Two sold out dates at the 02 Academy, Brixton in London, the popularity of A Perfect Circle can’t be understated. Before the release of Eat the Elephant a few months ago, they hadn’t released any original content since 2003’s Thirteen Step but you wouldn’t know that from the packed in Brixton crowd. Seriously, the venue is heaving with barely room to breathe let alone move about.
Now I want to preface this review by saying that I am not a big A Perfect Circle fan. Their early work is very hit and miss for me but I do think the new album is fantastic. You can read my review of it here or watch a short video review below.
One of the more interesting things about this show is the band’s attempt to stop the use of mobile phones. There are signs everywhere warning attendees that it is prohibited within the main hall and just before the band come out on stage a PA announcement states the same. A controversial attempt by the band, the announcement states that it is out of respect for those around you. Anyone who has had their view restricted by a crowd of people recording footage or taking a hundred pictures can surely understand this.
Does it work? Up until the final track when those desperate to snap a blurry and out of focus picture or get their few seconds of video decide to chance it. We will be discussing this on a future podcast but for the record, I support this. The moment when a band comes out on stage should be a wonderful moment and I’ve had it ruined many times by a sea of phones, tablets and other devices going up in the air in front of me.
So, when A Perfect Circle do take to the stage there is a real buzz in the air. The stage set-up has a mechanical look and feel to it with raised platforms for some members of the band. In particular Maynard James Keenan who spends the night on a circular platform at the back shrouded in darkness and smoke. It’s an incredible sight but it’s nothing compared to the sound. A Perfect Circle sound fantastic and Keenan’s vocals are dripping in gold.
For almost 2 hours they have the crowd eating out of their hands and for those like me, who are really there to hear the new tracks, they don’t disappoint playing the majority of the album. These songs are often the best moments as the energy is just different for them. Tracks like Eat the Elephant, Disillusioned, The Contrarian, Hourglass and an incredible showing of So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish keep me happy.
For those who are there for the nostalgic kick the band make sure they leave happy too. Tracks across all their albums are aired including a cover of People are People by Depeche Mode (one of few low-points).
It’s hard to look away from the stage as the band are so mesmerising to watch. Utilising an array of dazzling lights and smoke machines to give them an otherworldly feel.
While hardly a chatty fella, Keenan does take time to thank the crowd, talk about the changing face of the world, the evils of social media and to introduce the rest of the band. His soft patter adds to his position on stage, seemingly out of focus compared to the rest. He appears humble and it makes him all the more likeable.
If anything has been proven by this show and the others that have sold out, it is that A Perfect Circle are still as relevant and popular as ever. They’re back again at the end of the year in Wembley so if you couldn’t make it to one of these shows, make sure you get to that one!
A Perfect Circle at The O2 Academy, Brixton, London (14/06/18)