Liverpool’s newest music festival made it’s debut on Friday as Fusion Presents launched at Sefton Park with the Fusion team’s first ever indie line up - including a UK exclusive headline performance from none other than Kings Of Leon.
Promising a full day of live sets from some of the country’s indie favourites, including Sam Fender, Circa Waves, Jake Bugg, Echo and The Bunnymen and Franz Ferdinand, expectations were of course riding high; and unfortunately failed to be met.
(Photo by Shannon Smith)
With ticket prices a little on the steep side for a one day festival, general organisation slumped low above the standard required for a stress free experience. From the failure of card machines at all three bars leading to long queues to access cash machines (which also added an additional £2.95 to the cost of an already highly priced pint) to toilet queues so long every area of the arena’s fencing was taken up by festival goers relieving themselves (including just feet away from the stage’s front barrier); the lack of preparation took a big toll on the enjoyment of the day.
One thing that must be noted is the huge missed opportunity of showcasing Liverpool’s own talent at what could certainly be a career changing event for the vast majority of the local music scene. Running only one stage at such a large scale event seems like a true waste, and certainly leaves questions as to why organisers as experienced as the Fusion team let such exciting potential slide.
Teething problems aside, having only one stage did mean all of the day’s performances ran flawlessly with change over times kept tight and crowds entertained throughout - and despite performances from Jake Bugg and Echo and The Bunnymen seemed to lack in energy and enthusiasm, we picked out the highlights of the day for you to catch up on.
Despite being so early in the day and rather lacking in crowd enthusiasm, Brit’s Critic’s Choice winner Sam Fender kicked off proceedings with a hit filled set which undoubtedly would have gone down a storm later on in the day.
“We thought we were tight on time, but it turns out we’re not” he stated, explaining the slightly hectic, characterless set. Despite the lack of chat, Fender pulled off a quality performance which proves him more than deserving of the ever building hype surround him. Ending on what can be described as none other than a love or hate cover of Oasis’ Morning Glory, Sam certainly got the day off to a strong start.
Bringing some much needed atmosphere to Sefton Park were of course local boys Circa Waves, wasting no time in injecting some energy into the slowly building crowd with Wake Up. “I used to get pissed over there!” grinned frontman Kieran, pointing across the arena to the other side of the park.
It couldn’t possibly be a Circa Waves set without a good few mosh pits on the go, and despite the crowd still being a little on the hard to please side the sounds of Goodbye and ultimate festival tune T-Shirt Weather sent drinks flying and heads bouncing; a solid reminder that Circa Waves were simply made for big festival stages.
As expected, the legendary Kings Of Leon made the main highlight of the first ever Fusion Presents; filling the entire arena with the buzzing atmosphere of excited scousers eagerly awaiting a glimpse of frontman Caleb Followill.
That atmosphere of course erupted as they took to the stage with a set nothing short of exceptional. Smiles could be seen in every spot of the arena as they smashed through all the hits, right from Waste A Moment and Supersoaker to Molly’s Chambers and The Bucket; earning huge singalongs and lighting flares right across Fusion Presents’ slice of Sefton Park.
Treating fans to a set completely different to the rest of their 2019 festival performances, Kings Of Leon effortlessly made the day’s teething problems seem a distant memory. Rarely played tracks Cold Desert, My Party and The Immortals packed a surprise for die hard fans, while the big hits Use Somebody and Sex Is On Fire made sure all tastes were catered for.
Ending on Black Thumbnail, Kings Of Leon proved to Liverpool exactly why they’re one of the biggest bands in the world, and made Fusion Presents a truly special day for most.