LIVE REVIEW: Black Peaks @ Academy 3, Manchester (17/10/2018)

Credit: Sofee Bryan

Date: October 17th 2018
Venue: Academy 3, Manchester
Support: Gold Key / Bossk


After the success and praise off the back of their 2016 debut ‘Statues’, the anticipation surrounding ‘All That Divides’, the sophomore follow-up from Brighton’s Black Peaks, was staggeringly high, to the point that it was easily one of the most hotly-awaited records of 2018.

Thankfully, disappointment is completely neglected, the the prog-esque rock outfit delivered the goods in abundance, all in time for the band’s first headline tour in just over a year and a half. The last time the band performed in Manchester was at the soon-to-be-closing The Ruby Lounge, bulking up to the extra 100 capacity room of Academy 3.

Opening up the bill on this run are Gold Key [6], who collectively have plenty of experience of time on the road, composed of members from Gallows, SikTh, Nervus, and Blackhole. It’s a bit of a shaky start for the four-piece, particularly for frontman Steve Sears who seems a tad on edge, but by the time we reach ‘Sneaker’ and ‘Kerosene’ the band finally seem in full swing, and their punk offerings certainly have some pulling power.

Things take an almost complete polar opposite turn sonically, and to an extent aesthetically, with Bossk [6], who are drenched on the stage in deep dark lighting, barely showing their faces that are hidden in the shadows. The aesthetic and atmosphere is a large part of their set evidently, with several incense sticks and burners onstage, having their scent envelope the room.

Most of their work, such as the back-to-back one-two of ‘The Reverie II’ and ‘Atom Smasher’, sees very few vocals being provided by frontman Sam Marsh, who runs on and off of the stage a brief intervals whenever he’s needed. The instrumentation is undoubtedly crushing and almost apocalyptic, but maybe a longer set would serve their lengthy songs and monolithic approach better.

It’s obvious from the moment that they walk on-stage that Black Peaks [9] are undoubtedly the stars of the evening, and through their hour long set they back time and time again why they’re one of the most adored bands in the UK right now, and evidently it’s for good reason too.

The band play almost every track from their new record, ‘All That Divides’, and from opener ‘Can’t Sleep’ the room is transfixed on the Brighton quartet before them. Following number ‘Electric Fire’ is another sterling highlight, especially in its latter half, which radiates sharp A Perfect Circle vibes through and through.

Frontman Will Gardner, who with his magnificent moustache definitely resembles a young Ron Swanson, doesn’t miss a single note, and his stunning screams are impeccable, especially during older cut ‘Say You Will’, standing centre stage with arms wide almost like he’s on a crucifix.

All the while, numbers like ‘Eternal Light’ and ‘Glass Built Castles’ makes Joe Gosney sound like three guitarists in one, and drummer Liam Kearley could well have several other arms at his disposal with the speed, energy, and precision at which he hits the drums and cymbals during ‘Crooks’.

Closing out on a final encore of ‘Home’, the room is screaming every lyric right back at Gardner and co. as soon as the song bursts to life from its sombre intro, and its impactful message is strewn across the Academy room, and with that Black Peaks leave behind their importance in abundance.

Essentially, if you’re still sleeping on Black Peaks, then at best you’re only conning yourself.

You can check out our full photo gallery from the show here.