Kulturbolaget, Malmo, Sweden
Review and live pictures by Anders Sandvall
Evergrey is back on the attack for real with their brand new album HYMNS FOR THE BROKEN. The band released their last album, GLORIOUS COLLISION, in 2011, so it was about time for the band to release a follow up. Along with the new album there were some line-up changes. Band leader and singer Tom S Englund brought back former members Henrik Danhage on guitar, and Jonas Ekdahl on drums. Evergrey is one of the biggest progressive metal acts in the world, and of course I am proud that they are from Gothenburg, Sweden. The band has always been a favorite of mine, so I was really glad when I saw that they were coming to Malmo to play. The band toured heavily in Europe last year and this year. So it was cool they decided to pay Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmo a visit. The tour doesn’t last for weeks or months in a row, the band has been doing shows here and there, so it’s not a constant tour. Before they came to Sweden, they had been on the road in Finland. I met up with the band earlier during the day and when Englund saw the amount of albums I had brought with me to get signed he said that he couldn’t believe how much stuff he had done throughout the years. He didn’t even own the Gus G album he appears on he said.
As support on the two shows in Malmo and Stockholm, we had Outtrigger. They visited Malmo earlier this year on the Bandit Insanity Tour that also took place at the same venue as tonight – Kulturbolaget. The club was going to open at 7 and Outtrigger was to go on stage at 8. The entire evening was, as always, on a weekend scheduled to end at 11-11.30 because after the show the club hosts nightclub.
The first thing I looked for when I got inside was a photo pit….and there wasn’t one. I knew this was going to create trouble for me when taking pics of the bands. Most of the people in the club stood at the bar or were checking out merchandise while waiting for the band. When the clock reached 8, a couple of fans positioned themselves in front of the stage and started to wait for the support act that showed up a few minutes later and kicked off the night.
The band waited for the intro to fade, and got ready on the stage. The bands consists of five guys. Their two guitarists and singer totally took over the stage immediately when the show began. After two songs, the singer thanked fans for the applause and said it was fun to be in Malmo again. He said it was a blast and and honor to be opening for Evergrey. One of the guitarists suffered some technical problems, and the singer said he couldn’t understand why all the expensive stuff was so poorly made. It took a few minutes until he got it all in shape again and then their mallcore music could continue.
The singer varied between growls and clean vocals which didn’t impress me at all. I didn’t like the band a few months ago, and I didn’t like their music any more this time. Sure, the guys are good at their instruments, but their music gives me nothing. The bands weakest link is the singer who is OK as a frontman, but not as a singer. In the middle of the show a boring acoustic ballad was played and it was only the youngest fans in the crowd that seemed to appreciate the song the most. The singer said that he had started out as a guitarist and that one of his biggest musical influences had been Evergrey but he soon understood that he wasn’t that good on guitar and started to sing instead.
The lights were not the greatest, as some of the members stood almost in darkness during the show. The sound system worked much better, and Outtrigger had actually quite a good sound during the show. The band tried really hard to get the reluctant crowd in the right mood but it was pretty obvious that the people on the floor were there to see Evergrey, not Outtrigger. The singer announced the last song and the crowd applauded politely when the band went off the stage.
Their set lasted for about 35 minutes which was more than enough in my opinion. Outtrigger’s music is only boring mallcore in my ears and it’s not a band that I plan on following. The members also felt a little insecure on stage and they need to gain more time on stage in order to really get a crowd going. On the positive side I have to admit that the members are skilled on their instruments and I cast no shadow on their craftmanship.
Now it was not long until Evergrey came to the stage and the excitement started to rise inside the club. A huge backdrop with the cover of the bands latest album was put up. On each side of the drums two flags were placed but that was also about everything that was on stage besides mics and amps of course. All of the monitors were placed on the edge of the stage to the ramp out from the stage was held clean. The band had a lot of space to move around because the stage at Kulturbolaget is both wide and deep. Finally, at about 9 o clock the house music faded out and it was time for the kings of progressive metal to conquer Malmo.
The into “The Awakening” was first out for the night and straight after followed the first song “King Of Errors” which is taken from the brand new album HYMNS FOR THE BROKEN. “Leave It Behind” followed and the crowd barely had time to catch their breath in between the songs. Nevertheless, the fans loved the badass opening of the show and cheered for the band after each song. Singer Englund stood solid with one foot on the monitor when he sang and looked as cool as ever. He thanked the fans for the applause and said its been ten years since the band last performed in Malmo, and that it was about time to bring Evergrey back to the fans here. “The Fire” continued the show and it was clear that Evergrey has a solid fan-base here because its been a while since I last saw such a dedicated crowd as the one that Evergrey had gathered at Kulturbolaget this particular night.
The members in the band are:
Tom S Englund – lead vocals, guitar
Henrik Danhage – guitar
Rikard Zander – keyboards
Jonas Ekdahl – drums
Johan Niemann – bass
Englund once again thanked for the applause and looked really happy on stage. It’s not often I have seen that man smile, but this night the band leader seemed to be having a great time. Another great tune in “Monday Morning Apocalypse” followed and the fans seemed to love every minute of the show. Guitarist Danhage was the one that moved around the most on stage and he took trips out on the ramp to get closer to the fans on and off. It was a bit hard to get proper shots of the band because of the poor lighting. The red lights that shined from behind are what made my job hard. Luckily, the smoke machine was handled with care, and the sound system worked perfect.
Englund said that the band had done 9 albums so far and it is hard to make a proper set list since they have so many great songs. The next song was taken from 2001 and it was “The Masterplan”. For the fans sake, it didn’t matter if the songs were older, or more current, they sang a long and screamed during each and every one. Englund wanted the fans to scream at his command and most of the fans did as he asked. All of the members besides Danhage ended the song at the same time and Englund laughed and said that despite the band has been playing the song for over 10 years Danhage have for some reason really hard to end the song at the same time as the rest of the band which is really strange. Again, I’ve never seen Englund in such a good mood as he was during this show and I’ve definitely never seen him laugh, he has never talked so much in between the songs as he did this night either. Englund said that the next song up was following in the same theme as the previous and it was “Mark Of the Triangle” taken from the album IN SEARCH OF TRUTH.
The band seemed to be in harmony and in a really good place, they sure seemed to be enjoying the time on stage together. That was not the case when I saw the band last time. But it is clear who is the bandleader and the boss on stage. Englund asked if the fans were having a good time, and a fan at the front of the stage was shouting something so Englund leaned down talking to him for a minute. Then he came back saying that the next song was dedicated to the support act and it was “Blinded” taken from the absolute brilliant album RECREATION DAY from 2003. The fans sang a long in the lyrics and Englund seemed to be really happy with the support from the Malmo fans. Both Englund as Danhage impressed a lot on guitar, but all of the members are extremely talented musicians.
So now it was time for a song from UNFORGIVABLE from 1999 and it was “Solitude Within”. It felt like the fans really had woken up because the sing a long was really loud with fists up in the air. Englund and Danhage chased each other around on the stage having a great time. Zander contributed with a keyboard solo and after that came a pause when it was time for the crew to change the guitar for the band. Englund said that the band suffered some problems with the keyboard but that shouldn’t stop the band from continuing the show and the night continued with “Wake A Change”. The stage filled up with smoke and it was practically impossible to see a thing.
“A New Dawn” followed after which Englund once again said that the piano settings inside the keyboard were kind of broken but that the band was going to play the next song anyway. If the keyboard should suffer a total meltdown that Niemann had promised to help out on guitar Englund said and fired off one of the bands biggest hits in the cover “I’m Sorry” originally made by the Swedish artists Dilba. It seemed like this was the song that most of the fans had been waiting for and everyone in the club sang a long with Englund during the entire song. Englund let also the fans sing the first chorus on their own. Enlglund moved around more now that he didn’t his guitar on him. That song closed the show and the band had been on stage for about 70 minutes. The first member out was Zander who performed the instrumental song “When The Walls Go Down” on his own. That is the closing song on THE INNER CIRCLE from 2004.
The rest of the band came out and fired off “Recreation Day” which landed a huge applause from the fans. Once again, Englund had the fans in the palm of his hand and he had them all shouting at his command. During the guitar solo Danhage walked out on the ramp and he was the one that connected most with the fans. Englund thanked for the support and asked if the crowd wanted to hear another song which they surly wanted. The band performed “Broken Wings” taken from the previous TORN album from 2008. While Danhage was out on the ramp playing guitar, a fan came too close to him and touched his guitar. That pissed off Danhage who kicked the fan in the chest and the guy learnt the hard way that it’s not OK to touch the instrument while an artist is playing.
When the fans heard the intro to “A Touch Of Blessing” they went wild and that was also the song that ended the entire show. Englund and the guys took of their instruments and he said that see you in 10 years or at Sweden Rock Festival. Thanks for being here and supporting the band he said. Altogether lasted the amazing show for about 105 minutes and it was purely brilliant the entire time. It was nice to see Englund in such a good mood and the band seemed to have found the joy of playing together again. The set list was amazing, however, it lacked a few of my personal favorites but that was a minor thing. The guys are really tight together now and I really hope that Englund can manage to maintain this line-up intact for a long while.
Evergrey is without a doubt one of the best progressive metal acts in the world and it was an honor to see them live again. The only negative thing with the show, that the band couldn’t do much about, was the poor lighting that left the members in the dark from time to time and especially while on the ramp.
Evergrey is out doing festival shows during the summer in Europe and they are also heading over to USA on tour so make sure to catch them live if you’re in the neighborhood. Make also sure to take a closer look at the brand new brilliant album HYMNS FOR THE BROKEN!
The Awakening (intro)
King Of Errors
Leave It Behind Us
Monday Morning Apocalypse
Mark Of The Triangle
Wake A Change
A New Dawn
When the Walls Go Down
A Touch Of Blessing
Thanks to head of Kulturbolaget Totte Lundberg for help with press/photo pass to the show
Thanks to the security/staff for a nice treatment.