A typically striking performance saw Black Peaks adopt the role of saviour on a quiet Wednesday at the Westy.
Admittedly, a Wednesday night in Aldershot isn’t exactly the most enticing prospect. After sauntering my way through the multitude of pound shops that were on offer, the bright lights of a Frankie & Benny’s proved somewhat of a safe haven – an arena in which I could truly whet my whistle for a night of hardcore prog – a sound that Black Peaks champion. As the time to doors drew closer, the knots in my stomach grew tighter in the anticipation of a loud and frenetic night.
Irish trio Bitch Falcon were tasked with opening the night and, strangely, began their set almost at the exact same moment that the audience was permitted to enter the performance hall. Nonetheless, their colossal riffs and mighty vocals would surely have left a lasting impression upon the early punters. If you take the brand of 90s grunge practised by the likes of Smashing Pumpkins or Nirvana and inject it with the authoritative, stomping riffs of Royal Blood then you may have something that resembles Bitch Falcon. It’s a very cool dynamic and, given a proper crowd, no doubt it will resonate even further. The other support slot was occupied by InTechnicolour who unfortunately fell short on this particular night. An incredibly muted crowd made for the most awkward between-song tuning sessions that I’ve ever endured, and this lack of energy seemed to bleed its way onto the stage. There were moments to be enjoyed but, ultimately, it was a disappointing set.
Any stragglers left at the bar eventually ambled in to see tonight’s main event. Safe to say, the energy on the stage was amped up to a level that far surpassed the earlier showings and Can’t Sleep was undoubtedly one of the night’s highlights. For some, it may be considered a brave move to open with ‘new’ material, for Black Peaks it is a statement of intent. For an in-depth look at the set’s opener, hit this link: https://wavebyte.co.uk/2018/03/13/black-peaks-cant-sleep/, but in short, it’s a huge track and if it’s any indicator for the rest of Peak’s forthcoming release then we are in for a treat. In addition to this, we were shown two other new songs, both of which did sound of a similar calibre – it’s hard to make a proper judgement based on a solitary live listen, however, first impressions are tremendously positive.
Nonetheless, even a banger that big wasn’t enough to whip this hushed crowd into the frenzy that this band deserved. Frontman, Will Gardner took it upon himself to get his patrons moving. He snatched his mic stand and clenched firmly as he marched down into the middle of the crowd. At this point, we realised that Black Peaks weren’t here for a quiet Wednesday night, nor were they here to fuck around. The first pit of the night finally opened up and albeit a small one, brought along a huge sigh of relief for those of us that fancied moving around. A band as loud as Black Peaks won’t play these songs for a passive listen, no doubt they want to provoke. Finally, thankfully, they did.
Naturally, aside from the exciting prospect of new material, the show’s highlights came from the hits off of 2016’s debut LP, Statues. Personal favourite, Set in Stone was excellently executed with the marauding verses perfectly poising us for the gargantuan chorus that we know and love – eardrums shattered brilliantly as Gardner erupted with noises that I wouldn’t have thought it possible for humans to make. Glass Built Castles continues to impress even after countless listens and live encounters, how could a chorus that monstrous ever get old? The night drew to a close with the sensational complexity that is Saviour – the performance of which was a testament to the overall display from the band that night. The delicate guitar parts were handled masterfully by Joe Gosney, Liam Kearly was a machine on the tubs who showed no signs of stopping and, not only did Dave Larkin straddle his bass with aplomb, he also provided outstanding backing vocals throughout that properly beefed up the overall sound.
From what looked like a potential lost cause, a never say die attitude from Black Peaks absolutely saved the night and turned it into one that I will certainly remember. Be sure to catch these guys live, either at one of the remaining dates of this tour or at the plethora of festivals that they will be conquering over the summer.