LIVE: Arcane Roots / Black Peaks / Gallery Circus @ Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton

By Tamsyn Wilce

Having locked themselves away at the start of 2015 to focus on writing their new album, aside from a European stint with Enter Shikari these are the first real shows of the year for Arcane Roots and despite having to recruit a new drummer a week before they hit the road (Jack Wrench of In Dynamics), the force they delivered at their Brighton show was really quite astounding.

Opening support came from Americans turned Geordies Gallery Circus. It would appear that since the monumental rise of Royal Blood, indie-grunge duos are rocking up all over the place, with the likes of Slaves and Nai Harvest causing a scene, it’s time to welcome another to the club. Gallery Circus are not only brothers, but twins, who are determined to create as much energetic noise as physically possible. Though the music itself if something we’ve heard a lot of recently, watching the brothers become fiercely animated on stage, leaping out from behind the drums, thrashing down on the cymbals, while the other runs around the stage inbetween squeezing out distorted riffs and gritty vocals.

Black Peaks are a band whose name seems to be on every person’s lips at the moment; with a sound that resembles what it’d be like if you threw Reuben, Deftones and Thrice into a blender, it’s a niche market they’re attending too, but they certainly seem to be doing it well. That said, in all honesty there wasn’t anything distinctly memorable about their performance. There were rough, meaty riffs aplenty and frontman Will Gardner unleashed wails and bellowing vocal tones to add an intensity to the evening, but the songs blended into one another without much to set them apart. Perhaps it’s a matter of personal taste, but Black Peaks are going to have to add a little extra something to their sets in order to impress next time.

After a mediocre beginning, it was down to Arcane Roots to raise the roof and make the evening worth while, and from the outset it was evident they were taking it all in their stride. With in an instant of the opening riff to ‘Slow’ began, bodies were flying and throwing themselves forward and Andrew Groves’ vocal was as astonishing as ever. The math rock rhythms and punchy, powerful chords of 2013’s ‘Blood and Chemistry’ fill up the majority of the hour-long set and there is not a dull moment throughout. Single ‘Over and Over’ was a particular highlight; the chaos taken up another notch, with a riff that has a little more funk to it, the crowd unleashed all their energy in chanting back the chorus.

It wasn’t until ‘Revolve’ kicked in that shit really went off though, as soon as that delicate intro chimed in, leading into a gargantuan riff, the cheers from the crowd were deafening. Judging by the sound of the new single ‘If Nothing Breaks Us, Nothing Moves’ as well, things are only getting bigger, better and louder with the new material. For a band with a total of three members, the adrenalin they create with their music is incredible and there was not a single fault with their performance. Arcane Roots are without doubt, one of the greatest bands our country has to offer.