GIG REVIEW: Periphery, The Contortionist & Infinity Shred Live at The Opera House, Toronto
Having just embarked upon their second Sonic Unrest Tour, Periphery rolled into town following their first day off on the road. This time, they are supported by The Contortionist, Norma Jean, and Infinity Shred; unfortunately, due to a personal emergency, Norma Jean was unable to perform that night, which I was rather disappointed about, despite the fact that I thought it odd for them to even be a part of such a different lineup. Regardless, The Opera House was sold out and packed with excitement.
Being one of the few all ages shows that I have attended recently, the atmosphere was much different than usual – half of the raucous crowd was comprised of kids in their late teens, who clearly had enough energy to open that pit right up. But first things first.
The opening act, Infinity Shred from New York, was a surprise to me, being the only band on the bill that I had never heard of. I would describe them as electronically driven instrumental metal, but the first thing that popped into my head was that they should be doing soundtracks or film scores. They performed well, although after the initial song, I had had my fill, as the rest of their material sort of blended together and sounded repetitive.
The Contortionist was on after that, and having seen them on a number of occasions, I can safely say that they are always an amazing live band. Their flawless execution (vocalist Michael Lessard in particular) and great stage presence made for a very entertaining set. In fact, it was the first time that I had ever witnessed a crowd chant for an encore from an opener. Then again, starting with both of the “Language” tracks and playing a good chunk of that album, interspersed with a couple of older gems, I’m not at all surprised by the reaction from the appreciative audience.
The setup time between bands seemed longer than normal at this point, but as we awaited the reveal of Periphery, their tour manager Matt Rosenblum provided us with a miniature comedy routine. Once they hit the stage, however, the fans erupted into a mixture of elated cheering and (primarily based on the guy standing behind me) the angriest sing-along I had ever heard. From the very first minute of their set, it was obvious that every member is very good at what they do, not that anyone in the room was in any doubt. Drummer Matt Halpern stood out to me, playing a tight and clinical set behind so many glorious guitars.
About half of the songs performed were off of the most recent album, ‘Periphery III: Select Difficulty’, with a couple of tracks each from ‘Alpha’ and ‘Omega’. Rounding everything off, the final piece of the evening came in the form of “Lune”, which sent the crowd home with huge smiles and a great deal of perspiration. Overall, it was a decent night.