To say that Black Peaks have endured some unfortunate circumstances as of late would be a touch of an understatement. Approximately a year on from the release of 2018’s All That Divides, a time where the band seemed almost unstoppable, the Brighton progressive metal group found themselves facing serious hardship when frontman Will Gardner was diagnosed with a life threatening case of sepsis. Following on from a year of cancelled appearances, postponed tours and all round worry in 2019, just as the band were gearing up to grab 2020 by the horns the world came to a sudden stop due to the pandemic. Still, ever the ones to persevere and endure, the group are back to seize the spotlight with tomorrow night’s livestream event Live At The Brighton Centre.
Recorded in the dead of winter and at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the Audiotree presented event see’s the band taking to the 5000 capacity venue to present their take on progressive density in the most cinematic way possible.“Honestly I am so stoked to put it out there, I think we all are”, states Black Peaks guitarist Joe Gosney. “It's a quite a unique thing for us to have done. Obviously there's been some amazing livestreams already. But on a personal level, to be able to do this is amazing. I purposefully haven't watched it back, apart from once to check the overall quality, but to be sat in the audiences position and be able to watch it is going to be really special. We're just excited to put something out there, it feels like it's been so long since we've been able to share anything creative. I think Will felt really privileged to finally get back out there.”
Even if the band weren’t able to perform to an actual audience, as Posney explains, the experience of performing such a renowned, historic and beloved venue was truly something extraordinary. “When we started the idea of doing this show, we knew we wanted to do it in Brighton. We approached a few different venues and places but the centre is really at the pinnacle, it's the biggest venue we've got here. We're not one the band able to fill a room like that, it would never even be an option to play that venue. In a weird sense, doing this livestream is going to be like a time stamp of that moment.”
Of course, bar from camera, lighting and sound crew, the room was utterly void of life. Instead of the roar of approval, the band are met with only lingering echoes and silence. Whilst this may not be the ideal environment nor setting for their first performance in 16 months, the lack of life is both a grim and poignant reminder of the ongoing troubles we all are facing. But as Posney elaborates, whilst the experience of performing to an empty room of that size was surreal, it was a vital component in the creation of their most unique shows of their careers and an experience to truly provide the live experience they’ve always wanted to.
“We've played our fair share of empty shows before when we were starting out, so we’re no strangers to that! But on that scale? Yeah, it felt surreal. We've done a fair few big support sets where we've played in big rooms and I suppose when you soundcheck it's to an empty room, but it's always with that anticipation of what’s to come. But with this, the focus was on this sense of eeriness of a large empty room. It was defiantly weird and I think we had to shake ourselves out of that. But we didn't want that to be an awkward thing, we wanted to use it as a vibe. Between songs we have cutaways to empty spots to really showcase how bizarre how, for the first time in all of our lives, no one has walked through the doors of these venues. These massive spaces are normally filled with people enjoying their time and coming together to experience something and now they've been sat empty for over a year now. We didn't want it to overly bleak, but we wanted to document the feeling and make that part of the show."
“We went as far to design a setlist that we thought would reflect that even further. Usually when we are building a set for a live show you often have to think about incorporating the more energetic songs to keep people moving before finishing it with a bang. But with this time we wanted to play more of the cinematic and longer songs to draw the whole thing out and have moments of space in there. That in itself was a really cool thing to do, it's like nothing we've really done before as a band. One of the cool things about this is that we were able to our create our vision as a band, how we see things and how we approach things. We where totally able to do what we've always wanted to do going out on tour, which at times logistically and financially cant work. As far as as our vision as a band is concerned, being able to do that and make a show out of it is the future of what we want to do. So being able to get a snapshot of that is really cool. I can only hope that this is the sign of things to come.”
Tomorrow night’s stream is set to present Black Peaks in a whole new light. Backed and enveloped in an immersive stage production of their own design, the event is set to see the band animate the cinematic progression that’s inherent to their music. So as Gosney signs off, a limited physical release of the show was only a logical decision.
“So we're putting it out on record. It's directly the audio from the show and it's been mastered superficially for vinyl. What you'll be hearing is what we where playing in the room, there's no overdubs or anything else added to it. Without blowing our own horn too much, because it came out so well we wanted to document and release it.”
“I hope this brings people together as much as possible. I know we can't go out and watch gigs at the moment so to give this experience to people in this current situation kind of feels like the only thing we can do as a band right now. I hope people can enjoy it, see it as an experience, turn up the volume, sink a few beers and see it as a good time.”
Black Peaks Live At The Brighton Centre airs tomorrow at 8pm.
Repeat viewings are available until 11:59pm 10th April.
Advance tickets are £11 and are available here. Watch the teaser trailer for the show above.