Live Review : Black Peaks + Bossk + Gold Keys @ Academy 3, Manchester on October 17th 2018
In your mind’s eye draw what you think the stereotypical Hoxton dwelling uber hipster looks like and voila you have Gold Keys. They wander on stage giving the distinct impression they are about to accept an award for creating the trendiest of trendy hairstyles or the hoppiest craft beer ever and then precede to be rather subdued Radiohead copyist. I was expecting vim and vigour but what we do get is, to be brutally honest, rather dull.
If Pink Floyd came into being in these uncertain almost dystopian times, rather than being formed in the hippy carefree days of the late sixties, then they would have ended up sounding like Bossk. This is dark Prog at its bleakest and it's utterly captivating. Wave after wave of sound crashes across the room as Bossk crave out sonic sculptures. Actual tunes are hard to discern, but god this is mesmerising.
Let me put my cards firmly on to the table, in my humble opinion Brighton’s Black Peaks are probably the most exciting and invigorating young band to emerge on the scene for many a year. Yes that is a bold statement, but tonight with their unstoppable angular riffs, unbridled energy and breathless enthusiasm, god do they earn it. They have a swagger, confidence and conviction you only see when a band realises they are on to a good thing. They do come across as being pleased as punch with what they have created, with absolutely no hint of irony whatsoever singer Will Gardner introduces new track 'Eternal Light' as 'an absolute banger', but when they have written songs as good as ‘Say you Will' and 'Can’t Sleep’, can you blame them?
Musically, it is virtually impossible to pigeon hole Black Peaks into one particular category or to coherently and succinctly describe what they actually sound like. This is not because they are doing something drastically new or ultra original, it's because they never settle on one particular style. Over the course of their relatively short seventy minute set they manage to pass through the a staggering amount of varied and diverse musical touchstones. They create such a melting pot of different styles, influences and genres that frankly I am not even going to bother trying to reel off a list of bands they fleetingly remind me of as we could well be here all day. What however is worth mentioning is the equalerterenism and boundary hopping nature of their musical pilfering. Yes this is heavy music, but the influence of those from firmly outside our genre is very evident. There are flashes of the aforementioned Radiohead, dashes of latter day Arctic Monkeys, dollops of Foals and even fleeting glimpses of U2. Black Peaks are very much a product of the Spotify generation, where influences are not simply dictated by the contents of one’s record collection.
Black Peaks genius is that they have taken this patchwork of indie, post-rock and hardcore (to name three, you could legitimately get away with throwing around the names of a dozen other sub-genres) and created something utterly compelling and enthralling. There are so many different styles at play that tonight's show should really be a mess, but its not. Instead it's an intoxicating, engaging and utterly exciting rollercoaster of a ride, short yes but still utterly compelling. As they take their bows with an encore of 'Home' from stunning new album ‘All that Divides' there is a collective realisation in the audience that we have just witnessed something incredibly special.