Periphery

support Veil of Maya + Good Tiger
author LF date 01/12/15 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

When the show tonight was first announced, I didn't plan on attending. While Periphery has written songs of great quality, my live experiences with the band have so far just not been super exciting ones. However, when a new band I had been keeping an eye out for (hint: Good Tiger) was announced as support, I really had no choice but to go and check out the show and give Periphery another chance. Without revealing too much too soon, I can say immediately that it turned out to be definitely worth my time overall although the performances varied in quality.

"Where Are The Birds" by Good Tiger

Good Tiger

The main reason for me following this new British prog band to begin with was that its two talented guitarists, Derya Nagle and Joaquin Ardiles, used to be in the amazing The Safety Fire which, much to my dismay, chose to break up earlier this year. Luckily, they're now in Good Tiger who recently released a promising debut album and thus I find myself here tonight mainly to check them out live. However, it's hard not to worry about the abilities of their ex-TesseracT vocalist Elliot Coleman due to the pretty ambitious clean melodies he provides that more often than not find themselves in far-reaching falsetto-territory. And sure enough, this also turns out to be the weakest spot for the band as they perform an otherwise good selection of their songs for us tonight. While he does great on his few growls, has a good stage presence and makes good strategic use of the backing track to help him in tight places, Coleman still struggles on the cleans and his voice breaks with a high pitch a little too often for it to be overlooked. Due to the quality of their material and their overall great skill level as a group, the experience is overall a positive one but this band still has a way to go before they can pull off a really convincing show.

"Mikasa" by Veil of Maya

Veil of Maya

The next band tonight is tellingly preceded by a very loud drum check and the moment they begin their first song, it's obvious that we have now moved into decidedly heavier territory. The heavy but busy beats of their progressive deathcore quickly get things going and it doesn't take long before the first mosh pit breaks out in the packed venue. Contrary to the previous band, vocalist Lukas Magyar spends most of his time growling but also does exceedingly well on his cleans. The change in character that the cleans bring to the music, though, isn't always integrated that well into the songs tonight. Also, after a bunch of songs with an admittedly high energy output as well as an oppressive hammering of drums, that mysteriously have a kind of hollow sound to them despite the thorough soundcheck, the set starts to feel sort of draining for a person standing outside the erratic zone of moshing. Nevertheless, the band gets immense support from most of the crowd and their performance is definitely an impactful one that has me wondering whether I should indeed give the band a proper chance at my home stereo, despite my general dislike for most deathcore music.

"The Bad Thing" by Periphery

Periphery

We're kept warm for our headlining band of the evening with some oddly chosen danceable house music that suddenly escalates in volume and stops, dramatically, to the dimming of the lights and the start of a grand instrumental intro for Periphery. Coordinated with a little light show, I find myself thinking that it's almost too much for this band but as they come out on stage and begin playing, they are nothing if not putting on a convincing performance. Vocalist Spencer Sotelo, who was ill last time I saw him perform, quickly dispels any lingering doubts I might have had as to his abilities, and with the always dependable musicians that otherwise make up the band at his back, nothing stands in the way of just getting swept along for the ride. The crowd really give it their all throughout this set and there are good vibes all around apart from an initial incident where a fan, I'm guessing by accident, throws half his beer over his head and on to the stage, hitting a couple of the band members who afterwards send dissatisfied glances his way and has Sotelo commenting that if you throw beer at him, you should throw enough to get him drunk.

As a kind of newcomer to the band, tonight I mostly treasure the songs from their most recent double album release, "Juggernaut: Alpha" and "Juggernaut: Omega". Especially the performances of "The Bad Thing" and "Alpha" stand as particuarly impressive and also has a several people in the audience singing along or otherwise engaging with the music. As we reach the encore, the band treats us, fitting for a group of musicians this skilled, to a couple of instrumental tracks. First the calm and atmospheric track "Memento" by Haunted Shores, which is a side project of guitarists Mark Holcomb and Misha Mansoor, followed by an absolutely crushing rendition of "Four Lights", also from Periphery's most recent release. After this, the last song of their double album, "Stranger Things", ends tonight's show on a high note. As I mentioned previously, my earlier experiences with Periphery live have not been particularly memorable but they have also not been bad as such. After tonight, I'll say that third time proved to be the charm, and after this I'll strongly consider going again next time I get the chance.

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