It's taken six albums, but finally Sweden's Evergrey has managed to play a headline gig in England. An impressive crowd of around 350 was a strong showing for a cold Tuesday night in early March, a timing that would have ruled out many from their strong fan base in the north of England travelling to the capital.
Given a brief 30-minute opening slot were rising British ProgMetal hopefuls Humanity. I rather enjoyed their debut release a couple of years ago and caught them at Bloodstock shortly after. But boy, have they come a long way since them. Still a very young band, their stage show and confidence has develop in leaps and bounds and the new material aired tonight, sounded tight and rather tasty. Evergrey mainman Tom S Englund has produced their second album due out later this year - definitely a band to watch.
Being only their second gig, after a relatively long break from the live circuit, this wasn't the best concert Evergrey will ever play. They weren't as tight and sharp as I've seen them before, and the small stage of the Underworld isn't really the best platform for them to display their wares - the band's atmospheric wall of sound was suffering a bit of claustrophobia.
However the packed front of stage certainly made them feel welcome, with a barrage of noise and head-banging from an impressively young crowd. What they dished out, was a veritable feast from the back catalogue. A lack of practice time since coming out of the studio, meant that only the title track was aired from the new album.
But even operating at 80% of their potential, Evergrey is a mightily impressive live band, with the vocals of Mr Englund, and his twin guitar work with Henrik Danhage highly impressive. Bassist Michael Hakansson was like a man possessed at the front of the stage - an endless mass of flailing hair.
However it was the balladic 'I'm Sorry' which, somewhat unexpectedly, proved the highlight of the evening. Such was the word-perfect singing of the crowd, that Tom barely had to sing a note - instead beaming a big smile of surprise at his colleagues.
After just over an hour, the band left the stage, only to return for a hefty set of encores. They started with the powerful drum and keyboard duelling of 'When The Walls Come Down' and the powerful 'Recreation Day', before finally answering the endless shouts from the crowd, to play the monumental 'Touch of Blessing'.
The sweaty front rows were almost done-in, but had saved enough energy to show the band that an English crowd can more than make itself heard with a singalong in the shape of the crowd-pleasing set closer 'The Masterplan'.
A long line of smiling faces muttering words like 'brilliant' and 'awesome' passed me on the way out. It won't be long before this band is back in the capital on a bigger stage, where they truly belong.
Dream Within A Dream
The Price You Pay
End Of Your Days
More Than Ever
She Speaks To The Dead
Watching The Sky
Monday Morning Apocalypse
Rulers Of The Mind
Mark Of The Triangle
When The Walls Come Down
A Touch Of Blessing