If the most popular band of the festival was decided by merchandise sales alone then Gasoline & Matches would have been clear winners, it was varied, inventive, enjoyable and full of humour, much like their recent releases and indeed their performance tonight. They really looked like they were born for that bigger stage and looked every inch the class act. Sally Rea looked magnificent in her suit while Stephen beneath his hat was a perpetual live wire seemingly never still for a moment
There was something cheeky and endearing about Gasoline & Matches from the very off, choosing the music from "Once Upon A Time in The West" as their entrance theme was a masterstroke, it was attention grabbing but also set down a marker on which they would have to deliver, a challenge they would well and truly rise to. The last few weeks have seen a couple of excellent releases from the band which should along with this performance hopefully raise their profile, which for a band this good seems nowhere near as high as it should be.
It was to be the latest of those recent releases "Smiling Viper" that would start things off with a rocking electric guitar intro and power drum beat.
This song had just about everything, from shameless guitar posing ( well why not if you can't do it a festival when will you!!), to a corking chorus. Stephen was a blur, posing one minute, up on the drum riser the next and this was just the first song!!. Clearly relishing being back on a stage in front of a real audience they went on to deliver an excellent blend of new and old. Whether it was the Fleetwood Mac leanings of "Afraid To Fall" which saw Sally Rea and Stephen looking at each other intently as they played their respective guitars or the perfect pop of "if You Want To Stay" from their debut EP they never failed to impress making themselves the ideal openers to truly get the party started.
Although primarily it was Sally Rea on lead vocals, Stephen was more than happy to take the lead vocal duties on the as yet unreleased "Gathering Glass", a seemingly brooding ballad.
Another visit to the debut EP saw the superior pop of "Not Into Country" while there was almost a touch of The Civil Wars as they gathered around one microphone to perform the a capella closing section of another new song "Patient Wolves".
Whether rocking or on a slower ballad like "Tequila's A Healer" they demanded your attention, be it Sally Rea's vocals or Stephens lovely bluesy guitar solo.
Eventually we had to reach the song that launched a thousand t shirts and indeed a poster or two - "Never Have I Ever" is simply a tour de force on behalf of Sally Rea who somehow manages to hold it together while delivering hilariously cheeky lines, acting them out at the same time and then topping it off by delivering a cracking chorus - no time wasted here!
Closing out with the rockabilly romp of "Fools Gold" this was undoubtedly Gasoline & Matches establishing themselves as potential future headliners.
Never have I ever seen a band take their opportunity and run with it like Gasoline & Matches !!