It’s a rare thing to see a tour line-up that’s absolutely impeccable, and even rarer that it lives up to its potential. Three fantastic young artists all on the cusp of greatness play Glasgow’s King Tut’s tonight, and it probably goes without saying that we were in for a special evening.
Up first are frenetic mathcore outfit Employed to Serve. Their style lends itself well to a live setting, allowing them both to show off their technical prowess and assault the senses with their sheer aggression and ferocity. They’re by far and away the heaviest band of the night, and it shows. They demonstrate the on-stage musicality of a band well beyond their years, and set the tone for the night in terms of combining that with good old-fashioned passion in their performance. While they might not quite reach the heights of the following two bands they still play a fantastic set in their own right. (3.5/5)
Tigercub may seem like an odd choice at a predominantly metal gig, but they fit right in. Although there are notable changes in the crowd, there’s a heaviness and intensity to their sound live that defines them far more than their cool, uncaring indie rock demeanour. With the backing of a notably well-constructed light show, they pit in an incredibly tight and varied set. The psychedelic riff at the start of ‘Control’ is awe-inspring, while the sheer noise of ‘Migraine’ is crushing and gives the other two, much heavier bands a run for their money. Tigercub move through these styles with ease, making for not just a well-played, but a dynamic and interesting set. (4/5)
However, the real MVPs tonight could be the finest metal band on earth, Black Peaks. The atmosphere of their live show is difficult to do real justice, but it reflects their studio output in terms of quality and feeling. On stage, the band’s performance paradoxically channels the theatricality and musicality of progressive rock, and the raucous energy of punk and metal, in the same way they masterfully combined all of these elements on record.
Adding to the sense of occasion, Black Peaks play ‘Statues’ in full and in order. Although its their only album, and one might not think this is a big deal, the order of the songs subtly improves the set. Hearing the transition from ‘Say You Will’ into ‘Hang ‘Em High’; or the emotional vocal performance on ‘To Take the First Turn’, preceded by the rest of the album being played live by a band performing at their peak, adds so much to the experience.
Frontman Will Gardner is an absolute alien on stage and his antics account for much of the aforementioned oxymoronic atmosphere. He is simultaneously a spectacle and accessible to the crowd, who he commands with confidence. Gardner will one minute be running about, or making ridiculous body movements on stage; and the next be perched on the barrier, amalgamating with crowd during ‘Hang ‘Em High’. He has undeniable charisma as a frontman, and brings a sheer conviction to both his, and the rest of the band’s performance. There really is nothing quite like a Black Peaks show. (5/5)
And that’s what it boils down to – sheer conviction and musicality. Forget sex and drugs, this conviction and tightness is what rock music should represent. This show was an example of three of the most promising young bands in heavy music playing at their absolute best, and anyone would be mad to miss them on this tour.