The League of Extraordinary Djentlemen Tour (UK)

We don’t do live reviews very often. This is mostly my fault; out of everyone on the staff I probably go to the most shows. Almost every UK tour comes through London, so I have more opportunity than the other guys. That being said, I don’t always put much weight on live reviews; they’re even more subjective than albums at times, so if you like the band, chances are you’ll probably like the show.

The reason I feel compelled to write this one, however, is to address an issue about which we at Heavy Blog feel quite strongly – concerning a certain vocalist – but more on that later.

So this was the final date of the UK leg of the tour, held at Underworld, which most metal bands have played at one point or another in their careers. It’s a great little venue, despite the massive pillar in the middle of the room.

First up were Monuments, the first of two bands on the evening’s bill formed from the ashes of FellSilent by vocalist Neema Askari and guitar wizard John Browne. I entered half-way through the first song, but quickly got into the groove of things. I had been really looking forward to this set, having had their demo EP We Are The Foundation (review here) on repeat for the past two weeks.

Monuments have a great live dynamic. Vocalists Askari and Greg Pope work great in conjunction with each other, echoing the partnership Askari had with fellow Fellsilent vocalist Joe Garrett. The musical portion of the band were in fine form, each showing their skill and clearly enjoying what they were doing. Olly Steele of Cyclamen proved his worth as fill-in live guitarist, and the set was a great experience for all involved. It’s not often second supports get this kind of great reaction, but it was well deserved. People obviously knew them, and by the time they finished on “Admit Defeat” I’m sure they were feeling pretty damn good about themselves.

Second up were TesseracT, who also feature an ex-FellSilent member in guitarist Acle Kahney. You could feel the anticipation in the room as the stage being set up, and the members were greeted with rapturous applause as they came out, greeting the fans warmly.

TesseracT are a band with character. They can hold a crowd’s absolute attention and have them sing back every line. They were beautiful to watch; all smoke machines and atmospheric lights to back up the awesome soundscapes. It was a shame it was over so soon, (especially as this was their last date on the tour, which rolls on to Europe without them this week) but they played some fantastic tunes, including “Acceptance“, “Deception” and new single “Nascent“. They will surely only get bigger in 2011, especially with their debut album One coming out next month. It’s a stunner.

Leave they did however, but only to make way for the night’s headliners: Periphery. You’ve been to this site before, so you know we’re all pretty fond of these guys, despite there being a marmite factor around the interweb as a whole.

The band got huge cheers as they came on pre-set, Misha Mansoor and Spencer Sotelo doing the rounds of the front row – high fives and fist bumps in abundance.

When the set proper started, Spencer prefaced the first song by saying that he had bronchitis – yet despite advisement he was still going to sing. Probably not the birghtest move for him, but I was really looking forward to seeing if he could match himself on the record, something I had heard he was unable to do.

Love or hate his spot fronting the band though, he can do it. Well. And that’s with the inflamed bronchi. Hearing it for myself set the tone for the rest of the performance, which was awesome. I didn’t see much of Misha himself  (damn pillar!) except for his brief stage wanderings, but I was more than happy to watch remaining guitarist Alex Bois shred with Jake Bowen’s fill in, who I think was Adam Getgood of Red Seas Fire, although he wasn’t formally introduced. The huge physical presence of Matt Halpern was ever visible at the back, and although he didn’t break any cymbals – let alone three with one swing of a stick – he sounded great.

Sotelo was visibly struggling towards the end, but huge props to him for carrying on, and even coming back for “The Walk” as an encore. A fantastic end to a fantastic gig.

The guys are now in Europe with The Safety Fire in place of TesseracT, and I wish them all the best of luck. The continent’s in for a treat.

– CG

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