Evergrey – Headline Act
Swedish Tour 2021
The Quill – Support Act
10/12 – 2021
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
I think everyone can agree with it has been a rough couple of years for anyone who loves to go out and watch live shows. It’s been almost two years now since the pandemic began and put a lid on our entire lives. In Sweden, COVID passes are now inquired if you want to go to shows, movies, theaters and events that host more than 100 people. Many shows are also postponed at the moment. But let’s focus on the positive side, which includes me going to my first live show in almost two years! The band that was the main focus was none other than mighty progressive metal legends from Gothenburg, Evergrey. The band toured through Finland in 2021 and ended the year with a show at Kulturbolaget in Malmo, Sweden.
Early in 2021 the band released the brilliant album, ESCAPE OF THE PHOENIX, ending their long term co-operation with record label AFM Records. Now signed to Napalm Records, in 2022 the band is planning to release a 2-CD/DVD, 2-CD/Blu-Ray, triple-vinyl, capturing the band’s live stream titled BEFORE THE AFTERMATH – LIVE IN GOTHENBURG.
Ironically, the last live show I attended before the COVID-related shut down was also Evergrey in February 2020!
Since I hadn’t heard much of support act The Quill’s music, I had to do my homework and learned the band was formed back in the ’90’s and released its self-titled debut album in 1995. Since then, they’ve released a bunch of albums, with the latest being 2020’s EARTHRISE. Their music is categorized as stoner rock/hard rock but according to the band they play “groovy hard/heavy rock”.
As usual, I was outside the venue about 30 minutes before doors opened but it wasn’t until about 20 minutes after the scheduled time that they actually opened. After showing my COVID pass, I was let inside. Evergrey’s merch left a a bit to be desired as it seemed like they hadn’t brought much. The prices were off the charts and overpriced to say the least. The stage looked clean and a backdrop hung behind the drums as well as the usual amps and mic stands at the front. It felt really nice to be back at my second home, feeling the atmosphere and anticipation amongst the fans. Finally the clock struck 8 and it was time for The Quill to enter the stage.
Support act The Quill
Once the band entered the stage, their kicked into their first song, “Keep On Moving”, which was followed straight away by “Left Brain Blues”. The opening one-two punch woke up the crowd and got them shouting and clapping their hands. “Freedom Mountain”, taken from the old album SILVER HAZE, continued the night and it seemed like the band had a solid fan base supporting them at the front of the stage. The crowd so far was made up of The Quill fans but there weren’t too many in the club yet. I hoped more people would turn up when it was time for the main act to do their thing. Still, those that were there loved the band’s well executed ’70s hard rock/stoner rock. The bands member are:
Magnus Ekwall – lead vocals
Christian Carlsson – guitar
Roger Nilsson – bass
Jolle Atlagic – drums
Even though I wasn’t familiar with the bands music, I really enjoyed listening and watching the band give their all to the fans. It was also fun to see Electric Boys drummer Atlagic live in action again. Ekwall thanked the crowd, encouraging them to clap their hands during “Dwarf Planet” saying the last time the band performed at Kulturbolaget was probably in 2004. “How many of you were born then?”, he asked and laughed. “We have a new album out called EARTHRISE which you can buy at our merch stand”, he continued as the band fired off the title track. “Hallucinate” brought out a heavy sing-a-long from the crowd and Ekwall had the fans sing the chorus on their own. He urged everyone to scream “EVERGREY” before it was time for The Quill’s last song, which was “Stone Believer”. Once again Ekwall had the fans singing on his command before the song was over and the band left the stage.
I really enjoyed the bands 40-minutes on stage and I appreciated their groovy music. Sadly, the lighting wasn’t great but the sound system worked well and it seemed like the fans enjoyed the show.
Keep On Moving
Left Brain Blues
Moving on to Evergrey, I think their new album, ESCAPE OF THE PHONEIX, is one of the better albums they’ve released. They’re currently in the process of working on a new album which is due to be released early next year. It took a little while to get the stage ready but at the stroke of 9.10 the intro music to Van Halen’s massive “Panama” was heard, announcing that it was time for Evergrey to hit the stage.
The show began with “Distance” and “When August Mourn” which woke up the crowd immediately. “Weightless” followed, and as always when this band is on stage they tend to perform in almost complete darkness. The only lights came from the back of the stage which made it hard to take decent shots of the guys. Evergrey is:
Tom S Englund – lead vocals, guitar
Richard Zander – keyboards
Johan Niemann – bass
Henrik Danhage – guitar
Jonas Ekdahl – drums
Englund thanked the fans for being there saying it was nice to be back in Malmo again. “Eternal Nocturnal” followed and already songs from the new album were connecting with the crowd. Unfortunately there weren’t that many people in the crowd this night, maybe people are still a bit reluctant to attend shows even though you have to show that you’re vaccinated?
The guys completed each other perfectly on stage and Englund’s voice was as brilliant as ever; the man is a vocal wizard! Everyone but Danhage walked off stage and as he threw his guitar solo, Zander returned to support him with some keyboard work. The solo lead into “Monday Morning Apocalypse”, which was a real crowd pleaser and as the band travelled back in time and fired off an older song. When Englund announced “A Touch of Blessing”, the fans screamed from the top of their lungs and it seemed to be a long awaited song. “My Allied Ocean”, taken from THE STORM WITHIN, continued the night. It felt like the band had was in a hurry during the first part of the show, they felt a bit stressed and Englund didn’t talk much between the songs. Despite that, it was great fun to once again attend a live show. I’m not a fan of live streams at all and think that shows are meant to be experienced live.
“Anyone in the venue that has agoraphobia?”, Englund asked. “Well, in these times I can’t be the only one that has a fear of big crowds!”, he laughed and said the fans were looking amazing this night. “Are you ready to sing a long with us in “I’m Sorry”?”, he asked. Since the song is one of the band’s biggest hits, almost everyone in the club shouted “yes!”. The band did a great version of the cover song, originally by Swedish singer Dilba’s from back in the ’90’s. Englund took on his guitar and it was time for “Leave It All Behind Us” followed by a keyboard intro to the song “Black Undertow”. Notably, the band mostly played songs from the later albums in their career, which I didn’t mind. Of course, I missed a few classic songs but overall it didn’t matter, I was happy only to be attending a live show.
“Isn’t it fun to spill beer on each other and be together again?”, Englund said, “but have in mind that we’re maybe not allowed to do this next week so make sure to value the times we can enjoy live music together”. “Solitude Within” and the epic “The Masterplan” followed, a song taken from the now 20-year-old album IN SEARCH OF TRUTH. Englund said that the band currently is working on their next album which is titled A HEARTLESS PROPHET. It’s in Denmark now and being mixed. Englund said the new album is going to be released early next year so watch out for that one.
“Blinded” set the fans on fire and with that song, the show ended and the band went off stage. The fans of course weren’t satisfied and shouted for encores which made the band shortly return and fire off “Recreation Day”. Englund noticed a friend in the crowd shouting to him and said, “Johan, we played your favorite song “The Masterplan” earlier and what do you do, you’re out smoking! Well, here you have another of your favorite songs in “King of Errors”. That song was the last song out for the night and by now the fans was ecstatic and happy and didn’t want the band to stop playing.
Altogether the show lasted for 85 minutes, I wanted to hear more, but I was satisfied with having attended this amazing night of progressive metal music. It was a brilliant night and it was a relief to finally see a live show again. The band was in great shape and Englund’s voice was as magnificent as ever. The band delivered a solid set list of both older songs as well as more current ones. The second part of the show felt more solid and fun, maybe the guys had to warm up a bit before the party started. If you missed ESCAPE OF THE PHOENIX make sure to run out and buy it, you won’t be sorry. Thanks for a wonderful night Evergrey, you never disappoint me!
Intro – Van Halen “Panama”
When August Mourn
Monday Morning Apocalypse
A Touch of Blessing
My Allied Ocean
I’m Sorry (Dilba cover)
Leave It Behind Us
King of Errors