I was excited all day for this gig. To see the heavy weights and somewhat pioneers of the Djent genre Periphery (USA) and TesseracT (UK) in all their brutality at the Annandale, I knew it was going to be an amazing show … but it would have to wait as the line to go in stretched all the way down the road … and don’t you love it when security try to mess with the law of queue physics, resulting in you losing your spot? Great. But nothing could dampen my spirit; after all I was about to see Periphery!
45 minutes later, I was still in the line, resulting in me missing the local support opener As Silence Breaks. What I can comment on though, is every now and then a massive bass drop would shake the whole venue. Every time I would get more and more disappointed that I was missing out. From what I could gather eavesdropping people who would come out front for a smoke, the band did their best to impress what would have been a massive and intimidating crowd, though falling short of the mark. Although, from what I could hear, and occasionally feel when the ground shook, As Silence Breaks seemed to pull it together very nicely.
During the changeover, the crowd simply swelled; seeming to double in a matter of minutes then double again! I could hardly see over the heads of all the fans, and found myself thinking “Wow, so this is what 400 people look like” – we were gonna need a bigger venue! TesseracT has drawn a lot of attention as one of the youngest, but most talented bands in the genre and it soon became clear why. I came to see brutal, and that’s just what I got.
Lead vocalist Daniel Tompkins showed his incredible vocal range mixed with some equally incredible stage aerobics, and the rest of the band was just as impressive busting out some of the chunkiest math-coreesque breakdowns I’ve ever heard. Playing a great selection of tracks from their debut release One, TesseracT left big shoes to fill.
Periphery’s performance began as soon as they started setting up. Shaking up the normal tedious and boring changeover period (for the fans at least) by shouting what I presume were in-jokes into the mics – even though I didn’t get them I still laughed, as well as posing for photos and chatting with everyone up front. When show time came, Periphery killed it. Somehow playing their super technical brand of metal like most people would tie their shows.
Lead guitarist Misha ‘Bulb’ Mansoor pulled faces and did poses while playing as if to say, “Look how easy it is to be one of the best guitarists around”. Periphery played everything everyone wanted to hear, including Zyglrox, my personal favourite Jetpacks Was Yes! and a strong finish with Icarus Lives! for an encore. As the show went on, the levels became a tiny bit inconsistent with vocals being too low, guitars too high, etc etc and with 3 guitarists on stage things could get messy, But no, the full stage worked in their favour and the mix leveled out … for the most part.
Despite a note for note performance by Periphery, in my opinion TesseracT stole the show. For the life of me, I can’t explain why, though both bands played illuminating, intimate and brutal sets, I guess I’m just a sucker for an underdog.