What happens when the headliner of a tour has to pull out three days into the run? In the case of Epica’s unforeseen cancellation, special guests, Eluveitie, took it upon themselves to create a perfect and intimate evening for the fans who showed up. On September 22nd, Eluveitie, joined by Martina Edoff and The Agonist, invaded The Vogue in Vancouver and took our collective breath away.
To start off the night, Vancouverites were treated to the music of Martina Edoff, a glorious rock singer with a staggering voice. Even though the Swedish diva was a new discovery for most people in attendance, Edoff and her band of exemplary musicians, fulfilled their opening duty brilliantly with their onstage chemistry and exemplary talent, playing a short set with great elegance.
When The Agonist entered the stage, the energy inside the theatre shifted. The small congregation of metal faithfuls screamed enthusiastically with their horns up in the air as the Canadian band kicked off their set with “Thank You, Pain.” The Agonist played a mix of songs off their latest album, Eye of Providence, such as “Gates of Horn and Ivory,” and “Danse Macabre” and songs predating their current singer including “Panophobia,” “Business Suit and Combat Boots,” and “Dead Ocean.” The heavy guitar and short-lived solos, the vigorous and tireless drumming of Simon McKay, the impressive harsh-to-clean-to-harsh-again vocal abilities displayed by Psarakis, and the level of energy spent by each member for the sake of entertainment made The Agonist a pleasure to watch. The band finished with a bang with the excellent “Follow The Crossed Line” and put an end to a very high-energy and intense set that delighted most.
Though the show-goers seemed to appreciate the two opening acts, people who had attended the show without Epica present were the ones who had bought tickets for Eluveitie in the first place. Therefore, as the roadies brought the instruments out, the excitement was palpable. When the house lights dimmed and the first notes of “Origins” played, the sound of yelling for the beloved Swiss band was deafening. Eluveitie launched the aural assault with “King” off of the band’s 2014 release Origins. The song immediately put the band’s new faces on the spot and Vancouverites got to welcome warmly newcomers Matteo Sisti (on loan from Italian band Krampus), and Shir-Ran Yinon.
Despite the relatively new additions, Eluveitie was seamless. By Toutatis, is Eluveitie ever flawless live! The larger stage of The Vogue allowed the eight musicians to spread out and deliver a fluid and comfortable performance where all could head-bang and move about the stage without the fear of causing a pile up. The crowd quickly became restless and the show-goers danced, sang with abandon, and stomped their feet to the beat of every magical song the band bestowed upon us.
The band exquisitely played some of their greatest songs including “Thousandfold,” “Omnos,” “De Ruef Vo De Bärge,” “Kingdom Come Undone,” and “Neverland” before something spellbinding happened. The band left the stage. The lights went out. Anna Murphy stood in front of her microphone and, under the blue hue of the last remaining spots, she sang “Scorched Earth” alone. The spectators watched in an unnerving, silent reverence. After Murphy’s shiver-inducing rendition of the Gaulish aria, Chrigel Glanzmann, and Matteo Sisti walked back on stage, mandolin and bagpipes in hand, and entranced the crowd with some traditional folk music. Members of the band gradually joined the two musicians back on stage to play more folk tunes, only to finish by playing some Eluveitie originals to wrap up the acoustic interlude.
Though I would have been content had the show ended there, Eluveitie had more in store and played a second extraordinary set, starting with the spine-tingling “Helvetios.” In a somewhat expected but still classy move, Glanzmann saluted the bands temporarily fallen brethren in Epica and dedicated “A Rose For Epona” to them, renaming the song “A Rose For Epica” for the night. Anna Murphy’s unique, and astonishingly powerful, voice was perfect to honour the band housing one of the best voices in metal.
Eluveitie also played “The Siege” showcasing Murphy’s harsh vocals, as well as “Quoth The Raven,” “Tegernakô,” which started a river dance circle pit, and “Havoc,” finishing flamboyantly with “Alesia.” Two hours of Eluveitie wasn’t enough, and Vancouver requested one more song from the exhausted musicians. Thankfully for us all, the show went on and Eluveitie played the much anticipated “Inis Mona” before bowing out for good.
I was expecting a great concert, but nothing could have prepared me for the bewitching performance and musical faultlessness that was unleashed by Eluveitie on that night. If I could relive a concert from start to finish for the rest of my life, An Evening With Eluveitie and Friends would be my top pick.
Written and Photographed by Kai Robidas
*edited by Danielle Kenedy