The primary draw for me seeing this show was getting another live dose of Animals As Leaders performing a set of material drawing heavily from their most excellent Madness of Many 2016 album. The fact that I’d also get to see Car Bomb and Periphery only enhanced the evening’s draw.
Right off the bat, the venue was quite full for Car Bomb’s early set time at 7 pm. There were people in the venue who drove a significant distance just to see Car Bomb live. The band didn’t disappoint, delivering eight intense songs rife with relentless blast-beat drumming courtesy of Elliot Hoffman, and guitar-playing that was both intricate and relentless (Greg Kubacki on guitar and Jon Modell on bass). Vocalist Michael Dafferner yielded an intensity live that was truly impressive to behold. As relentless as his vocals were, he connected well with his audience, engaging with the crowd both during and in between songs. Of the three bands on this touring bill, I think Car Bomb was the heaviest act. They performed songs from their most recent two albums, two from w^w^^w^w and the remaining six from their most recent album Meta.
Car Bomb - “Lower The Blade" London, Ontario Nov 5th, 2017
Animals As Leaders went on at 8 pm, and performed a 75 minute set of songs lifting from three of their four commercially released albums (nothing got played from 2011’s Weightless). Fans were repeatedly cheering for Matt Garstka, his drumming a definite standout of the evening. Combined with the guitaring prowess of Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes, Animals As Leaders are genuinely a virtuoso band, both in the studio and live on stage. “Arithmophobia” and “Ectogenesis” were both jaw-droppingly good live this evening, as was “Tooth and Claw” and set closer “CAFO”. Fans were screaming for more from the band once they finished “CAFO”, but the house lights came up and the stage crew could be seen getting the stage changeover going, reading the venue for Periphery.
Periphery felt like a short set to me. They only played ten songs. I had to check my watch when it was done and was surprised that it was as late into the night as it was. It was a bittersweet realization that the band was done, and that I had enjoyed what they had performed so much I’d lost track of time so easily. I had forgotten “Omega” is a 12-minute song, and wound up so lost in watching it performed that it, along with tracks like “Lune” and “Marigold” (songs that both push close to 8 minutes long), made the evening seem to pass by much quicker than it did.
Animals As Leaders - "CAFO" London, Ontario Nov 5th 2017
Periphery started the evening off with “Icarus Lives!”, the only track performed this evening from their debut self-titled album. “Mile Zero” from their second album was also performed, along with the aforementioned “Omega” and “Graveless” from Juggernaut: Omega. The rest of the evening's songs were from their most recent release Periphery III: Select Difficulty. Fans in the audience sang along to a majority of the tracks from Periphery III: Select Difficulty in entirety as they congealed together into a swarm of rock tee-shirts, flailing arms and sweaty hair. Misha Mansoor, Jake Bowen, Matt Halpern, Spencer Sotelo and Mark Holcomb were all in fine form tonight. They performed a tight set of songs together while taking the time to smile at the audience and high-five one another as they played.
It’s hard to say who fans were really here to see tonight. I’d like to think it was the complete package, but even if this wasn't the case, each band delivered a live performance worth seeing. Members of all three of the bands were walking around the venue throughout the evening, posing for photographs and chatting with fans. It doesn’t get much better than that for a Sunday night in London, Ontario.
Periphery - "The Way the News Goes..." London, Ontario Nov 5th, 2017
Car Bomb setlist:
01. Constant Sleep
02. Black Blood
03. From the Dust of This Planet
06. Lower the Blade
07. Lights Out
08. Secrets Within
Animals As Leaders setlist:
02. Tempting Time
04. Cognitive Contortions
05. Tooth and Claw
07. Physical Education
08. The Brain Dance
09. Private Visions of the World
11. Inner Assassins
13. The Woven Web
01. Icarus Lives!
03. Remain Indoors
04. Prayer Position
06. The Way the News Goes...
08. Mile Zero