EVERGREY / VOYAGER / BOREALIS / OCEANS OF SLUMBER
Date: 26th August, 2015
Venue: Reggies Rock Club
Ticket: $20 (€18) in advance - $25 (€22) day of show
DimK: Live shows right in the middle of a working week always hide the danger of sacrificing some of the opening bands. Well, most of the times there is nothing really to miss and I am talking about those billings where the promoters or venue owner adds whatever local band, just to have some additional people. This time the billing was really interesting but alas, that Thursday’s busy schedule did not allow us to be there on time, so upon entering Reggies the stage was getting prepped to host VOYAGER.
MariaV: It’s really nice to have a lil’ surprise in the billing, and this time the surprise factor belonged to Australia’s VOYAGER who managed in their short time given to warm up the crowd for good with their hyper-ventilating moves and mood, proving that they were the perfect choice for one of the opening acts for such a strong headliner like EVERGREY. A quarter past 9pm, the five guys (and gal, of course) took their spots on the really crowded Reggies stage and soon after the first tunes of “Breaking Down” had hit the speakers, they seemed unstoppable and ready to do more than just warm us up. Sure, their melodic Progressive Metal with tons of hooks and mood-lifting groove, spiced up by colorful keys, fitted like hand in glove to the evening’s music program, but I have to admit that listening to pre-recorded keyboards can a bit of a turn off. In VOYAGER’s case though, their super-cool onstage attitude, their constant smiling and the feeling that they were actually having fun pushed the scales to their favor, making me quickly to forget the pre-recording issue. The super-groovy “Lost” passed quickly the baton to “Stare Into The Night” and its electro-Dub intro that saw some serious headbanging action on and off stage.
“Now it’s time to spice things up” said Daniel Estrin as introduction to “Fire Of The Times” that costed the band Simone Dow’s guitar amp for the most of the song and for the following medley that proved to be a short trip back in time, since it had everything; from the main theme of the TV series “Game Of Thrones” till BACKSTREET BOYS’ “Everybody”, and in case you wonder what the heck has a ‘90s Pop cover to do with a Metal show, let me address to your sense of humor and remind you that metalheads are supposed to be the coolest people around the globe, so yeah, your reaction should be more open-minded. Back to the VOYAGER set now: fortunately Simone borrowed EVERGREY’s amp and pretty soon she re-joined the rest of the guys on “Hyperventilating” (which btw was my favorite track from VOYAGER’s set), showing how a Metal-gal can have fun with her bros and raise some hell! I was truly impressed by her guitar skills and cool attitude during the entire set, and also I have to give extra kudos to bassist Alex Canion who filled up the gap while she was sorting things out, with jokes about Australia and Aussies’ way of thanking people, giving to the warmed-up crowd some good laughs.
“We spent 50 hours to get here and switched 5 airplanes; I think it’s worth it” said Daniel few seconds right before “The Meaning Of I” that marked the end of VOYAGER’s 45-minute set that passed by like running water under bridge, underlining that time does fly when you’re having a good time, and we have to thank VOYAGER for that. Cheers, guys – you just added one more fan to your ranks! See you next time!
01. “Breaking Down”
03. “Stare Into The Night”
04. “Fire Of The Times”
05. “Game Of Thrones” theme / “Ghostbusters” theme / “Everybody” (BACKSTREET BOYS cover) / “What Is Love” (Haddaway cover) / “America FK Yeah” (GTA cover) medley
07. “The Devil In Me”
08. “The Meaning Of I”
(click to enlarge)
DimK: I think it was the first time I really enjoyed a supporting band that much, so congratulations are in order to Australia’s VOYAGER who earned new fans and satisfied everyone who was aware of their musical whereabouts. At the same time, I felt a little bit bad for missing the first two openers (there was no way to avoid this) because I am sure they were at least equally good. So, with a wetted appetite and a little bit behind the schedule, the gathered metalheads (about 100 faces) were getting excited for EVERGREY. This was a big difference as compared to the last EVERGREY show at Reggies (almost 4 years ago) and I think this is due to the reunited lineup and, on top of everything, due to the amazing “Hymns Of The Broken” LP. As I said, we were running behind on the schedule but there was no one to blame for the guitar amp which gave up and delayed the otherwise killer set by VOYAGER. After all, this was the first day of the North US tour, so a couple of mishaps are expected to happen.
Of course, everything was forgotten the moment the lights were dimmed and the intro “The Awakening” started blasting off the speakers. The Swedes started showing up onstage and soon enough they kicked off the first new song upon US soil with the fast “King Of Errors”. The sound was loud and kind of clear because the vocals were a little bit lost in the mix, so maybe the bass was too loud. From the very beginning, the band looked super-charged and extremely happy playing the new material on this side of the Atlantic with the lineup that produced absolutely amazing albums. Tom Englund and his trademark wet hair assumed position in the center of the stage and kept delivering his most characteristic singing almost non-stop for the first three songs of the setlist. After “The Fire” it was time for everyone to catch his breath and Tom acknowledged this by joking a bit: “you know, three songs in a row are tough for my age” before introducing “Monday Morning Apocalypse”. One more thing that surprised me with the regards to the US audience was the intense singing-along that lasted the entire night. Again, comparing this to the previous Reggies show, it makes me wonder where were all those EVERGREY fans... Maybe it was due to bad promotion? Anyway, the Swedes quickly built up a momentum and one of the first climaxes of the show happened following these words from Tom: “We’re having a good time so far. Let’s see if you'll recognize this one” and yeah, “The Masterplan” hit us hard!
The sound did improve a bit, but still, there were some issues not hearing the vocals at the level I’d prefer, even though my spot in front of Johan Niemann may had something to do with the acoustics I was experiencing. Tom said that it’s hard getting from Sweden to the US and dealing with the working Visas and the really expensive traveling costs (don’t forget the equipment too) before then admitting: “We have 25% of our equipment with us but we’re trying hard to make everything sound as it should” and many fans gave him the appropriate answer by shouting “everything sounds awesome!”
It was kind of funny hearing Tom asking for what songs the fans would like to hear because everything was according to the setlist that was taped on the floor. At the same time, listening to all the different song picks made me feel happy because it was about time for EVERGREY to gain the recognition they totally deserve in the US. So yeah, the amazing “Blinded”, the oldie “Solitude Within” and my personal favorite “As I Lie Here Bleeding” made everyone sing and headbang along the super tight rhythm section. By the way, Jonas Ekdahl did not stop headbanging throughout the set and didn’t miss a beat as he was pounding his drumkit.
There’s more in EVERGREY than just a band playing live; the musicians move around while keeping the symmetry while occupying the entire stage (ok, the Reggies stage is small) and getting into headbanging action at the same time. Henrik Danhage is definitely a strange dude onstage because one moment he may looked like he is bored and the next one he is storming the stage and communicating with the front rows wearing the biggest of smiles. One of the ‘getting requests from the audience’ breaks turned to be quite funny because a couple of fans asked for “Blinded” and got this response: ““Blinded”? we already did that! Ah, you were at the bar to get a beer, right?” Ok, it doesn’t sound funny when I am describing it but during the show it came absolutely hilarious.
“I'm Sorry” became even better with everyone singing along and made a good pair with the following “Missing You” even though I have to admit I didn’t recognize it immediately, so maybe I have been spending more time with the heavier songs of the latest EVERGREY LP, but more vinyl spins will follow.
Getting songs you like with minimum breaks gives you the illusion that time is accelerated, so before we knew it, the band left the stage for the encore that was no other than the hair-raising “When The Walls Go Down”. The keyboards, the spoken parts and the powerful drumming led to an amazing and headbanging climax with the entire band back onstage. I guess the way this one was performed in the “A Night To Remember” DVD has something to do with why I love this one so much. “Recreation Day” kept us going even though it was getting late (the next day was still a working day for many of us) and then Tom decided to take more requests... “We will definitely not do “Nosferatu” or “Words Mean Nothing”” and even my request for “Trilogy Of The Damned” went down the drain (but that was expected, right?) before passing the baton to “Broken Wings”, so no one actually complained. Unfortunately, the only turn-off of the night was a buckethead in the front row whose mind was clouded by a couple of light beers he had downed, told him to start hitting another guy... this also caught Tom’s attention but there was nothing for him to do. Ok, I cannot blamed the zero IQ of this guy or the other two who were also drowned in a couple of light beers but I’ll blame the venue for not having security personnel close to the stage (I won’t address the possible over-serving issue here).
Anyway, the show went on and dropped the curtain with the epic “The Grand Collapse” which came fantastic, especially the part with the helicopter sounds which gave us the impression it was flying right above our heads. So, yes, this was an epic start for a tour which I hope will continue equally successfully for two reasons: a) because EVERGREY deserve it and b) so we can have the Swedes back in the States (Chicago included) really soon!
01. “King Of Errors”
02. “Leave It Behind Us”
03. “The Fire”
04. “Monday Morning Apocalypse”
05. “Black Undertow”
06. “The Masterplan”
07. “Mark Of The Triangle”
09. “Solitude Within”
10. “As I Lie Here Bleeding”
12. “I’m Sorry”
13. “Missing You”
14. “When The Walls Go Down”
15. “Recreation Day”
16. “Broken Wings”
17. “A Touch Of Blessing”
18. “The Grand Collapse”
(click to enlarge)