You know that feeling you get when you’re playing a video game and you come to a boss battle?

A Perturbator gig is kind of like that, only for over an hour.

I didn’t know what I should expect when I headed down the stairs in Manchester Academy. The dimly lit room, which smelt strongly of piss, didn’t give me high hopes for the night to come.

These hopes remained low through the support act, Hypno5e. Although this was by no means a fault of the band themselves.

Hypno5e, music is an interesting listen, and their performance did them justice. But the crowd were unfazed.

Their complex tracks seemed to be trying to tell a story which was lost on the zombies in front of them.

Aside from a couple of head bobs at the front (and the token guy at every gig who gives it his all,) the audience may as well have been dead. Polite claps were the most life they could muster up, which I assumed meant I was in for a long night.

However, everything changed when Toxicity by System Of A Down came on during the set change. This serves as living proof that music genres are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Perturbator is blurring the line between synth and metal.

perturbator performing live

In a room full of people here to see electronic music, it was quite amusing to see such an energetic reaction to System of A Down. But I was glad to see some life in the crowd, at least.

This life was tripled the minute the synthster hit the stage. And despite the blinding light display behind him, as soon as the first notes began to play, the room felt a lot darker.

It is an incredible talent to hold a crowd’s interest for a full set without speaking a single word, which is exactly what Perturbator did.

A lot of aspiring synthwave musicians would fail at this hurdle. Instead of delivering a set, they churn out a bunch of unintelligible sounds that leave you unable to tell when one song ends, and another begins.

This is what sets Perturbator apart.

perturbator at manchester academy

There is a sense of danger in some of his tracks, and excitement in others, which makes seeing him perform live an intense experience. Your adrenaline kicks in and you forget about everything outside of the music for a while.

To enhance this, throughout his set, the crowd were like a new set of people. Hair was flying around and heads banging harder than the tunes themselves, which in the near-strobe lighting was quite a spectacle.

However, while the flashing lights behind Perturbator were a sight to behold, the set could have benefitted from some extra production.

As Hypno5e featured multiple screens, screening avant-garde videos, I expected something similar for the headliner too. It was a bit of a let down that this wasn’t the case.

Yet, this didn’t hinder the set too much. Watching the Parisian artist bounce around, clearly enjoying himself, and his dedicated fans follow his lead was entertaining enough.

With the rate that Perturbator is gaining attention, I am sure he will be back in Manchester before long.

Check out Perturbator New Model here:

Featured Image Credit: Fanny Storck

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