In what proved to be a diverse lineup of metal and rock bands, Periphery's Juggernaut Tour made its way to Arizona Wednesday night. If you have yet to see any of the bands that played, you're missing out, and you'd better hope they come again soon.
Each band has its own unique style and sound, which may not sound like a big deal, but sometimes metal shows can can be frustrating on the ears. Instead of having similar-sounding bands blast their way through songs all night, the Juggernaut Tour provided an array of talent to prevent fans from feeling jaded by too much of the same thing.
One of the most unique bands to hit the stage and kick things off was Thank You Scientist. Prior to last night, I had never heard of these guys, but they were something special.
Classifying this group of seven guys into one particular genre wouldn't do them justice. With three members playing a violin, saxophone, and trumpet, the band set the tone for the night. In their short, 20-minute set, the band was able to groove its way through while providing a stage presence that demanded your attention, purely to hear what would come next. Make no mistake, the somewhat "odd" instruments this band utilizes doesn't seem as though there would be draw much attention at a metal show, but it was refreshing to hear an opener that wasn't all about making people go crazy right away, providing a relaxing, yet heavy, ease in to the rest of the artists.
From here, Club Red was near-capacity, and the occasional straggler made their way to the front of the venue, or tried to, anyway. The changeover from Thank You Scientist to Wovenwar was a bit drawn out, and it was apparent the band was having some issues getting everything working properly.
When Wovenwar took the stage, singer and guitarist Shane Blay began by introducing the band to the audience saying, "We're called Technical Difficulties. Welcome to the fucking show." As the band got going with "All Rise," the crowd began to come alive with the heavier riffs that were now in the air. The only downside to the set at this point is that the air conditioning began to dwindle and the smell of body odor became widely apparent. Despite the rise in temperature, Wovenwar continued on playing without much talking between songs, to make up for lost time from their difficulties. The next standout song "The Mason" sent me back to when four of the five members were in As I Lay Dying with its ending breakdown and complementary scream from Shane Blay, causing fans to start banging their heads a little more. The band played "Tempest" and "Prophets" off their debut album before closing their set and apologizing for the trouble they had getting everything together.
After seeing this next band for the first time, it became clear why they gained their success and following in such a short time. Nothing More gave fans energy that hadn't been felt yet that night. As they took the stage, the crowd found even more life as they jumped up and down to the opening song. However, the crowd wasn't the most fun part of Nothing More's set, but rather their stage presence. On stage, the band had custom-built stands for percussion instruments. Singer Jonny Hawkins plays what appears to be a bass drum, snare, and something similar to a splash cymbal.
Because of the band's craftsmanship, they were able to make a stand out of those instruments, which the singer climbed on during the set. The most impressive part of their set came just a few songs in when all members, except for their drummer, began performing a bass solo. The bass was set on the percussion set that Hawkins was standing on and the three members began tapping away at the bass. Not only were they all playing, but each note made sense as their drummer played along to the tune. It wasn't a bass solo for the sake of being a solo, it became a well crafted song with the three members playing their own part on the guitar. Nothing More make it clear that they're all about providing an intense live show to go along with their altering styles of rock and metal songs.
Finally, after Nothing More completed their set, it wasn't long before Periphery came on to close out the night. Prior to starting, singer Spencer Sotelo told fans that he had been sick for the better part of a week and would need the crowd's help. To be quite honest, I don't know that I was able to tell the difference in the quality of a healthy Sotelo versus a sick. That's a good thing. There were times he struggled during the night, but he managed to pull through and sound on point in pretty much every song. As Periphery took the stage, they kicked off their set with "Icarus Lives!" and "MAKE TOTAL DESTROY."
The band offered a stage setup with an enormous light spectacle that would sometimes be a bit blinding, but made for a great visual experience. At times, the lights were so well organized that during some parts that offer a bit of a breakdown in the song, the lights were scaled back behind them to silhouette all the members on stage. The band then transitioned to playing some of their newer songs off their upcoming double album Juggernaut: Alpha and Juggernaut: Omega. Club Red's sound provided a lot of clarity during the band's set, but at times it was a bit hard to hear certain parts. Whether technical difficulties the venue was experiencing or its issue making sure three guitarists could be heard properly wasn't clear. It didn't make listening difficult, but it was certainly a noticeable element to an otherwise awesome set.
Periphery declared their final song of the night would be "Scarlet" but due to fans chanting for one more, the group offered a two song encore. Joining them on stage for the first song was Luke Holland of The Word Alive, who took over on drums for Matt Halpern during "Ragnarok." There was no difference in the quality of the drumming as Holland played through flawlessly and fans probably wouldn't have been able to tell the difference had they not seen him playing. Halpern returned to the stage as the band finished the night with "Masamune" which ended the night on a heavy note. The band has climbed its way through the ranks of current metal masters to prove that, if not now, they will at some point be juggernauts of their genre.
Set List: Icarus Lives! MAKE TOTAL DETROY The Scourge Psychosphere Ji The Bad Thing Alpha Graveless Scarlet
Encore: Ragnarok Masamune
Critic's Notebook:br /> Last Night: Periphery, Nothing More, Wovenwar, and Thank You Scientist at Club Red.
The Crowd: While I did mention at times that the crowd was coming more alive throughout the night, it was still a bit of a letdown not seeing as many people moving as I expected.
Personal Bias: I've been listening to Periphery for quite a while now and they continue to impress live. I would have liked to have heard "The Walk" or "Light" off their self-titled album, but being an album release tour, it's understandable that there's going to be an emphasis on new songs.
Overheard: As the band prepared to play "Scarlet," Spencer Sotelo asked if anyone had heard the album it was off of, as well as if they knew ketchup and mustard, the latter being a reference to the music video they put out for it. Based on crowd responses Sotelo said, "We got more cheering for ketchup and mustard than our own album."
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.