Washington D.C.-based progressive metal group Periphery dominated the stage at The Pressroom in downtown Phoenix, Ariz., last night. The technical metallers are in the middle of their North American Sonic Unrest Tour with opening acts Toothgrinder, Chon and Sikth, supporting their latest effort Periphery III: Select Difficulty.
The already amped crowd was eager for Periphery’s arrival, which came shortly after 10 P.M. The band greeted the cheering audience with a humble wave before frontman Spencer Sotelo emerged and kicked things off with “Scarlet.”
From the beginning, the performance was impeccably polished and extremely tight. Their methodical playing was matched with an elaborate light show that increased the drama of their movements and added a highly stylized element as important as their sound. From their coordinating black T-shirts to their killer delivery, Periphery has truly mastered its live set to a science.
While the band is very focused and dedicated to creating serious sound, they also broke the heavy metal mold by engaging in playful onstage banter and amusing crowd interactions. Guitarists Misha Mansoor and Mark Holcomb displayed a brotherly bond, leaning against one another, synchronizing their head banging stints and facing off in riff battles, while Sotelo talked to the audience throughout the set to keep them involved, explaining the meaning of songs and offering inspirational advice. He also encouraged participation by extending the microphone stand for group sing-alongs, even breaking into a rendition of Phil Collin’s “In the Air Tonight.”
At one point, Sotelo got so comfortable with the crowd, he reached for a fan’s phone during a facetime session with his girlfriend. The band gathered around to introduce themselves and Sotelo turned the phone to the crowd so they could also say hello.
The excellent set lasted nearly 90 minutes long, and included a well-rounded mix of songs from their entire catalog. The crowd went wild for new single “Marigold” and fan favorite “Make Total Destroy.” Other songs included “Remain Indoors,” “Memento,” “The News” and “Price Is Wrong.” They also saved time to spotlight their triple-guitar attack as Mansoor, Holcomb and Jake Bowen gathered mid-set for a strictly instrumental piece.
The show closed with new song “Lune,” which Sotelo explained was about love, because “everyone needs a little love.” The mood was set by the melodic tune and green laser lights that stretched from the stage to the back of the house. Without a doubt, there was no shortage of love between Periphery and their adoring fans.