Live Review – Periphery, The Contortionist, Intervals @ Zydeco

Live Review – Periphery, The Contortionist, Intervals @ Zydeco

Bands: Periphery, The Contortionist, Intervals, and Toothgrinder
Location: Birmingham, Alabama, USA @ Zydeco
Reviewer: CripsyChicken

I’m a huge fan of Periphery, even going so far as to name them as my favorite band of all time. Even though I don’t regularly listen to their music anymore, I routinely attend every show of theirs I can get out to, regardless of the lineup. So when the Escape From The Studio Tour was announced, featuring The Contortionist and Intervals as well as newcomers Toothgrinder, it was just icing on the cake – my attendance was guaranteed, and I know a lot of others feel the same way. Still, if you’re on the fence about the talent of any of these bands, please allow me to swing you.

The first band to take the stage was Toothgrinder, who I had the opportunity to interview after the show for my local radio station. They’re an interesting mix of hardcore and more progressive elements, taking influence from bands like Faith No More and Glassjaw. They had to restrict their usual onstage antics because the promoter gets scared when bands get active (thanks, Asking Alexandria. You ruined my eardrums AND my local venue.), but they still came across as lively and very much into what they were doing. They played their entire upcoming EP as well as part of an older, jazz influenced song. These guys were far from the highlight of the night, but they should remain on your radar, especially given that they just signed to Spinefarm Records.

Speaking of highlights of the night, my personal favorite set was from Intervals. One of our currently inactive admins reviewed them much earlier in the year, and I’m just as ready to sing its praises now as he was more than six months ago. Intervals is a band that just recently obtained a vocalist (they were previously instrumental), and though singer Mike Semesky has added vocal parts to their previous songs, it doesn’t fit as well for obvious reasons, and the band wisely stuck to songs from their newest release for this tour. The band’s guitars were clear and loud in the mix, making things like the duel guitar riffs that follow the chorus of “Automaton” even more potent, even drawing mass cheers from a crowd that seemed to be largely previously unaware of the band’s existence. Drummer Anup Sastry really held his own on drums, and was lower in the mix than drummers usually are at these types of shows, something that was the case for every subsequent band on the bill. It allowed both him and all of the other instruments/vocals to be heard clearly, which was sorely appreciated.

The Contortionist’s set really highlighted just how much of a crossroads they’re at in their existence. Opening up with the two singles from “Intrinsic”, the band then moved into a large block of songs from “Language”, which I’ve been spinning a lot recently. The crowd really seemed to enjoy it, but was also very confused as to when they should mosh and when they shouldn’t. It also felt a bit unnatural to see people just stop moving in the middle after the Intrinsic songs, although it was the logical reaction to the change in style. Regardless, the band put on an amazing show – Mike Lessard is one of the best vocalists in progressive metal right now – and when the band closed with “Flourish”, suddenly everything about the band’s history and discography felt even more right than it previously did.

And finally, when Periphery took the stage, everything felt even more complete. The crowd reaction was just as overly fanboyish and silly as I’ve grown to expect (and there’s nothing wrong with that at all), and the band played all of the expected songs from their second album. We even got a treat with “Frak The Gods”, which I haven’t heard played live since the band’s first ever headliner four years ago, which was also conveniently titled “Frak the Gods” and also featured The Contortionist, though not as direct support. The band’s set featured extravagant lighting, with strobes and all sorts of interesting tricks, and the energy present on stage was unreal. Misha even gave us a treat by stage-diving during the end of the encore, even though that sort of thing is very much frowned upon at my piece-of-shit venue. Though I wish the band would play more older material (they haven’t even played “Racecar” as their encore in a long time), and nothing from Juggernaut ended up being included on the set, I still had a wonderful time as per usual. I recommend you catch any of these bands on any upcoming tours, and see if you can slide in to one of the remaining dates on this one. You won’t be disappointed.

Live Review – Periphery, The Contortionist, Intervals @ Zydeco
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