CONCERT REVIEW:  Periphery – Plini – Archspire – Astronoid – Mike Dawes Live at The Worcester Palladium  

Flying waffles, Backstreet Boys covers, local post-metal idols, games of Twister during a wall of death, rants about cereal and coffee, transcendent guitar wizardry that took me to space, and some of the most passionate and crowd involved djent/metalcore ever written. Are you still with me? Good. Because god damn, was the final night of the Wildfire Tour with Periphery, Plini, Archspire, Astronoid, and Mike Dawes a wild night at the Worcester Palladium. There’s a lot going on here so let’s get down to brass tacks…

First up was guitar savant, Mike Dawes. Having only ever heard the name but never the music before I knew I was in for a good time, considering the pedigree of a tour that he was opening up for. Mike is a guitar player unlike anything I’ve seen live. Playing multiple parts of a single song on one guitar, playing the lead, bass line, and drum rhythms all at once while also singing is something insane to see live. In between songs, Mike recounted stories of how he embarrassed himself in front of 20,000 people playing alongside Joe Bonamassa over in England and his loop station tripped a stock hip-hop sample in the middle of a heartfelt ballad on stage. Ever the one to spread the joy of music and just enjoying the last night of the tour, Mike started playing “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys and to everyone’s surprise Periphery’s vocalist Spencer Sotelo sneaks onto the stage to belt out the chorus along with the entire crowd. David Guetta covers were also played, as well as random acts of Sonic The Hedgehog waffles being thrown into the audience by Misha Mansoor. Genuinely one of the wildest starts to a show I’ve ever seen, and it only gets better from here. 

Next up were local giants, Astronoid. Being from Lowell, MA they were added to the lineup fairly last minute to take over for Thank You Scientist who were on the rest of the tour but had to drop off at the end due to outside circumstances. Another great band that I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing for the first time. Soft spoken, but with a punk attitude. Astronoid blazed thru a quick and tight set of songs that made me wanna climb the stage and start a sermon about good vibes. Point blank, go listen to Astronoid. Also, their lead guitarist Casey Alyward has the best head of hair I’ve ever seen.

Now, when I saw they were rants about coffee, cereal, clam chowder and fisherman murder… do you think tech death? No, well start. Because that’s exactly what Oli Peters and the rest of the boys in Archspire did when they took the stage. Some of the absolute fastest music I’ve ever heard came from the stage for the next 30 minutes. I’m convinced that all five of these dudes were created in a lab to be this precise and punishingly brutal. Everything is on another level with Archspire. Oli’s vocals are the death metal equivalent of Tech N9ne, spitting out some of the quickest lyrics I’ve ever heard with the most ridiculous musicianship played behind him. There was a Twister mat thrown into the middle of the pit and a game of Twister broke out and ended in a wall of death the sound of “Golden Mouth of Ruin”, and it was also a birthday celebration for guitarist Dean Lamb, which was commemorated with an open can of clam chowder and a candle stuck on top. Closing out their set with the “Drone Corpse Aviator” off of their newest album Bleed the Future (Season of Mist), it was a hell of a good time and solid midway point of the show.

Next up was a band that I’ve been wanting to see for years. Hailing all the way from Sydney, Australia… Plini! With a giant crescent moon light structure as a backdrop to the stage show we’ve now entered the “calm” part of the show. In a cloud of fog and a bevy of purple lights, you knew exactly what you were in for the moment the first note was played. Bring on the transcendent prog rock that will put you in the center of the galaxy and bring you back down to Earth on a cloud rhythm and soul. Three songs into their set, Plini goes “As an Australian it’s so nice to be in a city I can properly say, g’day Woosta!!” to roaring cheers, as Worcester is always mispronounced by damn-near every band that plays the Palladium. Nine songs. All killer no filler, and I got to hear my favorite song by them when they closed out their set with “Electric Sunrise”

And now the main event. Touring in support of their latest record Periphery V: Djent Is Not A Genre (3DOT Recordings/Many Hats Distributions) and having one of the most diehard fan bases I’ve seen in recent memory… Periphery. Charging the stage with three songs out the gate from their new record “Dracul Gras”, “Wildfire”, and “Atropos”. From there, it was all over the discography for Periphery’s 12 song set. Hearing “Make Total Destroy” and “Insomnia” back to back was a cathartic experience that made me do a little happy dance between headbanging. Halfway thru the set, Spencer brought Mr. Mike Dawes back out on stage to do an acoustic interpretation of the touching song “It’s Only Smiles” from Periphery IV: HAIL STAN (3DOT Recordings) followed by a venue wide rendition of “Happy Birthday” for guitarist Jake Bowen, who was celebrating his 40th birthday the same night of the show. Ending the show and tour with a straight up venue shaking version of “Blood Eagle”, this tour was a guitar nerds wet dream come to reality. 

Well, that’s all folks. This tour was short and sweet but goddamn, was it a good night of music… and waffles.

Until next time folks,
This is Smallz, signing off…

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