GIG REVIEW: An Evening With EVERGREY Live at The Voodoo Lounge, Dublin
A night over twenty years in the making finally came to fruition when Swedish metal outfit, Evergrey, announced their first ever headline show in Dublin, Ireland. The turnout, while small, was drenched in spirit, with die-hard fans squeezing into whatever sliver of space they could find closest to the unguarded stage. When Evergrey finally appeared, they were ready and willing to give everything they had in pursuit of a truly memorable evening. But not before some up and coming talents warmed up the stage first.
First impressions are a delicate thing. Make a good one and you have your audience hooked. A bad one and the bar suddenly gets busy. The first act, Belfast’s Ravenlight made something of a dubious first impression, being potential victims of their own ambition. Driven by the spirit of Nightwish, from a distance you could be forgiven for mistaking vocalist Rebecca Feeney for Tarja Turunen herself. Yet if the Northern Irish unit staggered at first, with Feeney rocking that same head bop you get when listening to your Gran relay neighborhood gossip, the pace picked up mid-set with the semi-symphonic rockers displaying what they’re truly made of. Having run the danger of appearing like a mock-up of the sub-genres elites, Ravenlight loosened up and performed a tight set with charming audience interplay. Highlighting Feeney’s more than capable talent as a front-woman, one well able to captivate a crowd. When they cater more to what they are and own it, Ravenlight make some serious waves. Indeed, by the time their set had ended, the bar was empty.
The more seasoned Finnish metallers, BloodredHourglass, displayed an evidently refined and initially intriguing performance. Latent with a power trying desperately hard to get out, Bloodshed Hourglass had a fierce grip on the audience at the moment, but a moment was all it was. By the end, these strong starters lacked the same memorability as the evening’s openers, becoming a good time to get in a round by the end of their set.
As Evergrey crept on to the darkened stage beneath a soft flickering light, a repeating sonar pulse echoed through the darkened Voodoo Lounge. In support of their revered new album, ‘The Atlantic’, the band kicked off with the record’s opening track, “A Silent Arc” to great impact. A masterfully composed set followed, stacked to the rafters with addictive riffs found in newer favorites such as “Weightless,” and the up-tempo anthem “Passing Through”. Well versed in catering to an audiences wishes, these metal veterans gifted their Irish fans with an opportunity to revel in a singalong, courtesy of the bands latest single, “All I Have”. A piece with such deep reach it unified band and fans alike as both gave their all and more, bellowing lyrics and filling the room in harmony.
A well-balanced marriage between audience banter and some sensational playing defined the night. Vocalist Tom Englund, a man who can appear stern in promo shoots and videos, could barely contain his enjoyment throughout the show. His renowned, self-deprecating humor induced a wealth of laughter between songs. Including one hysterical moment that involved multiple attempts to understand a thick Dublish accent that resulted in Englund hilariously acknowledging; “well, that happened. I’m not sure what that was, but it happened!” Guitarist Henrik Danhage dropped jaws all over the room with the majority of his performance. Besides some phenomenal playing in guitar-heavy tracks like “Leave It Behind Us” and “Harmless Wishes’, Danhage engaged in duel solos with Englund, as well as one void of the band entirely, so awe-inspiring you could hear a church mouse sneeze. Anyone not already a guitarist surely left wanting to be one, a few commit to their playing to the same degree as Danhage.
As the evening came to a reluctant end with the much beloved “King Of Errors,” fans who arrived early to secure places up front found themselves being gifted with set-list sheets, guitar pics, and other memorabilia. Then, even after all was said and done, the Evergrey boys made sure to come out one by one after the show to greet their fans one last time. A testament to their love and respect for their loyal legion. This show, over twenty years in the making, was not taken lightly by either band or fans, and it went off a treat. A performance so good even Steven, the jolly and forever smiling gentleman holding down the merchandise stand, ran in for a quick bop. And who could blame him? For to miss, this show would be to miss a great night in Evergrey history.