Hapfairy's World

Symphonic metal news with a sprinkle of fairy dust

Epica + ReVamp In London

So we got to London at around 3pm. At this point there were only about 6 people in front of us  - although a few people turned up later and joined them! Normally I wouldn't be annoyed at people joining their friends in the queue, but this extra addition meant that after all that waiting we had only got to stand in the second row, and I couldn't lean against the barrier. I was pretty dead by the end of the gig!

A few times band members walked past while we were in the queue. But Mark was kind enough to stop for a few photos, so here's my first one:

Inside, the venue (Scala) was definitely on the small side. I loved this because it felt more personal, and you could get a good view from anywhere - however, some people thought that the gig deserved a bigger venue. I'd take a small venue over a stadium any time!


First up was ReVamp, the new band of After Forever's Floor Jansen:

The band only played material from their self-titled debut album, despite being known to sometimes perform After Forever songs. The set list was as follows:

Here's My Hell
In Sickness 'Till Death Do Us Part 1: All Goodbyes Are Said
Fast Forward
Sweet Curse
In Sickness 'Till Death Do Us Part 2: Disdain

Kill Me With Silence
Head Up High
In Sickness 'Till Death Do Us Part 3: Disgraced

I have to say, ReVamp totally blew me away. I had heard the album a few times but wasn't particularly interested in them - yet they just put on an amazing performance. The sound became raw and more heavy, and Floor's soaring vocals sounded incredibly powerful. It almost seemed to me like they tone her voice down on the albums, because her live vocals were probably the best I've ever heard. She moves so effortlessly between strong metal singing and operatic singing, and, as you may have seen on her Twitter, she has also been learning to death growl. In fact, Floor is one pretty awesome package.

Some people felt that ReVamp stole the show. I'm not sure if I would say that, but I would say that they have made a great impression on me! They certainly were the best 'supporting' act I've seen, and they could definitely carry their own headline show. I eagerly await more material from the band.

Then it was time for the main event:


So here was the setlist:

Samadhi (Prelude)
Resign to Surrender: A New Age Dawns Pt 4
The Obsessive Devotion
Martyr of the Free Word
Fools of Damnation: The Embrace That Smothers Pt 9
Cry for the Moon: The Embrace That Smothers Pt 4
The Imperial March (from Star Wars)
Tides of Time
Blank Infinity
Consign to Oblivion: A New Age Dawns Pt 3
Sancta Terra
The Phantom Agony

As you can see it was quite an even mixture of things from the band's back catalogue, with perhaps a slight bias towards Design Your Universe (their latest). Personally, several of these are my absolute favourites, so I was pretty happy with the list. 

Like ReVamp, Epica's sound was heavier than on recording. This isn't a bad thing, but it often took a few moments at the beginning of each song to realise which was being played as the keyboard and symphonic elements are much quieter. Obviously the orchestra are only here in the form of a backing track, and though that can't be helped, I'm sure Epica are amazing with a full band behind them.

Simone looked and sounded beautiful as always. My one complaint would be that she often deviated from the way that she sung the lines on the albums, adding in pauses and emphasising different words. If you like the live songs to sound different then you'd probably not be bothered by this. However, as a person who takes time to memorise song lyrics and likes to sing along, I found this a bit annoying!

There seemed to be some confusion amongst the crowd as to how to react - I personally went for headbanging on the spot, but some persisted in trying to start a mosh pit, which didn't go down very well. 

The band interacted with the crowd really well. They had various ways to keep people entertained during the long instrumental sections and solos, including clapping, singing and headbanging (had to throw that in there so you don't think it was like a church service!), oh, and also a bit of belly dancing. Well, it was certainly interesting!

(Don't ask what Mark is doing in this pic :P)

It was a great surprise when the band played their version of the Imperial March from Star Wars.This song features on their live Classical Conspiracy album, and is a fan favourite. It's also probably the first and last time any of us will ever headbang to Star Wars music!

After playing the epic Consign to Oblivion, the band followed the usual tradition of pretending to leave the stage, only to be called back on for an encore by everyone in the room yelling 'E-PIC-A!' and so on. At this point, the lovely Floor Jansen returned to the stage to sing Sancta Terra as a duet. Seeing two of my favourites sing together was a great experience!

Epica closed the show by playing The Phantom Agony - disco style! The lighting guy seemed to be having psychedelic flashbacks to the 70s, and the band all danced around with their instruments in an utterly silly fashion. It probably had something to do with the amount of Stella Artois that they had consumed over the night, but I have to say it was freaking awesome. :D

At this point I had to head to the other side of the room and sit down in front of a fan until I could breathe and feel my legs again. But luckily I didn't have to go far to get another photo with Mark - he came out into the room to sign autographs for fans. What a gentleman!

Please excuse how awful I look, it was a loooong day :P and, let's face it, anyone would look pretty bad next to Mark!

We then headed out to grab some merch. Floor was standing next to the stall, meeting fans. I foolishly went to buy my stuff first and so didn't get to meet her. I was clearly too tired to thing straight!

I was surprised by how much choice there was. Epica's online webshop has been down for ages, and their record company (Nuclear Blast) only sell a small selection of t-shirts. On the merch stall it was a different story. There were t-shirts, flags, wristbands, necklaces, posters, signed photos, badges, clocks... All sorts. I was a bit spoilt for choice. Here's what I went for in the end:

A v-neck skully t-shirt. Now both my Epica shirts are v-necks, which is awesome as they're a rare creature amongst band t-shirts.

Aaaand behold: the EpiClock! Bought for me by my lovely friend Dominic. It is brilliant... if a little noisy. :P

And so, our experience ended there. I know some people managed to meet Simone by hanging out by the tour bus, but we were all desperate for sleep by the end of the day. So we headed home. But man, it was fun. 


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