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Concerts & Shows

Epica live in Bibelot

By Clayton

So last Sunday I went to see my favorite band Epica perform again for the sixth time.
Sixth time… but with Epica each time is a charm.

The show was in a very small venue called Bibelot, which is located in Dordrecht.
I think about 100-150 people were inside.

The stage was very close to the public, so it felt very personal. I think after seeing them in Paradiso the first time in 2011, this was the second time I’ve seen them in such a small venue. But it was great.
A small venue obviously meant no pyros or H20 effects. It was just Epica, the music instruments and light effects, but that was it. Nonetheless, the energy was there. The band members put up and amazing show and all the gimmicks weren’t even missed.

I arrived in Dordrecht around 13.30hr and after a short walk to the venue and a quick fresh up in the toilet, I was in front of the doors to the main stage at 14.00hr. That was about 5 hours before the doors would open. Yes, you read that right. No more than 10 people (including myself) were just standing there and just engaging in some chit-chat. The hall was extremely hot and we often went outside for some fresh air. The hall didn’t really start filling up after 17.00hr and by 18.30hr there was a huge crowd in front of those 2 black doors. I think everyone was more than relieved when they opened and the gush of cold air from the air-conditioning inside filled the air. After scanning the tickets everyone rushed inside. I stood in the second row like I usually do.

The show started with a band called 3rd Machine.
I don’t know them, but their music was okay. However, I could barely hear a word the singer was singing. The sound of his mic was not good. But from what I could hear he sounded good and he also has a good stage presence. Although I think he struggled to get the crowd hyped. Then again, I highly doubt many knew the music of the band.
The band’s music (and the appearance of the singer) was very similar to that of the band Disturbed in my opinion.

Before Epica took the stage, there was this band called Evil Invaders.
Not my cup of tea at all. So to be honest I couldn’t wait for it to be over. But I guess if I was into that kind of music it would have been a good performance.

At exact 21.00hr the stage was clear and ready for Epica to enter.
The lights dimmed and the first notes of the intro song Eidola could be heard.
I imagined hearing that live since listening to the new album for the first time, but actually hearing it, seconds from seeing the band again, was pure magic.

As usual, the boys entered the stage and Simone made her way to the stage when the first song got played, Edge of the Blade. Simone looked gorgeous in her black and gold dress.
However, it didn’t even take 2 minutes since the band has started to play the first song that the fire alarm went off. The lights were all bright and all the music was cut. Simone kept singing but soon had to stop. All the band members went to the side of the stage and Ariën kept the crowd hyped with a drum solo until the smoke got cleared and the band could re-enter the stage.

And there it was, the second attempt and from there on there were no more interruptions.
The band kicked ass and had a very diverse set list. Obviously, I can’t remember which songs they played exactly, but I sang along to all. And jumping around and cheered them on.

My favorite track on The Holographic PrincipleAscension – Dream State Armageddon” was also performed and I was more than happy to finally hear that track live. They also played “Once Upon A Nightmare”, the only ballad on THP, which I hear they have never played live in Holland before (after the release show). It was a truly magical night and I obviously took many pictures and videos. You could tell that the band was also happy to play in their own homeland and I think they should do that more often. Coen and Isaac even got off the stage during the show to play right in the middle of the crowd. That was amazing.

Another favorite track of mine that they played was “Beyond The Matrix” and that had the entire crowd jumping along with the band. The energy was amazing. Nothing but positivity and I am sure that everyone for that one and a half hour forgot all their life problems. I certainly did.

After the show was over, Mark came to greet everyone, just like he always did and it was nice seeing him in person again. I could tell it was mutual.

Soon after I took my selfie with Mark I made my way downstairs. Got a ride from another fellow Epica fan and made my way from Dordrecht to Amsterdam. A trip that was not that easy. Had to take 2 trains and the NS bus and it took from 00.20 am in Dordrecht to 02.45 am until I opened the front door to the Amsterdam house. But for Epica all is worth and I hope to see them one day soon again.

For some great professional pictures of this show visit McSharq‘s Facebook page.

Music

Universal Search Squad

By Clayton

As soon as the “The Holographic Principle” album was available for pre-order I knew I had to get the Earbook version of it. I had also purchased that earbook version of the previous album “The Quantum Enigma” and I think these are a must-have for all die-hard fans. In case you do not know what an Earbook is, it’s exactly what it sounds like: it’s a book, with lyrics and pictures and the CD’s in it.

epica-the-holographic-principle-earbook-mit-labelprintsThe print is amazing and it has exclusive pictures. Okay, I think in the normal version of the CD you can find all these in the booklet, but bigger it looks better.

I thought I would wait till the end of the month to order the earbook, but what I didn’t realize was that unlike my country, the rest of the world is not dealing with a financial crisis. So by the time I was ready to order the earbook…. It was sold out. 🙁

I first had a minor panic attack, then quickly went to search for it on the Nuclear Blast webshop and it was also sold out. I almost broke down and immediately was filled with sadness and regret. After some intense searching I found the earbook still available on the UK webshop of Nuclear Blast. I immediately sent Patrick an email and he was able to order me a copy. I was utterly relieved and could finally relax when he sent me the order confirmation mail.

I only had to wait a few more minutes for another friend to fly the earbook over from Amsterdam to Paramaribo and now it is finally hear. I was just flipping through the pages and I could just feel the music come to live. It’s truly a piece of artwork.

Thanks to everyone for helping me get my hands on this 🙂

Music My thoughts on...

Epica – The Holographic Principle

By Clayton

It’s been exactly a month since Epica released their seventh album “The Holographic Principle”. I decided not to write anything about it until I have listened to it for a while. Usually I go “OMG this is the best album EVER” right after one week, but I can be bias and go into ultra-fan-mode.

Having said that… The Holographic Principle IS one of Epica’s best records!

The-Holographic-PrincipleEach record I wonder how they can even top themselves. Especially after the previous recode, The Quantum Enigma, which is really-really good, but this one is just as good AND maybe even better. You really can tell that Epica has grown over the years. The music quality keeps getting better and better. I am not even going into the lyrics and sound just yet, but just the hard work and commitment is very noticeable.

And now moving on to the content of the record.

The previous record was all about the mind and the mystery around it. This album is a concept that we could be living in one big giant hologram. It’s a very interesting concept. Let me do this track by track as each track is different, but each one is just as strong as the previous and the next. Mark Jansen said that this time they wanted to make songs that all could work live and I think they have succeeded.

The album is much heavier than ever before and ALL the typical Epica elements can be heard, but multiplied by ten. The album sounds enormous and it is almost like one big Epic soundtrack that you will not easily forget. I did not go into the lyrics, because I have not had the time to pay much attention to them yet. I am waiting for the earbook of this album to study the lyrics.

(more…)

Music My thoughts on...

Epica – Universal Death Squad

By Clayton

So it has been 3 days that Epica has released a new single to promote their upcoming album “The Holographic Principe” and I have not written a thing about it yet? What sorcery is this?
Calm down. Let me explain!

Universal-Death-SquadThe very first time I heard the song I did not like it. (What?)
Musically it sounded great. Just the quality of the MP3 that I have heard was a bit too low for my taste and also I think that Simone’s voice sounds almost unrecognizable. However after a few times listening the first day and not listening to the for an entire day, song started to play itself in my head the day after that. I then had to listen again and started to feel the connection to the music. I finally could appreciate the song. I finally recognized “Epica” and also Simone’s voice. This took a lot longer than usual, but I expected this. Epica’s music is kind of complex and you basically like it or you don’t. I do. But it with new music it takes a few times listening.

I think the grunting part of Mark are the best of the entire song. After the amounts of listening now, I can almost sing the song out of my head and I am sure I will love it even more once I heard the entire album in HQ. I still need to place my order. It has been two years of listening to The Quantum Enigma and it is still a great album, but more music is always welcome and the time is here.

The-Holographic-Principle

For more information please visit Epica.nl

Concerts & Shows Travel & Adventure

Epica live in TivoliVredenburg

By Clayton

IMG_20141207_151028YES!!! *pinches self* no, I’m not dreaming!!! Finally!! I did it again!! 😀
Saw EPICA live…. AGAIN!! For the fifth time already now… and once again it was one amazing, spectacular and EPIC show!!! Seriously!

I arrived in Utrecht quite a few hours before the doors would be open. The train station of Utrecht is quite big and confusing. It has a shopping center build in so it took me a while to actually find how to exit the building and head towards the venue.

The venue was literally about 5-10 minutes away from the train station. Another good thing was, that the venue had an entrance hall that we were allowed to wait in, because it was a rainy day and standing inside is quite a lot more comfortable. Also access to a bathroom and wall sockets was a nice added bonus.

IMG_20141207_173903Once again it was nice to see some familiar faces and have a chit chat until the (first) door opened, where we had to wait yet again before going up the stairs towards the hall where the show would take place. As we waited I could see Rob van der Loo walking around. The venue is a gigantic, beautiful building. Really one of the nicest venues I’ve been too so far.

After a while we were allowed to go up the stairs, get our tickets scanned and run towards another waiting point. After some more waiting and mild frustration arousing amongst the crowd we were “released” and of course the crowd stormed towards the hall to get a good standing spot.

As usual I stood dead center of the podium on the second row for a better view. It took a while for the opening act Dragonforce to begin playing. The night before I tried listening to Dragonforce’s music, but it was not my cup of tea. Not even when the band came on stage and started playing have I been able to get into the groove and enjoy one single song. I tried and tried, but just couldn’t so I eventually gave up and just stood there. After checking my Facebook newsfeed I found out that I clearly was not the only one whom shared this opinion about the opening act.

IMG_20141207_204535After a while it was over and it was time for EPICA. After the stage was rebuild with the band’s instruments and the “The Quantum Enigma” stage decorations, it wasn’t long before the lights were dimmed and the first notes of Originem started playing. Of course, the crowd went wild.

The band gave a spectacular true-Epica-show full of fire and explosions. The band was full of energy as always and Simone looked and sounded amazing. Mark Jansen even made sure that he recognized me in the crowd, which is always fun.

We were all surprised by the amazing varied set list from old to new tracks. The biggest surprise was Façade of Reality, which they haven’t played in years and even claimed a few weeks ago that they forgot how to even play it. Façade of Reality of is one of my all-time favorite Epica tracks and I was super excited to finally hear it live. Another surprise was also The Last Crusade, which also hasn’t been played in a while, and also the first time that I heard it live.

IMG_20141207_210944 IMG_20141207_225941 IMG_20141208_030503
IMG_20141209_192950 IMG_20141209_193018 IMG_20141209_193037

You can see the entire set list here:
Epica Setlist at TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, Netherlands

I also found a recording of the entire show here on YouTube.

IMG_20141208_031033After the show it was time for the usual back pain and sore throat, but surely worth it of course. But besides that it was also time to greet some more friends and of course Mark and Ariën were there to meet the fans. It was nice to chat as always.

I took the last train back to Amsterdam, where I oddly enough had an interesting chat with this guy that was piss drunk and returning from Germany. lol

Music My thoughts on...

The Quantum Enigma is released!!!

By Clayton

I am very proud of my favorite Dutch band Epica. There new record The Quantum Enigma has been officially released today and it sounds AMAZING!!! Just when I thought that Mark Jansen and his band members would have hard time to top themselves after 5 successful albums and a great show like Retrospect: they did!

The Quantum Enigma

I have already been listening to it for 2 days now and it is constantly on repeat. And when it’s not playing it still goes on inside my head.

I admit, the first listen to this album didn’t do it for me. I thought “meh”. But having been a fan of this great band for years now, I know that the trick is to just keep on listening. After the 3rd listen of this album I couldn’t stop and I start liking a new track with each listen.

So far my favorite tracks on the album are: The Essence of Silence, Sense without Sanity, Unchain Utopia, Chemical Insomnia, Canvas of Life, Natural Corruption and the title track The Quantum Enigma.

I am not nearly done listening to this album and I am sure that very soon I will love even more tracks.

The album sounds different, but still very Epica. On the first listen you might not recognize the old elements immediately, but keep on listening and you will recognize it. All the elements are there: choirs, catchy chorus, Mark’s awesome grunts, Simone’s outstanding vocals, Coen’s great piano skills, Ariën drumming like a madman and the great guitar riffs. But aside from the old elements there are also so many new things to enjoy.

Last night I watched the videos of the album release show on Wednesday in Tilburg and I totally missed out. I really wish I could have made it, but I am watching for the Dutch tour dates later this year.

Epica-TQE-album-release

I received an email that my copy of the 3-disc earbook is already being shipped, so it should be waiting for me in Amsterdam, the next time I fly over. I can’t wait. Go buy it! It’s amazing!!

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