Nothing More

support Black Peaks
author LL date 05/05/19 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

Considering the progressive leanings and genre-blending attitudes of the two rock bands on the bill tonight, you might not expect them to attract a wide metal and rock audience in Copenhagen. Still, both Nothing More and Black Peaks have made appearances at the Copenhell Festival in recent years, although they visited it a couple of years apart. This has clearly helped them gain traction and given them an opportunity to build up their audiences here and so tonight, Pumpehuset is teeming with life from the beginning. I have been excited, too, as I know both bands to be excellent live acts and thus, I am certain that we’re all in for a spectacular evening, even as it is indeed a Sunday and also the very last show of this tour for them.

All pictures by Lykke Nielsen

Black Peaks

The progressive Brighton, UK band Black Peaks have been completely superior every time I have seen them in the past few years. Tonight will soon turn out to be no different as they steadily win over the full room at Pumpehuset. From the get-go, the sound is mixed weirdly in a way that leaves the most melodic layers powerless against the thundering of the drums and bass. It is not disastrous but it makes it hard to hear the depth of the songs’ thick layers of sound. This is going to haunt the performances throughout the evening, but Black Peaks manage to make a great impression nevertheless by sheer force of will. They lead with the circling "Can’t Sleep" that kicks the set off in style and soon after they attempt to open up the floor and get a mosh-pit going, but it soon dissipates again. Not long after, however, the epic "The Midnight Sun" provides a great highlight of the set as it especially draws applause because of some incredibly long screams from the band’s vocalist Will Gardner. He is in especially great form tonight, nailing it with his high-pitched cleans as well as the rabid screams and heavier growls. The towering guitar riffs are sort of lacking in character because of the sound mix, but the crowd here don’t seem to care too much. "Electric Fires", as well as "Say You Will" and "Saviour" (two of my favorites from the debut record "Statues") make great impressions later on as well, and especially the latter redeems the guitars a bit during the hectic part towards the end that lets them dominate the soundscape. In the end, "Fate I & II" gets to finish a highly convincing set that has sadly been hindered by the unclear sound mix. Still, it’s once again a display of power by Black Peaks and we can only hope to see them around these parts in the near future again - perhaps for a new headlining show this time?

Nothing More

The live shows of the Texas-based alternative metal/hard rock band Nothing More are always a spectacle to behold. This is especially because they always bring with them some incredibly industrial, home-made stage props, the staple of which is known as The Scorpion Tail. Tonight is no exception but some of their wilder routines around it have been cut compared to previous shows, making The Scorpion Tail as well as a ladder only used in the intro, somewhat anti-climactic to behold. Still, their performance gets the whole room banging our heads from the get-go as they slam on to the stage with "Let ‘Em Burn" quickly followed by the older favorite "Christ Copyright" that keeps the tempo high before the infectious "Don’t Stop" ends this first burst of energy from the stage. As with the set before, the melodious riffs disappear in the mix during Nothing More as well, but it is more of a problem now, perhaps because of the sharper, electronic power of the beats in their songs that dominate all the more. Of course, the band members perform energetically nonetheless, and there’s a great appreciative mood in the room with spontaneous clapping and singing along happening occasionally through the set.

The setlist is also well-chosen as we are taken through frantic songs as well as more ballad-oriented ones. One highlight is the two-punch of "Go To War" and "Do You Really Want It?" that serve to keep spirits high and provide some chilling moments, as Hawkins lets the crowd sing a couple of sentences with next to no instrument backing. The older classics "Mr. MTV" and "Jenny" also make solid appearances later in the set, the latter starting an especially poignant emotional section as it is followed up by the existentially themed "Fade In / Fade Out". The hit "This Is The Time (Ballast)" makes a welcome appearance soon after, and has the crowd really lining up for the last exertion of energy. This is followed by their cover of Skrillex’ "First of the Year (Equinox)" that as per tradition sets The Scorpion Tail in motion with Hawkins mounted high and live-editing his voice as well as the band’s instruments with effects. This time, though, it evolves into the firm beat of Queen’s "We Will Rock You" for a short while, spicing it up as a mash-up instead of the usual cover. But then, as we were just getting into it one final time, the show ends in a way that is clearly supposed to happen but feels very abrupt. Altogether, it is a somewhat polarized experience considering on one hand the weird sound, the unmotivated use of the band's stage props, and the unfulfilled feeling at the end, and on the other hand the good vibe among the crowd and the always on-point craftsmanship by the musicians on stage. I am definitely left with the feeling that this is not my best experience with the band but at the same time, it had some very good moments and I am happy that I've seen them one last time before they disappear into the process of writing their next album.

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