The House of Blues Chicago, a medium-sized venue that has seen countless acts grace its stage over the years, was going to get loud as hell. The lights dimmed and the crowd cheered as the opening act Thank You Scientist hit the stage. This 7-piece hybrid of ska and metal was visually interesting. Other than the usual guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, their ranks also included a saxophone, trumpet, and a violin. When listening to this, I couldn’t decide if I dug it or if I was a bit confused, but as their sound set into my brain, acceptance washed over me and I started really digging their groove. Their violinist, Ben Karas, was especially wild and got in everyone’s faces as he hopped off stage and ripped a solo right to the front row standing on the barricade. Guitarist Tom Monda had a unique style as well as he played most of the show using a fret-less guitar, leading to cool slides, solos, and transitions. Their set-list concluded with singer Salvatore Marrano grabbing a hobo-esque hand puppet and had him singing along with him on stage, which was strange and hypnotic.
Wovenwar was next and they didn’t disappoint. This amalgamation of former members of As I Lay Dying and Oh Sleeper wasted no time. After their show intro, they played their first track and single “All Rise” off of their self-titled full-length. This song set the ass-kicking mood right away with a ripping solo and heavy riffs. Singer Shane Blay’s catchy vocals kicked in and the crowd started singing right along with him. If you have ever had an assignment taking photos of live shows before, you know that that this can be a daunting task and these guys were TOUGH because their stage show is so energetic that no one stood still and it’s this true energy that set the crowd in motion They played a killer set with songs including “Tempest”, “The Mason”, “Profane”, “Matter of Time”, and their newly released single “Death to Rights”. Anyone who has a chance to see these guys live should not miss out.
Nothing More’s set started off with singer Jonny Hawkins joining the band with drums on a strangely built drum stand that included gears, chains, and wires. Their sound was a combination of a much heavier Breaking Benjamin and the vocals reminiscent of Incubus. At one point in their set-list, the bass player Daniel Oliver put his bass on a contraption that held it out in the air and started tapping some cool bass lines standing next to it. The next moment, the device swung upside down with Jonny and guitarist Mark Vollelungac joined in. Jonny grabbed a couple drum sticks and drummed on the bass above the pickups while Daniel held down the root notes of what Jonny played while Mark tapped some melodic patterns. The sound coming from this thing is incredible. They closed out their great set with their single “This Is The Time” which had the crowd jumping and begging for more.
After a brief stage change and a break for another beer, the lights drop and it was time for the show’s headliner Periphery to begin its audio assault on all the prog-metal fans that have been drooling for this very moment. Chilling synth drones and built to a climactic peak and they began with their first single “Icarus Lives”. This hit so heavy that you could feel the floor buckling and flexing with the entire crowd jumping in unison to the beat. They moved on to the song “Make Total Destroy” from their second album Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal. The tapping intro riff was amazing to watch, and Misha Mansoor, Mark Holcomb, and Jake Bowen conquered with ease. They moved onto three new songs off of their brand new release Juggernaut: Alpha “The Scourge”, “Psychosphere”, and “22 Faces”. These three songs had an epic feel to them that made the previous songs that just kicked in the crowd’s ear-holes seem tame. They then played another song off of Periphery II “Ji” followed by three more from Juggernaut “The Bad Thing”, “Alpha”, and “Graveless”. They finished off their set with Periphery II’s second single “Scarlet”; no ketchup and mustard included unfortunately (if you need reference, go watch their hilarious video for this song).
This is the best Periphery show I have been to and I am pretty sure the crowd agreed as their chants of “ONE MORE SONG” over-take the House of Blues. They will not relent until this beast of a band feeds them more of the brutal meal they have already been fed. Drummer Matt Halpern comes back behind the drum set and starts playing a beat which teased the crowd before the rest of the crew came back out. Singer Spencer Sotelo grabs the mic and stated “You knew we were coming back out” and tells the crowd “We are going to end this the same way we started it”. The band then tears through “Ragnarok” and “Masamune” before saying adios to the devastated crowd.
All photos taken by Adam Curry and Daniel Brown.
Thank You Scientist: