By definition, the word periphery refers to the outer limits or edge of an object and that’s exactly what the audience at The Underground experienced this past Thursday night with a night of progressive metal from the Washington, DC, band Periphery as they made a stop in Charlotte on their Sonic Unrest Tour II.  Periphery continually rides the edge of prog metal pushing the boundaries in every direction and encompassing every subgenre imaginable.  The band is considered a  pioneer of the djent subgenre of progressive metal music with their droptunings, palm-muted guitars, and technically complex songs.

The musical journey began as the band took the stage and frontman Spencer Sotelo, drink in hand,  started the evening off with “A Black Minute” from their “Juggernaut:Alpha” record.  Periphery’s sound is both labyrinthine and lush.  They have not one, not two, but three guitarists led by founding member Misha Mansoor, Mark Holcomb, and Jake Bowen which allows for intricacies not always captured in a live setting.  Drummer Matt Halpern was a solid force behind the drumset all night amid a bevy of ever changing colors of light.  Notably absent was bassist Adam “Nolly” Getgood who is not touring with the band right now, focusing instead on his production projects.  As the night went on, the music ebbed and flowed with intense metal moments encouraging the crowd to form a circle pit and surf their way to the barricades contrasted at times by subdued, trance like moments.  The set list was heavy on songs from Periphery’s latest album, their third self-titled record “Periphery III:Select Difficulty” and included a cover of the Haunted Shores tune “Memento.” Though he stated several times that he was drunk, Sotelo’s vocals were spot on throughout the set.  The band is technically proficient but also possesses great showmanship with guitarists Mansoor and Holcomb attempting to outdo each other and play harder and faster while balancing on one leg.  The two are both musically gifted but Holcomb definitely won the “balance battle” this night.

The energy level onstage was palpable and the audience fed into it every chance they could.  When it was time for the final song of the night “Lune,” the crowd was exhausted but utterly satisfied.  The next part of their tour takes Periphery overseas for a European run but mark this as a not to be missed show when they make their way back to the States.

This was also  my first time seeing a show at The Underground and it is a small but absolutely first rate facility. The sound quality couldn’t have been better and there was ample room  whether you wanted to mosh or just hang back and enjoy the music.  Periphery blew the roof off this place and I can’t wait to see many more metal shows here in the near future.


Set List:

A Black Minute

Stranger Things

The Way the News Goes…


Remain Indoors

Prayer Position

The Bad Thing


Memento (Haunted Shores cover)


The Price Is Wrong




Photo Gallery


We would like to thank Monica Seide-Evenson from Speak Easy PR for the credentials to review the show.



About The Author Kris Engelhart

I am a small business owner, freelance writer, and part-time piano instructor in Charlotte, NC. My musical career started at the age of five when I was forced into taking piano lessons. I played flute in the school band and added the guitar as a young teen. There is nothing I would rather do than be at a live show. My first concert was Shaun Cassidy at the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo in 1978. My top five live shows ever are: 1. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band – Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, NY 1984- They played for 3 ½ hours and it was awesome. 2. Carolina Rebellion- Metrolina Expo Grounds, Charlotte, NC, May, 2011 – The first ever Carolina Rebellion featured over 15 bands with Avenged Sevenfold headlining. Non-stop music for over 12 hours. 3. Chevelle- Food Lion Speed Street, Charlotte, NC, May, 2008 - The first time I ever saw Chevelle live and I was hooked! 4. Skillet with Red- Bojangle’s Coliseum, Charlotte, NC, April, 2010 – Skillet is one of my favorite bands and they totally kick it live. 5. 106.5 The End’s Weenie Roast #9- Verizon Wireless Amiptheater, Charlotte, NC , October, 2003- Featured Staind, Shinedown, Three Days Grace.