Evergrey - London, England 06.11.06
|Event:||Evergrey: European Tour|
The notorious Monday morning blues! (hmmm… now what album does that phrase remind me of?) So I awoke one November morning shivering to the depressingly cold weather that had England under its mercy. Shivering also at the knowledge that I'll soon have to be on my way to work. The day's newspaper was already on the kitchen table. I opened it randomly and my eyes drowsily fell on an advert in small print advertising a gig by Evergrey, supported by Awake and Avatar. Tonight. 'Am I still dreaming?' - I asked myself. After another mug of strong coffee the ad was where it was moments before. Suddenly I knew where I was gonna be after work and a big grin was splashed across my face.
Evening came. Local Progressive Metal band Awake was entrusted to break the ice within a half-full venue. Despite not having previously heard the band, their name gave me good idea on what to expect. Surprisingly enough the band gave a performance with admirable conviction.
I'll be honest - Awake's style of Prog Metal (imagine Evergrey, Dream Theater, Cairo all converging together) has been done several times before, but what the band does it does well. Very well. Possibly the keyboard needed to integrate better with the songs, although its effects and melodies were highly evocative. The band was tight through most the show and seemed at ease with even the more complex numbers.
Awake's set concluded with a rendition of Black Sabbath's 'Children Of The Grave'. The band clearly wasn't navigating its destined genre here but if anything this song provided an appreciated spice of variety. On the whole this was a very professional and enjoyable performance.
Children Of The Grave (Black Sabbath cover)
The best way I can describe Avatar's music is by the following formula: (Children Of Bodom - keyboards) + In Flames = Avatar. Mathematics (!) apart, the band draws a stronger inspiration from the Thrash genre than the Progressive one. This might have contributed to the rather inert behaviour from the audience. The band's image certainly confirms the Thrash leanings of this young band.
Too few catchy riffs and excessive gimmicks used are the main aspects Avatar need working upon in my view. Otherwise, these Swedes demonstrated an excellent stage presence. The set consisted of their "Thoughts From Tomorrow" album in its entirety. Oddly enough, these songs seemed to adopt a more melodic touch in a 'live' environment. 'War Song' and 'Stranger' were 2 very good examples of melody within aggression.
Worth particular mention is Johannes Eckerstrom who is evidently a very technically gifted singer. His voice hovered in the upper levels of tonality with apparent ease and gave Avatar's repertoire a personal touch.
Bound To The Wall
Last One Standing
My Shining Star
Slave Hive Meltdown
And I Bid You Farewell
Evergrey's audience constituted quite an eclectic range of nationalities - clear evidence of the Swedes' appeal and cult-status. None of them went home disappointed, and for many a good reason.
First of all Evergrey put together a very good set-list that basically touched down at all the band's releases at some point or another during the show. What's more, the songs seemed to trigger all the right reactions from the audience to create a thoroughly enjoyable show.
Particularly good renditions were given of 'The Masterplan', 'In Remembrance' and 'Monday Morning Apocalypse'. The passage with the latter song featuring some complex backing vocals was amazing. With 'Till Dagmar' and 'I'm Sorry' Evergrey reminded the audience that the band has a rare talent of convincingly mixing tenderness and melancholy with heaviness and aggression. It was deeply moving to be amongst the audience singing the entire chorus of 'I'm Sorry' with one voice. Evergrey vocalist Thomas Englund must have appreciated the chance to rest his vocal chords! Also worth specific mention is 'When The Walls Come Down' which proved to be one of the most emotionally cathartic songs of the night.
The virtuosity of guitarist Henrik Danhage and keyboardist Rikard Zander shined when towards the end of the show they engaged in a brief but mesmerizing duet. In fact Henrik gave a very good individual performance as could be heard, for example, from the solos in 'The Great Deceiver' and 'Til Dagmar'. This gig was also the first England show Evegrey did with neo-recruit bassist Fredrick Larsson who had recently replaced Michael Håkansson.
Further to earlier observations on Evergrey's set-list, it seemed that songs taken from the band's 4th album "Recreation Day" were particularly appreciated by the audience. Talking about observations, Evergrey definitely sound more aggressive in a 'live' environment. I wouldn't be surprised should Evergrey return very soon to British shores if the night in question could have served to gauge the band's current popularity.
End Of Your Days
Rulers Of The Mind
Still In The Water
Monday Morning Apocalypse
Mark Of The Triangle
More Than Ever
When The Walls Come Down
The Great Deceiver
Touch Of Blessing
Pictures by Chris Galea, all rights reserved do not use without permission.
Awake - http:www.awakemusic.net
Avatar - http://www.avatar.net
Evergrey - http://www.evergrey.net
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