It was just another chilly winter day back home, but it was not just any Friday as the ROCKwell Unscene team had an important mission, to meet again with Meshuggah‘s favourite heirs in the City of Light.
At 7:00 p.m. sharp the doors opened, and we didn’t hesitate to head to the merch first, since the show was completely sold out and we didn’t want to be left without a tour tee.
The last but one night of The Wildfire European tour kicked off with New Zealanders Crooked Royals who took the stage at 8pm.
For their very first time on tour in Europe, the progressive metalcore band had prepared a set with their debut album “Quarter Life Daydream” (2022), released under the 3 DOT Recordings label, and the singles “Dissentients” and “Rumination” (2019).
Their interesting mix of electro metalcore and trap/R&B with hammering riffs made the most enthusiastic jump. One of the two guitarist, Jake Andrews, and his 7-string Mayones, excelled during several solos and breakdowns such as during the furious “Glass Hands”. All this while the two vocalists, Christian Carstensen and Lee Mackley, harmonized between clean and gutturals vocals.
After having played 8 tunes, the band waved the audience goodbye, and we took the opportunity to refill our pints and strategically rearrange ourselves to see the American djentlemen in action.
With the venue full to the brim and a very anxious audience, seconds before 9 pm the lights went out and everyone burst into screams while “Zagreus’s” cinematic outro, now converted into an intro, played.
The in Washington DC based band started the setlist with “Dracul Gras”, one of the lengthiest tracks from their latest album “Periphery V: Djent is Not a Genre” (2023), and in whose almost 13 minutes loaded with fat chugged riffs and an exquisite solo by Jake Bowen, the first mosh pit was unfailingly opened.
The lads continued reviewing the last album with “Wildfire” and their jazzy intermezzo, in which we were able to take a breath, but the serenity did not last long as “Atropos” immediately made us all sing and mosh wildly.
A bit further on in the gig we travelled in time to “Juggernaut: Alpha” (2015) with “The Scourge” and carried on going back more than a decade to “Periphery II” with “Make Total Destroy” and the surprise of the night: “Letter Experiment”, which had a somewhat bumpy start in which the five-piece had to stop playing for a few seconds due to apparently someone in the mosh pit needing help, but fortunately it didn’t go beyond a scare.
“The Way the News Goes” and “Marigold” were chosen from “Periphery III” to complete the setlist, and these sounded better than ever, with many more live arrangements such as Matt Halpern‘s doubled blast beats on drums.
The touching moment of the evening came when everyone took out their liquid and digital lighters to sing the nostalgic “Satellites” from “Periphery IV”, which had an ending worthy of a meme with Sotelo making everyone repeat “suck my balls”.
The end of the night came with “Blood Eagle“ and its war cry “we come for war” that incited the last crowdsurfing waves and mosh pit of the evening.
This penultimate show of this tour before ending it in London was a delivery of genius and solidity in all its aspects, blameless lighting on stage, nearly perfect sound, a matching connection with the fans and, of course, the virtuosity of the band in a state of the art venue having been a ballroom when it opened its doors back in 1807 with artsy iron works by Gustave Eiffel. Probably the only downside was the lack of a couple of encores as the setlist seemed a bit short (75’).
But overall a great night of music…