The Dutch symphonic metal band Epica wound down their North American Principle Tour at State Theater in St Petersburg, FL on November 28, 2016. The crowd was a mix of very young (I stood next to a girl I’m pretty sure was still in single digits) and very seasoned (we can go ahead and put me in that category), and was as diverse as Epica’s tour support.
Canadian metalcore band The Agonist opened the The North American Principle show (and the single-digit girl was whisked off the floor by her father). A few circle pits formed here and there, but it appeared people were more interested in singing every word and keeping their eyes glued to lead vocalist Vicky Psarakis. This tiny vocal storm carries clean and shred vocals with bad-ass ferocity, and she’s truly fascinating to watch.
Russian pagan metal band Arkona took the stage next, bringing with them an arsenal of Russian folk instruments to compliment the death growls of tiny warrior “Masha “Scream” (Maria Arkhipova). This unique band draws inspiration from Russian folklore while the crowd draws inspiration from their intensity. Following in their wake was Italian death metal band Fleshgod Apocalypse. Operatic backing vocalist Veronica Bordacchini glides onto the stage, followed by the rest of the band, all in theatrical costumes and makeup. Far from gimmicky, this band is a masters class in trained musicians gone Wild. Bordacchini weaves soaring soprano tones around Tommasi Riccard’s growl vocals. This is a stunning live production, and yes, I bought the hoodie.
After a too-brief tour of Canada, Russia, and Italy, the Netherlands claimed the spotlight and Epica embarked on a 15-song journey, including one begged-for encore that reduced fans to puddles of adoration. The band displays great interaction with each other and their fans, and vocalist Simone Simmons leads them with grace and glory. Her voice is sincerely one of the purest ones I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing live.
Epica is back out on tour, but done in the U.S. for now. Follow them on their website and definitely catch them when they’re near you. In fact, all the acts in this well-selected lineup are worth a listen/see live. This was easily one of my favorite tours of 2016.