About five months ago, the boyfriend booked us tickets to go and see our favourite band in the whole word play on the first date of their UK tour. Periphery have been a favourite of ours for a very long time, and I can remember the first time he introduced me to them. The first time I heard Ragnarok, from their second album “Periphy II: This Time It’s Personal” I was in awe. The musicianship of this band is just second to none, and each time I listen to them it’s like my mouth drops in complete and utter awe. The technicalities of their guitar parts alone makes me wonder how these guys can play the songs without their fingers dropping off. At any rate, we booked it up…
And then we found out that they were offering VIP tickets.
Guess what we went and booked?
From the moment we got the confirmation email back about that, I was beyond excited. The VIP package that we ended up getting included getting to watch the band sound check followed by a meet and greet. And as the day got closer my excitement only grew, to the extent that as I left work the night before I was literally bouncing out of the door.
The 13th came around and we got on the train to Bristol. It’s quite a way from Southampton yet the hour and forty train journey was a necessary evil and I have to say? Damned worth it. When we arrived in Bristol we had no idea where we were going and ended up going completely the wrong way at first, which was a bit of a worry as we only had forty minutes to get to the venue ready for the sound check. And that was when Google maps came in super handy.
We arrived at the venue a little early and the weather was horrendous. However we met up with four others who I have to say were some of the coolest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so comfortable around strangers before and we ended up having a good old chat about Periphery, music and a bunch of random stuff. Whilst we were huddled beneath a canopy waiting to be called in we heard Spencer Sotelo warming up his vocals, and each of us were in complete and utter awe.
When we were finally called in for the sound check, sadly we weren’t allowed to take any photos or record videos. But let me tell you, it was an experience and a half. Literally it was like our own private show – I’ve never seen a band do a soundcheck before and it was so interesting to watch. Even at sound check the whole band were completely on point. Definitely an amazing experience. Once the sound check was done, the boyfriend and I headed off into Bristol city centre for some food before heading back to the meet and greet.
The meet and greet was the part I was incredibly nervous about. After all, these guys are my musical heroes and I had no idea what I was going to talk to them about. However I had no need to be nervous whatsoever. The whole band were so friendly it was unreal and incredibly welcoming. To start with we all lined up and the band signed posters for us, having a little chat as we went along the line. I thanked each and every one of them and even had a little chat with Nolly about the fact that I was practically his neighbour growing up. Nolly (bass) is from Bath, and I actually grew up in Melksham which is about twenty minutes away. Once the signing was done we got the opportunity to have a group photo with the band.
Once the photos were done, we had the opportunity to hang out and talk with the band which was so awesome. It was so surreal to be stood in the same room as these guys, and more so since they were all so friendly. I have to admit I’m a little gutted that I didn’t talk properly to Spencer – I have a huge amount of respect for the guy as he’s my favourite vocalist and I’m a big fan of his newest venture with “From First To Last”. I honestly think that because of that, I literally clammed up. However when I spoke to him at the signing he was one of the friendliest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. We did however have a long chat with Mark (guitar) about his side project with Haunted Shores and Misha (guitar) about a hell of a lot of stuff. I found it so easy to talk to Misha – he was such a friendly guy and we had a long talk about the Witcher III and the new game plus mode. What made me laugh as well was that as we were talking to him he apologised that he was eating pizza – when I mentioned that we’d had KFC for dinner he launched into a massive thing about how American food had come over here and how in a generation English people would end up being fat because of marketing. Now, every time I eat take out or buy something with 20% extra, I’ll think about what he said. Still, each and every member of Periphery were SO friendly and I felt really at ease with them. It was such a nice one on one experience and so chilled out.
Once the meet and greet was over we were allowed to stay in the venue, which allowed all of us to get an amazing spot right at the front. And let me tell you, I am SO glad I managed to get a spot at the barrier. But more on that later. Now, for the review of the show.
The first support band of the night was Good Tiger, a relatively new band, and I have to say I was VERY impressed with them. Elliot Coleman actually does vocals for Haunted Shores so I knew that he would be good, however the whole band were amazing. The only disappointment was that I could barely hear Elliot’s vocals during the set. Still, I was highly impressed with them. What was also cool was that my boyfriend took an amazing photo of Elliot during his set and posted it on his twitter – which Elliot saw and retweeted. The second band up were Veil of Maya – I’m a big fan of them, however if I’m entirely honest I wasn’t that impressed with their set. Each song just went into each other and it seemed like they were on forever. It also didn’t help that the venue was literally full of their fans, and not decent ones. Whilst at my spot at the front someone tried dragging me away to take my spot and when I told him to back off he got really quite nasty with me.
Just as an aside here, just behind me there were a couple of people who kept on complaining that they hated Periphery and were only here to see Veil of Maya. Literally all I could hear them doing was bitch and bitch about the band and Spencer’s vocals, as well as taking the piss out of everyone in front of them. There were comments made about the fact I was taking photos, comments made on my owl bag, comments made on the bag I was wearing, comments made on the fact that Periphery were sell outs. But more on that later.
When Periphery took to the stage I was seriously pumped despite already being bruised and battered from being crushed against the barrier. I already knew the set would be mind blowing but when they opened with Muramasa? My mind was entirely blown. The first three songs were from Periphery II which was just…well, there are no words. What surprised me though was when they launched into Ragnarok – I had heard this Spencer couldn’t sing this song as it screwed with his vocals BUT he nailed it. He completely nailed it right up to the final F# note right at the end. As soon as they launched into it I went completely nuts as I wasn’t expecting it at all. In all honesty, the entire set was just…hjfkdskjfsdk. That’s the only way I can put it. Each and every song that they played was just so well thought out and played SO on point!
- The Walk
- The Scourge
- Make Total Destroy
- Icarus Lives!
- The Bad Thing
- 22 Faces
- Four Lights
- Stranger Things
What a HELL of an encore! We were hoping they would encore with Omega, however those three? Definitely make up for it.
As a show? The musicianship was so tight it was unreal – I couldn’t fault any of them for a second, especially with how difficult a lot of those songs are to play. Vocal wise? Each and every live show I have been to, the vocalist has been incredibly off however here? Spence was SO on form it sounded like he was on the albums. I’ve never been at a gig where the vocalist has been so on point whilst being so active on stage. The guy has one hell of a voice, and one hell of a stage presence. In fact you could tell how much fun he was having whilst he was up there, whilst he was leaning over the crowd. At one point he was so close by me that myself and another had to hold onto him to make sure he didn’t fall backwards from the barrier!
Regarding my mention of those bitching earlier? Those who were spouting how much they hated Periphery and Spencer’s vocals actually showed themselves to be total hypocrites. From the moment Periphery walked on stage, these guys were singing along to every word and screaming about how much fun they were having. Don’t you just love hypocrites? In fact, we made a comment about it and as soon as the show as over they scarpered. It does make me wonder why people like that come to these shows if all they’re going to do is bitch. Surely it’s a waste of money?
At any rate, the whole band completely worked with the crowd. Mark even had my boyfriend play one of the strings on his guitar during a song and I got a massive fist bump! I have never been to a show where the band have been so interactive with the crowd – normally there’s security in the way which makes things difficult. But this? This was so in your face and I couldn’t have wished for a better experience.
Once the show had ended, as you can all imagine, there was a crush to get hold of stuff from the band. However as we were right at the front we were in the prime spot. The lovely Jake physically pressed one of his picks into my hand and told me to keep my hands on it and my boyfriend was handed one of Matt’s drumsticks.
All in all, an absolutely phenomenal experience. I am so glad that we went for the VIP tickets and managed to meet the guys who had been our musical heroes for so damn long. More so, I am so pleased that the guys were so friendly. I’ve met bands before who have been complete assholes but the whole of Periphery are so damned genuine that it physically hurts (in a good way!).
I just want to say a massive thank you to the Sound Rink guys for offering such an amazing experience, as well as to the whole of Periphery for being so amazing. I honestly had the best time ever, and it’s an experience that I won’t ever forget. We’ll definitely be coming to see you next time you’re in the UK.