Since releasing their debut album, For The First Time, in January, it feels as if Black Country, New Road have been everywhere, without actually going anywhere. The album was met with critical acclaim, charting at number 4 within the UK Album Chart. This weekend, the London based 7-piece were back doing what they do best, playing a live-streamed set from London’s Southbank Centre.
The band opened with Mark’s Theme, a touching and emotive tribute to saxophone player, Lewis Evans’ uncle, who sadly passed away earlier this year. It was a mournful, slow-burning number that centred on Lewis’ saxophone, and acted as a prologue to the contrasting Instrumental, which sprung to life, bursting at the seams, sounding bigger than ever before.
10 minutes into their set, the vocals begin. The charming opening of Athens, France sees viewers introduced to Isaac Woods’ vocals that verged on perfect, with nervous and intriguing instrumentation carrying the track along. The performance displayed by Black Country, New Road on Saturday night was as much a visual performance as it was an aural one, each track was taken up a level by flickering imagery.
Science Fair follows, seeing Black Country, New Road create chaotic, jittery energy, the visuals flashed between fish, school buses and motorways, heightening the threatening tempo of the track. As it climaxes, the band’s influences merge together to form a wild ending.
‘Sunglasses’ sees itself adapted for the third time since it’s original release in 2019, this time seeing Isaac Wood possess a softly sung vocal that holds more emotion than ever before. This reformed version of ‘Sunglasses’ sees the band form a pounding, loud close, truly something to behold.
Track X revealed that the 9 members of the ‘audience’ were actually choir singers, providing a creative, unexpected layer to what is already an emotive number, before flying into the chaos of Opus. During Opus, it feels as if Black Country, New Road couldn’t be more perfect, seeing the band accelerate into eruption with the addition of the choir creating a dark, mysterious anthem.
Just as you begin to think it’s all over, the band continue to surprise, introducing two unreleased tracks, Bread Song and Basketball Shoes. Bread Song a tender, ballad-like number that allowed Isaac to switch to an electro-acoustic guitar, allowing a breather before the last hurrah in Basketball Shoes. Basketball Shoes was the longest track in the bands set, a fan-favourite, marathon track that saw guitarist Luke Mark showcasing a double-necked, twelve-string.
In a time where the world seems to be overly saturated with live-streamed gigs, Black Country, New Road excel in every way. As their established tracks continue to soar, the unreleased tracks spread their wings and fly, preparing to introduce us to the band’s next era.