There’s no doubt about it, summer time in Montreal is fantastic. On this particular evening, the air was cool, but still warm, and the skies were clear. Another perfect night for a metal show. Symphonic-metal masters, Epica, had made their way to Montreal with Eluveitie and The Agonist for, what was an incredible show of mixed genres. Before we get into how amazing it was, unfortunately, after this night, Epica was forced to cancel the four next shows of their tour. A close family member of lead singer, Simone Simmons, had sadly fallen ill, resulting in the cancellation of appearances in Quebec City, Toronto, Chicago, and Minneapolis. The shows will go on with The Agonist, and Eluveitie. This isn’t the first bit of bad news the band had to deal with, as keyboardist, Coen Janssen, was forced to miss the entire tour because of a personal family matter, leaving the band without keyboards. Our best wishes go out to both Simone’s and Coen’s families.
Now, on to the show that took place this evening.
The night began with one of my favourite bands, The Agonist, from right here in good ol’ Montreal. Wasting no time at all, the band ripped through various songs such as “Thank You, Pain,” “Gates of Horn and Ivory,” and “The Tempest.” These guys have really found themselves with the addition of their new singer, Vicky Psarakis. Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoyed The Agonist, even with their original singer, Alissa White-Gluz, but Vicky brings something fresh and new to the band. Her stage presence alone is enough to draw you in. On the whole, however, all four members of The Agonist know how to bring an incredible show to the masses. You’d almost forget that they were only opening the show, because they play with so much passion and intensity. Their hometown crowd ate up every minute of it. They ended their set with “Follow the Crossed Line,” one of my favourite songs off their newest record Eye of Providence.
Next up was folk metal band, Eluveitie. So, let me get this out of the way immediately. I had never been a huge fan of this band. No reason in particular; simply because the few songs I had heard from them in the past weren’t necessarily songs that peaked my interest. Well, I’m here to eat my words right now, because when Eluveitie hit the stage, I was so blown away by their musicianship. The band is comprised of eight individuals, all playing a variety of different instruments. Lead Singer, Chrigel Glanzmann, played a mandola, whistles, and folk pipes, while Anna Murphy (who shares vocal duties on several songs with Chrigel) plays a hurdy gurdy. Yea, that’s right, a freaking hurdy gurdy! If you don’t know what that is, Google it immediately. All these instruments blended together created something truly magical. And after watching them blast through songs such as “Alesia,” “King,” and “Quoth The Raven,” I was converted into a permanent fan of these guys. They’re truly not a band to be missed, if given the opportunity to see them live.
Finally, around 10:00pm, the lights went down, and Epica walked on to the stage. This was my third time seeing them live, and to say they bring it every time would be an understatement. Their band-name is quite fitting. The music, as well as the live shows, are truly epic. Opening their set with “The Second Stone,” a track off their newest record, The Quantum Enigma, Epica plowed through a set of songs from their entire discography. But, it was older tracks such as “Cry for the Moon,” “The Obsessive Devotion,” and, the last song they played, “Consign to Oblivion,” that truly got the loudest crowd reactions.
Also, something I definitely have to note is how happy these guys seem on stage. Like, I’m talking seriously happy. Epica look like they just had the best day of their lives every time they hit the stage. My personal favourite is guitarist, Isaac Delahaye, constantly goofs around, makes silly faces to the crowd, and generally runs all over the stage, all without missing a single note. Lead singer, Simone Simmons, has great stage presence; the chemistry with her band is undeniable. They aren’t just a band, their friends, and it shows by the way they all act on stage. If you have the chance to see Epica live, do it.
You’ll have a great time. I know I did.
Written by Dominic Abate
Photography by Shannon Fong SLF Photography
*edited by Danielle Kenedy