Black Peaks (+Phoxjaw & This Sun No More), The Sugar Mill, Gig Review

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Fresh off the bat from supporting Enter Shikari, Black Peaks return to the stages of Stoke with big boots to fill. With the release of their new album, ‘All The Devides’ in October 2018, along with the numerous gigs and festivals that followed, when they released early 2019 tour dates with Phoxjaw and This Sun No More, amongst their busy Enter Shikari schedule, many were sceptical about whether they would be able to deliver on such a high level, and solidly make the move from a support to a headline act.

Black Peaks haven’t been back to The Sugar Mill since 2017, following the release of first LP ‘Statues’. Hitting the stage hard with a collaboration of both new and old music, with the support of two strong and juxtaposing bands, Black Peaks really showed the audience they have what it takes to leave a lasting impression.

The self-confessed writers of ‘ancient noise and ancient words’ This Sun No More opened the show with what can only be described as an interesting psychedelic experience. A melodic mishmash of guitar, drums and keys was an ear joy highlighted by the lack of vocals. The lyrics were a few screamed, sometimes indistinguishable, words which, I can’t lie, took me by surprise having never seen the group live before. Overall, they gave a refreshing student band vibe to the usual sound of rock.

This Sun No More, The SugarMill, 07.02.19

Main supports Phoxjaw were certainly a more classically enjoyable experience, their energy getting the room moving and seeing a mood lift through their raucous punk and hard rock sounds. They managed to connect with and grasp the crowd’s attention better than their predecessors, leaning over to scream: “You better go f***ing crazy to this next one”, they knew how to command the stage and the crowd.

In classic gig style a heavy rumble vibrated through the floor, as the members of Black Peaks walked on in darkness, the first sight of them releasing an eruption of screams flooding the room. Spotlights honed in on vocalist Will as the band launched into first song, ‘Slow Seas’ off their most recent album.

Black Peaks, The SugarMill, 07.02.19

With a scream of “Its time to f***ing wake up” it was obvious these guys had come back with some fight, their chest punching sound making them seen, heard and remembered. Throughout a line-up of old classics and newer material the crowd were refused time to breathe or settle, keeping them hyped up, bouncing and nodding throughout the fog of sweat that had taken over the room.

During the climax of ‘Eternal Light’ a faint, “You’ve got one last chance to properly lose yourself to this song!” was heard before the floor was swallowed in a mosh pit. For the last few moments of their time on stage Will took his place sitting nearer members of the crowd, a final and personal thank you before departing the room, shrouded in darkness.

A room left commanded and destroyed, Black Peaks created a hard to follow impression.

Black Peaks was reviewed at The Sugar Mill, Stoke-on-Trent on 7 February 2019.

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