With another album under their belt, UK Progressive Metal outfit TesseracT set off on a North American tour with two big up-and-coming acts, Plini and Astronoid. The three bands from different corners of the globe hit up The Opera House on Tuesday near the tail end of their tour, and it was certainly something special.
An earlier-than-usual show combined with working in the suburbs meant I had to miss Astronoid, so the first act I saw that night was Plini. For those not acquainted with Plini’s music, please do so as soon as possible. I first discovered him when he opened for Animals As Leaders at this very venue a year and a half ago, and he’s quickly become one of my favourite guitarists and composers both inside and outside the prog metal world. His songs are so beautifully crafted, and really stood out when being played live with the help of three other ridiculously competent musicians. One of those musicians was none other than Aaron Marshall of Intervals, which the Toronto crowd no doubt appreciated. Marshall aside, the packed venue certainly enjoyed Plini’s.
For the most part, Plini definitely lets his compositions do the talking, but in a strange way, his incredibly monotone and unenthusiastic banter to the audience was somewhat of a highlight in a sense. The crowd loved his dry sense of humour, and although he didn’t speak often, it was almost as well received as his music.
Closing out the night was TesseracT, and they fucking delivered. Despite not being super familiar with their discography, there’s no denying they put on an incredible live show. What blew me away the most was just how good they sounded. On top of the impressive performance, everything in the mix was crystal-clear. If I had closed my eyes, I would have sworn I was listening to a studio recording in a reverberant hall. Closing my eyes would have been a mistake though because TesseracT also brought one of the best light shows I’ve seen at The Opera House. Flashing and changing colour in time with the music, emphasizing the odd time-signature changes was really cool to see, and although the elitist drummer in me is usually against playing live to a click track, if it makes cool shit like that a possibility, then hey, maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all.
Frontman Daniel Tompkins definitely showed off his impressive vocal range throughout the entire set, all while staying modest between songs. He preached love, tolerance, and respect, and did a good job of using his position to push an overall positive agenda. (Who can disagree with being pro-human decency?) He expressed constant gratitude to both the fans and the city. Although I was off to the side, watching the show with my arms crossed, lightly nodding my head at songs I’ve never heard before, Tompkins truly made me feel welcomed and appreciated.
The set ended without an encore, which I really loved because fuck encores. TesseracT’s set was tight, and seeing Plini after familiarizing myself with his albums was a total treat. As for Astronoid, well, they’re the only North American band on this bill, so I’m hoping they swing back up here soon so that I can finally redeem myself for missing them.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
Photography by Gabby Rivera
*edited by Danielle Kenedy