Epica with Starkill and Moonspell live at Irving Plaza on January 21st, 2015

© Dhruv Kumar

All live Photos by Dhruv Kumar

http://www.dhruvkumar.com/

Words by Kristina Bodetti

 

On Thursday night the Dutch symphonic metal band Epica came to NYC to start their latest tour in support of their sixth studio album, The Quantum Enigma. They brought with them the Chicago based melodic death metal band, Starkill, and the Portuguese gothic metal band, Moonspell. This was the first stop on this new tour but Epica has been touring (mostly internationally) practically non-stop since 2014. The three bands played to a packed house of excited fans.

Starkill opened up the night with the slow, melodic intro to Be Dead or Die as they walked on stage, picked up their instruments and began to play a strong start to the show. They played a mix of songs from their first two studio albums as well as new tracks from their upcoming third. They recently decided to make their third album alone, without a label, through crowd-funding so they could maintain control over their music. The freedom this move has allowed them could be heard in their playing and in the contrast between the old songs and the new. The surprise highlight of the night was their new track, Cloudless, which they followed with the title track from their first album, Fires of Life. Placing the two tracks back to back showcased how their sound has evolved since they began while maintaining their signature sound.

Starkill-7 Epica with Starkill and Moonspell live at Irving Plaza on January 21st, 2015 Starkill-2 Epica with Starkill and Moonspell live at Irving Plaza on January 21st, 2015

STARKILL Setlist:

Be Dead or Die

Burn Your World

Cloudless

Fires of Life

Virus of the Mind

Before Hope Fades

 

Next up, Moonspell took the stage while a pre-recorded voice-over played. Almost as soon as they started playing the first bit of moshing began in the back of the crowd. They played songs spanning the bands 24 year career. The stage was crowded by the large drum set and keyboard stand but they made the best of the space they had, moving and headbanging as much as they could. Fans of the band were there in force chanting and singing along with their favorite lyrics while for others the group seemed to fall short of expectations.

Moonspell-4 Epica with Starkill and Moonspell live at Irving Plaza on January 21st, 2015 Moonspell-3 Epica with Starkill and Moonspell live at Irving Plaza on January 21st, 2015

MOONSPELL Setlist:

Breathe (Until We Are No More)

Extinct

Night Eternal

Opium

Awake

Domina

Malignia

Vampiria

Alma Mater

Full Moon Madness

 

As the lights went down and the screen started to rise for Epica’s set the whole place was filled with cheers. The stage was empty and quiet however, prompting the crowd to chant the band’s name. Finally the music started, the crowd began clapping in time with the music and one by one the members of the band came out on stage and took their place with their instrument. Last on stage was the band’s lead vocalist, Simone Simons, prompting some of the loudest cheers of the night. They opened strong with Originem and kept the momentum up through a 15 song set. The band made full use of the stage space, moving around and occasionally doing some synchronized headbanging. Simone Simons’ voice was spot on throughout the night as she belted out songs spanning her range and moved around the stage. During their fourth song, Sensorium, keyboardist Coen Janssen showed off the swivel top to his keyboard stand and later during Martyr of the Free Word he brought out his portable, curved keyboard as he went down to the front of the stage to showcase his playing. Half way through their set they played the fantastic Cry for the Moon with most of the audience singing along and followed it up by leaving drummer Arien Van Weesenbeek alone on stage for a great solo. Overall, Epica’s set was excellent and was the perfect opening to this new tour.

EPICA Setlist:

Originem

The Second Stone

The Essence of Silence

Sensorium

Unleashed

Martyr of the Free Word

Cry for the Moon

DRUM SOLO

Storm the Sorrow

The Last Crusade

The Obsessive Devotion

Victims of Contingency

Design Your Universe

ENCORE:

Sancta Terra

Unchain Utopia

 Consign to Oblivion

Epica-Tour Epica with Starkill and Moonspell live at Irving Plaza on January 21st, 2015

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