Amager Bio, Copenhagen - 2015

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Periphery was the first support band for Devin Townsend Project that we caught the entire act of – Shining had played before them, and what little we had reached to hear had put us in a good mood.
Being in such a good mood, I was all for finding out what Periphery could have to offer – they’re one of those bands that have frequently been mentioned to me, but I haven’t gotten round to actually checking them out before this. [editor's correction - we have seen them before, and completely forgot about it]

“Are you guys enjoying yourselves out there, having a good fucking time?!”
- Spencer Sotelo (vocals)

One of the first things I noticed which I had not expected was that this was a band with no less than three guitarists – band-mastermind and founding member Misha ‘Bulb’ Mansoor, Jake Bowen, and Mark Holcomb – and one of the next things I noticed was that they weren’t really needed as all we could hear was bassist Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood and drummer Matt Halpern. Fair enough, things improved through the show, and me standing out to one side at the beginning probably didn’t help either, but it was an odd night to not perfect the sound beforehand, what with the highly progressive direction of all the bands.
Because Periphery is a highly progressive band, of this there can be no doubt, and for that personal touch they’ve mixed in a dose of djent to go with it. This is not necessarily a combination that immediately speaks to me, but as I said, I was open to what they would do…

What they did was, sadly, not very much. Oh sure, they played, played tight as hell even, but other than that there really wasn’t all that much on display. Holcomb was the only one with real life in him; he was playful and had a good connection going with those before him. Sotelo did an ok job as well, although he didn’t seem to have his spirit completely in it – he excused himself with mentioning that he was in fact sick as a dog, and given that he put up a good fight, especially vocally where the illness was nowhere to be found. His sickness was no excuse for the rest of the band though, and even though they bobbed their heads from time to time, and even got a foot on the speaker occasionally, there was just no connection to the crowd – they could have been anywhere, performing for anyone or no one. The one glimmer of hope I saw was when Getgood handed a setlist to someone standing in front of him, in the middle of a song, but alas, it did not last longer than that.

The lack of connection, combined with a sound that didn’t particularly appeal to me, and a setlist which offered little in the way of variation, was what ultimately destroyed the gig for me, but I will be fair and mention my feelings weren’t shared by everyone in Amager Bio – Periphery had a lot of people shouting enthusiastically between songs (they probably knew them better than I do), and even though the action didn’t extend to much more than nodding heads, it seemed like the band was held in high regards by their fans. And fans they had, judging by the shouts Sotelo got in reply when he went straight out and asked if there were any Periphery fans in the house, and if they had heard the newly released double release, Juggernaut: Alpha and Juggernaut: Omega. One guy went as far as holding them both up, which made the band smile and say something about good commercial.
Well, that the action didn’t extend to more than bobbing heads isn’t completely true, you see towards the end, the last song in fact, Sotelo asked for the name of a guy in a beanie hat. The guy was called Casper we heard him reply, and Sotelo ordered him to get in charge of getting a circle pit going, something he pulled off quite successfully.

For myself though, the good mood I had gotten from Shining had definitely taken a hit by Periphery, and if they are to fare better with this reviewer in the future, they really need to do something about that connection, and make an effort to cross the edge of the stage, so to say.

Setlist (incomplete):


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