GIG REVIEW: Epica, Myrkur & Oceans Of Slumber Live at The Tivoli Theatre, Dublin
Dublin, Ireland played its part in what was to be a week of momentous milestones for Symphonic Metal legends, Epica. The current front-runners of the sub-genre have been gearing up to celebrate 1000 shows together on Saturday, April 14th in the same venue it all began in for them, but not before making a stop off at Dublin’s Tivoli Theatre on Tuesday night. This would become a night that marked not only their sixtieth country to perform in, but the bands first time to play in The Fair City. In a week of memorable evenings, this one proved to be a serious highlight.
Epica also brought with them a bill built around some of Metal’s finest upcoming artists. First up, having endured a journey getting to the Emerald Isle that would make the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy look like a scavenger hunt for cub scouts, Oceans of Slumber both prevailed and ultimately triumphed over the odds to meet their Irish fans. In support of their new album, the progressive masterpiece that is ‘The Banished Heart’, the Texas based sextet fronted by the enthralling Cammie Gilbert, made a lasting impression on the spellbound audience, whom were so engrossed in their performance that you could hear a pin drop. That is, when they weren’t applauding between songs.
From the darkest corners of Denmark, Myrkur emerged from the shadows with a vengeance. With a simple backdrop consisting of a single Danish flag presented in such a way that it resembled an inverted crucifix, the captivating Amalie Brunn, vocalist and mastermind behind Myrkur, led her dark hooded band members through a mystical and multi dimensional set. One that felt like both a brutal séance as well as a beautiful performance, a point reiterated during Brunn’s final moments on stage as she gifted the audience with a chilling solo rendition of a traditional Nordic folk song entitled “Villemann og Magnhild” that would raise the hairs on your arm. Having had to overcome the snide comments produced by pathetic keyboard warriors after she ventured into the realm of metal, you need only watch her short performance as support on the bill to see that Amalie Brunn doesn’t only put to shame all that have spoken ill of her, she destroys them entirely.
The running jest on the night had been circulating throughout the venue, “Epica, so good they had to add an A”. What initially presented itself as a witty quip with a cringe worthy aftertaste, all of sudden became the phrase most qualified to describe the performance that followed it.
From their album ‘The Holographic Principle’, Epica made their way upon the stage to the tension building intro music of “Eidola” before launching into a jaw-dropping exhibition of “Edge of the Blade”. To only glance the room during the bands opening moments was enough to foresee that the evening was to be one of pure magic. Veteran fans chanting every lyric, others in awe of the bands debut appearance on a Dublin stage, all of this within a space filled to the brim with bouncing and arm flailing audience members ready to take the night as far as they could.
However, anything the merry crowd had to give, Epica picked up and threw back at them tenfold. Despite being heavily deep into a tour that isn’t scheduled to cease until September, Epica performed as if it was there first show of the entire run. The enchanting Simone Simons simultaneously charmed and commanded the audience as her playful ensemble of musicians collectively injected an impressive and hilarious element of fun into their performance that is unfortunately often absent from metal shows. Guitarist Mark Jansen used every inch of the stage while keys player Coen Janssen constantly engaged with the crowd, performing keyboard scores at the barrier in the faces of a lucky few.
Bouncing through their catalogue, Epica summoned a musical storm with belting tracks including “Storm the Sorrow”, the rallying calls of “Cry for the Moon” including powerful, more sombre numbers such as “Once Upon A Nightmare”. With a three-song encore that concluded with “Consign To Oblivion,” Epica made their Irish debut one neither the band nor fans are soon to forget.
If it took over fifteen years to get together, it won’t take a fraction of that time to reunite Epica with their Irish fan base. On a night too good not to be repeated in a week that will live long in memory, Epica proved once again why they are one of the best bands around, just as the Irish proved why they are one of the best audiences around.