Tonight is a special night for Periphery. London’s own O2 Forum plays host to the largest headline date in the history of the band. A two and a half thousand strong sold out crowd are patiently awaiting this evening’s set, which constitutes one of only two UK dates for the prog metallers in 2017.
To start off the night, Italy’s own Destrange warms up the crowd successfully with a myriad of prog riffs combined with a high energy, hardcore punk flair. The atmosphere continues to be built upon by The Contortionist in direct support, who manage to create a slightly more subdued mood in comparison to Destrange, but not without the inclusion of the essential metal flavour that the crowd demands. Vocalist Mike Lessard spends the majority of the band’s set in the shadows of the stage, reminiscent of Tool’s Maynard, allowing the sonic aspects of the show to take center stage, with the sextet remaining mostly backlit throughout. Their varied set runs the gamut between gentle and melodic through to heavy guitar riffs and screams. Overall, both openers have tonight in amalgamation demonstrated some of the aspects of tonight’s headliner that fans hold most dear; a line-up that has clearly been meticulously prepared for tonight’s audience.
After what seems like an eternity of anticipation, the main event is here. Periphery take that stage to a roaring crowd, soaring straight into 2015’s Juggernaut prelude track A Black Minute. What follows is a heavy hitting compilation of songs which afford a high representation of new material from the band’s latest full length effort Periphery III: Select Difficulty. This combined with an incredible blazing light show provides a visual as well as aural spectacle that is definitely not lost on the ravenous, ever moving crowd. The set is peppered with older favorites spanning the entire discography, and major crowd pleasers such as The Bad Thing and Masamune go down as well as ever. Periphery even treated the assembly of Londoners to a cover of Memento, from guitarists Misha Mansoor and Mark Holcombe’s side project Haunted Shores.
Tonight is clearly an emotional evening, not just for those in the horde of metal fans in front of the stage, but for those on the stage too. At many points during the set, frontman Spencer Sotelo thanks the crowd for being part of the “greatest show in the history of Periphery”, and is perceptively overwhelmed by the turn out and participation of the fans singing every lyric, often above the noise of the band’s multiple guitars and heavy drums. It is clear that tonight’s show is perhaps even more significant for bassist Nolly Getgood, who takes the stage with his bandmates tonight for one night only, and for the first time in over a year, having chosen to take a step back from touring. Towards the end of the show, Getgood even takes to center mic to thank everyone for the “best show he has ever played”. This is followed by a powerful rendition of Periphery III’s closing track Lune, which acts as a catharsis for any energy unspent from tonight’s audience, and ends the night with a thunderous chant of the song’s final “whoa…” refrain.
Overall, this is a night that will not soon be forgotten both by fans and the band alike, and I fell that it is only a matter of time before Periphery return to UK shores to even bigger crowds and even bigger venues.