Black Peaks & Heck - Wolverhampton - 13/09/16
Heck and Black Peaks announced a Co-Headliner tour and the world stopped. Simply put I had to go to this show. So I did.
Wolverhampton Slade Rooms. The venue on the corner, on the ring road. I think I went once, for some afterparty, but I don’t recall the whereabouts of the location. After a long walk around Wolverhampton, due in no small part to somebody’s
need to use technology, despite it not working as it should, directing us the entire way around the town centre. After asking someone, we finally find the venue.
Doors were at 7; we arrive at 8 ish, so we’ve missed the first band tonight. We catch Bad Sign, a 3 piece from Croydon. They have an almost Pop-Punk vibe to them, aesthetically, at least. 2/3 of the band have beards, and the other guy is wearing a Vans Trucker cap. Audibly, they take a slight step to the heavier side, reinvoking memories of early We Are The Ocean (Check out “Nothing Good Has Happened Yet” by WATO to understand what I mean). There were glimpses of potential, but they encountered intermittent, annoying sound bleeds. It was as if the sound desk had embodied Spinal Tap’s need to turn it up to 11. They were all over the wide stage of the Slade Rooms, and they really did capture your attention. It was just a damn shame that the vocals kept bleeding.
The next band seem to be a band that I see more regularly than I see my family. They are incessantly touring, and always leave everything on the floor (not the stage, you’d have to play on a stage to leave it there) at every show, and yet, they are the 4 of the nicest musicians in the world today. Heck are from Nottingham. They play their own brand of Metal, and it’s phenomenal. Like a Steel Chair to the face, they are just incredible. They fly through the venue, and smash through the set. If you ever see them live, you’re left wondering if they can deliver in a studio. A listen to their epic “Instructions” will give you the same ferocity, but with a safety to it, meaning you’re less likely to be hit in the face by a rogue guitarist (looking at you, Jonny) on his way to the bar mid set. But live, there is a different atmosphere. There’s a sort of danger to being in this crowd, but it adds a rush of adrenaline, one that you’ll get in extreme sports, like bungee jumping, base jumping, etc. That danger accentuates the spectacle of this band. Jonny Hall runs about the venue, climbing speaker stacks, riding tables (WITH WHEELS?!?!?!) through the crowd, looking like the Generation Game’s final game, super sped up, while Matt Reynolds sets up on the Merch table, or in some poor (depends how you see it really) guy’s face, or on top of a crowd of people. Paul Shelley takes the stage for his own, striking poses and pulling out the most powerful bass face in existence, while Tom Marsh smashed the living heck (no pun intended... maybe...) out of the drums. Honestly, I have gushed about this band to so many people, going back to YNot Festival 2014, when I gushed about them to Frank Turner, who went to watch them, and has hyped them in numerous interviews since. And every time I see them, I know why, and I start hyping them to people all over again. I should be a promoter (wink, wink, nudge nudge...).
Black Peaks are up next. They are instantly different to Heck, spending the majority of their set on the stage side of the barrier. It’s like a safety net after the raw adrenaline of Heck. My only issue is that after Heck, everything seems too safe. They look and sound like a young Funeral For A Friend, and play with that same attitude. They’re fun. Unfortunately, they’re not quite Heck. Heck stole the show, and are now in the crowd, getting involved, as they have every night this tour, as Matt tells us in the bar between sets. Black Peaks are a very interesting, very animated band, and are all talented as hell. Unfortunately, that bloody sound desk has them bleeding on occasion. Not as much as earlier, but enough to stick in my mind. They play through it, and the frontman plays on the barrier, leaning into the crowd, screaming in faces and controlling the tempo with ease. But that’s not to say that the band behind him are just filler. Oh no, they’re passionate about what they’re doing, mouthing the words their frontman is singing, and filling out the stage with their individual personas.