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Periphery, Live in London

Tech juggernauts crush the capital, with added memes.

A decade ago, Washington DC’s Periphery were writing music in their bedrooms. Tonight, they’re playing a sold-out venue in England’s capital. They’ve switched laptop screens for international stages as they’ve moved from the outer edges of djent towards the centre of the metal scene.

So it’s particularly LOL-worthy when the first notes of opener Icarus Lives give way to the sound of Never Gonna Give You Up blasting through the PA, and the band start dancing about in a room-wide Rickroll, grinning from ear to ear. It seems that you can take the guys out of the internet, but you can’t take the internet out of the guys…/o:p

Before this, though, Brits RED SEAS FIRE [6] launch tonight’s mini tech-fest with some almighty roars, fuelled by the thrill of their biggest-ever show. XERATH [8] also like to roar. Man-mountain Richard Thomson’s beard is intimidating enough, but when he gets the crowd fist-pumping before firing up his vocal cords on I Hold Dominion, the song becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your attention’s only drawn away by Conor McGouran’s guitar solos, which move artfully across the Devin-Townsend-meets-Fear-Factory noise.

Once PERIPHERY [9] have finished their prank, they get down to the serious business of more entertainment. Sporting a pink mohawk and clad in a leather jacket, Spencer Sotelo is a kinetic rockstar; if he’s not throwing back his head in song, he’s throwing about his mic stand, the unstable nucleus of a stage that’s crammed with his five bandmates and intricate songs.

While cuts from their first two albums are met with the most devotion, bodies twitching as if trying to resist the rapture, those from recent Juggernaut: Alpha/Juggernaut Omega double album sound the most expansive.

As the djentlemen leave the stage, drummer Matt Halpern stays behind to strike up a beat, the crowd repeatedly chanting: “We will, we will, rock you – one more song!” Not ones to give their fans up, or indeed let them down, they bring out the double of Ragnarok – Spencer’s vocals winning a round of applause in the middle – and Muramasa, which gets the whole place bouncing. And you just can’t experience that online…/o:p

Eleanor Goodman

Metal Hammer deputy editor El commissions the features section of the magazine and curates covermount CDs, as well as co-hosting the Metal Hammer podcast. Irrationally obsessed with sea creatures.