See more pictures in the gallery below.
What a bill! The last show of the highly anticipated show featuring TesseracT, Plini and Astronoid was held at the honorable Irving Plaza in New York. What venue could have been better? Irving Plaza has a rich history of Rock concerts hailing back to 1978 and have a capacity of approximately 1000 people.
The place started filling up already during Astronoid’s set. Astronoid is a fairly young band from Boston, Massachusetts. They showcased some great musicianship. While their first EP saw them experimenting with growling vocals they have now abandoned it completely for clean and high-pitched vocals. Their set consisted solely of songs off their fantastic 2016 debut album Air. The music is a form of Progressive Metal, but with a heavy leaning towards Blackgaze, the fusion genre pioneered by Alcest.
Sometimes they go on crazy dual guitar solo harmonies that are reminiscent of Dragonforce and with three guitarists they can keep the heavy base while doing it too. They’ve got a wall of sound going and that gives them a massive sound with the drawn out vocal arrangements on top. It is really beautiful to listen to. Only singer/guitarist Brett Boland sang on stage and the backing vocals were on tape. It would be great if the rest of the band could sing too, but if no one can match the insanely high-pitched vocals of Boland then so be it. The vocal arrangements are too good to be left out.
As mentioned, the band is still young and still in their formative years. It would be great if they could improve their stage presence and interact more with the crowd. Take a note from the other two bands on the bill. Also, they could experiment more with the dynamics of their music because there is a lot of wall of sound going on and it would be great with some calmer parts to break it up a bit. Take a note from Alcest on that one. It will be interesting to hear what they can offer on their sophomore album.
Astronoid’s setlist: Incandescent / Up and Atom / Resin / Tin Foil Hats / Obsolete / Air
Plini is the instrumental brainchild of Plini Roessler-Holgate, a 25-year-old guitarist from Sydney, Australia. Plini is the only official member of the band but he had recruited some very seasoned players for this tour. They seemed more relaxed than Astronoid, laughing, joking and messing around on stage in-between songs and really enjoyed themselves on stage.
The music is very melodic, almost jazzy at times, with elements from metal. It is very technically challenging music and sometimes it can be hard to communicate this type of music in the right way to the crowd, but their playfulness and great chemistry on stage and the tongue-in-cheek comments from the main man himself in-between the songs really rubbed off on the crowd.
Since this was the last show of the tour there were some shenanigans going on. During the song “Away” the crew and a couple of guys from TesseracT brought a very bearded guy on stage for a shave (see picture in the gallery below).
Plini’s setlist: Salt + Charcoal / Handmade Cities / Heart / Cascade / Away / Other Things / Selenium Forest / Moonflower / Electric Sunrise
TesseracT from Milton Keynes, UK, have toured the US frequently since their breakthrough and they are loved over here. Though the style of Progressive Metal dubbed Djent was arguably pioneered by bands like Meshuggah and Periphery, TesseracT have paved their own path with that style.
From the first note the crowd changed their demeanor. Suddenly there was a mosh pit in the middle and there was a lot of crowd surfing. The energy in the venue was high and the band gave everything on stage. It’s fun to see bass player Amos Williams barefoot on stage with his lizard-like-spasms totally devoting himself to the way the music makes him feel. His pop/slapping bass style is part of what separates TesseracT from the other bands in the genre.
The set was flawless but if there was one thing to point out it was that singer Daniel Tompkins sang the highest parts of “Of Matter – Retrospect” an octave lower than what Ashe O’Hara did on Altered State (2013). You can’t really blame him as O’Hara’s vocals is insanely high-pitched. Tompkins voice has more power though and he really shines when he sings the songs off the band’s other three album, which he was part of writing and recording. Tompkins mixes clean and harsh vocals in a way that O’Hara didn’t and he is arguably the best singer for the band.
TesseracT showcased songs off all of their albums with three songs off their 2018 release Sonder. The highlight off that album was arguable “Smile,” but the crowd cheered loudest during the songs off their debut album One (2011).
Since it was the end of the tour it had to end with Tompkins and Plini crowd surfing during the last song. Just like Slayer, TesseracT doesn’t do encores. When it’s over it’s over. No one seemed disappointed though. Everyone got their money’s worth!
TesseracT’s setlist: Luminary / Of Mind – Nocturne / Concealing Fate, Part 2: Deception / Concealing Fate, Part 3: The Impossible / Survival / Dystopia / Hexes / Phoenix / April / Smile / Of Matter – Proxy / Of Matter – Retrospect / King / Concealing Fate, Part 1: Acceptance