Wembley arena, London
The American-Armenian skull-pummelers deliver some worthy political messages amid a messy sprawl of intricate, disjointed hardcore
The entry queues are chaotic, the toilets are overflowing, and the PA pours out a relentless two-hour bombardment of math metal, violent thrash rock and Armenian folk anthems. Yet, if it feels as if Californian skull-pummelers System of a Down are trying to make Wembley feel like its own downtrodden mini-state, we’re soon put in our place. The Wake Up the Souls tour marks the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian genocide – a subject close to the hearts of these four politically voracious Armenian-Americans – and animated histories of that and subsequent genocides in the second world war, Rwanda and Cambodia are played out on the screens during interludes in the set, narrated by Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello. So, suitably humbled, we endure.