Let me start this off by saying that I despise my birthday. I don’t often have a good one, and sometimes they are downright terrible. Now that I have hit my 40’s, it just feels like a reminder that I am spiraling out of control into the great abyss. So this year, when I was asked to cover PEAK at Brooklyn Bowl, I decided this fine evening was going to be my birthday celebration. I had never been to Brooklyn Bowl at all (…I know, right?! How did that happen???) and PEAK shows have become some of my favorite outings. Plus they were there in support of TAUK who I had never seen live, and there would be beer, so why not? Birthday locked and loaded – lets go!
I said in my previous post that the first time I caught PEAK live was last year around this time. I thought then that they were one of the most fun live bands that I had seen in a very long time. Little did I know they would take that evaluation of mine and blow it to the moon this past weekend. Over the last year, through lineup changes and new songs, the band has become a performance powerhouse. Their live show is floor to ceiling energy exploding from start to finish and if you can manage to stand still during it, I just don’t know what to do with you. With masterful songwriting and outstanding stage presence, the band is already standing strong. Factor in how they bring forth exceptional vocals, explosive drums, groove heavy bass, and a guitar and key team that you would think have been working in tandem for decades, and you have one of the most exciting live bands to hit this scene in a long time. If you have not seen PEAK yet, you are missing out.
The show started out tamely and steadily with a trickle of crowd coming into Brooklyn Bowl. Folks were grabbing a quick bite or hovering around the bar for a pint and the music was trickling into their ears. You see, PEAK has these fantastic guitar solos and the stellar vocals. The music pulls you in and before you know what is happening, it starts that quick hip shake. I love reviewing shows because people watching in the crowd is one of my all time favorite pastimes. I stood off to the side and watched as ears perked up and people started to take notice. Slowly they were moving towards the stage.
As the show progressed, the beats got steadier and quicker and this magic started to spread through the room. People were coming closer to the band, bodies were swaying, and even the bowlers had taken notice and had started to migrate towards the stage from the side. By the three quarter mark, I was in the crowd dancing with everyone and watching as people remarked to those standing near them, “Who is this??? This is great!” It was a true delight to watch people taking notice of this band I had been enjoying watching the progress of for the last year. I was more than happy on numerous occasions to exclaim, “THIS IS PEAK!” (caps for yelling over music-effect)
By the end, I was more or less spilling my beer all over the place due to high intensity dancing fits. I would imagine it was NOT pretty, but the energy of the night was just infectious. Is this what a GOOD birthday is supposed to feel like? This was the best I have ever seen them play. They were so very on that night and the smiles between them showed it. My legs are still sore two days later from the dancing. Guitarist, vocalist, and founder Jeremy Hilliard and keyboardist and vocalist Johnny Young brought out some killer harmonies and seriously nasty solos. New to the band extraordinary bassist Josh T. Carter knocked it out of the park with his grooves and really displayed what an exceptional player he is. Drummer Kito Bovenshulte absolutely blasted the energy in the room with his steady dance beats and effortless style. He is just one of the greatest drummers on the scene right now. Think I’m lying? Go see PEAK.
Honestly, if I don’t see PEAK all over the late night festival scene this summer, there is something profoundly wrong with all of you promoters out there and you need to find new work. I know much of that crowd was there for the exceptionally awesome TAUK (who blew my mind with that Hendrix set…good god, dude…) but they were stoked with what PEAK put in their souls that night and their explosion of applause at the end of their set was evidence to that. I hope you were there to feel that energy in the room but if not, don’t you worry! They have more dates coming up and you can be there. Check the list below and follow the band on their website at http://www.peaktheband.com.
See you out there!