of returners in the crowd to watch them play the slower tempo hits ‘Sunset Yellow’ and ‘I Should Have Gone To Uni’, but it’s the upbeat ‘Am I Weird?’ that makes them dance like teens do at prom in American high school movies. The difference between the 3 acts tonight is huge in the realm of rock music, but the audience is glued to each in their own way and if this isn’t an advert for what Britain can do for rock music then we’ve missed the boat so much that we’re all lying at the bottom of the sea; this tour is the epitome of new music and all three bands require your attention as soon as possible.
Written by Mike Heath (@MikeBeef)