A PER­FECT CIR­CLE take Eat The Ele­phant to are­nas.

WEM­B­LEY ARENA, LON­DON May­nard James Keenan fronts a night of sparse yet mes­meris­ing won­der

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Contents - ADAM REES

AS MAY­NARD JAMES Keenan jokes that he’ll be busy next year – get­ting a pi­lot’s li­cence and bak­ing if you must know – the re­al­i­sa­tion that a PER­FECT CIR­CLE’s brief but tri­umphant re­turn is al­ready over presents mixed emo­tions. CHELSEA WOLFE isn’t go­ing any­where but up­wards, with ev­ery show fur­ther ce­ment­ing her idio­syn­cratic charm. Though a two-thirds full cav­ernous venue isn’t the ideal place to ex­pe­ri­ence the en­er­getic band who per­form while cling­ing to a scrap of the stage, the doomy churn of 16 Psy­che is still in­tox­i­cat­ing, while Chelsea fi­nally drops to her knees and writhes around to Scrape af­ter largely let­ting the mu­sic do the talk­ing.

While his wrought vo­cals re­main the fo­cus on record, May­nard him­self man­ages to re­main as ob­scured as pos­si­ble among the kalei­do­scope of lights, with only sil­hou­ettes of his twisted forms vis­i­ble. This al­lows

Jeff Freidl’s im­pres­sive drum­ming to stand tall while bassist Matt McJunk­ins and gui­tarist Billy How­erdel dy­nam­i­cally throw them­selves around the stage, with the lanky

Billy in par­tic­u­lar stalk­ing like a pray­ing man­tis while con­jur­ing those shim­mer­ing melodies that are the nec­tar of ev­ery com­po­si­tion. With the some­what di­vi­sive Eat The Ele­phant ma­te­rial dom­i­nat­ing the setlist there are in­evitably times when the crowd’s en­thu­si­asm dips, and while the now-sta­ple cover of AC/DC’s Dog Eat Dog is fun with­out be­ing fun­da­men­tal, the sheer num­ber of peaks from both new favourites and now-iconic gems pro­duce the most prom­i­nent mem­o­ries. The del­i­cate Disil­lu­sioned rev­els in its beau­ti­ful keys and frag­ile empty spa­ces, while The Hol­low and So Long And Thanks For All The Fish fuse the po­tent vo­cal and gui­tar lines into an ir­re­sistible force that man­i­fests it­self in ev­ery nerve end­ing.

Time and again emo­tions are jabbed and ca­ressed by The Noose, Van­ish­ing and might­ily re­ceived The Doomed, while the sin­is­ter at­mos­phere of The Con­trar­ian and throb­bing elec­tronic bass of Hour­glass demon­strate a wealth of va­ri­ety. Nat­u­rally the big­gest fan­fare is re­served for Ju­dith and The Pack­age, and May­nard is at his most hum­ble and ap­pre­cia­tive be­fore a clos­ing De­li­cious

- a wel­come con­trast af­ter a sur­pris­ing loss of cool at a missed cue dur­ing that afore­men­tioned AC/DC cover. He lifts the re­fresh­ing ban on cam­era phones be­fore cheek­ily ex­it­ing to a sea of fran­ti­cally pro­duced screens. On a night when a few empty seats and the briefest of dips are the only down­sides, it’s a joy­ous way to bid farewell for how­ever long to a very spe­cial col­lec­tion of mu­si­cians whose sparse of­fer­ings and ap­pear­ances are all part of the charm.

a Per­fect cir­cle pre­pare to dis­ap­pear into the night once more…who knows for how long?

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