Hinder stopped at The Park in Minneapolis Minnesota on a cold January Tuesday
evening. Hinder was touring in support of their latest album “ When The Smoke Clears”.
The Park was sold out and packed with screaming fans. “ When The Smoke Clears” is the first Hinder album with new vocalist Marshal Dutton. Marshal came out on stage and ROCKED the crowd.
Marshal is a high energy and very passionate performer. Hinder hasn’t lost a step at all with the departure of Austin Winkler. Hinder came out and played a fifteen song setlist. Starting the show with “Use Me” and ending with a powerful “Get Stoned”. Hinder played songs from their last five albums.
Extreme Behavior, All American Nightmare, When the Smoke Clears, Take It to the
Limit, Welcome to the Freakshow. As a Hinder fan for years I was absolutely thrilled to see Hinder come out and blow away the crowd with new and past music. The concert was just out of the world !!!
On January 22, 2016, the band formerly know as “Sahara Dust” were finally able to make their long awaited appearance at the Opera House in Toronto, Ontario. Sahara Dust? “Who is this band”, you may ask? Give up? Why, it’s the band we now know and love by the name of Epica of course! Through business tragedy and scheduling conflicts of all kinds, the symphonic powerhouse kept true to their word and made the highly anticipated appearance to a sold out crowd in Toronto.
Another event was sold out this nice. The special and very limited pre-show meet and greet packages where fans had an opportunity to spend an hour with Epica before the show. During this time, fans were treated to talking to the entire band, an autograph session, a slew of exclusive goodies, and a band photo op to mark this occasion. One fan, so overtaken with excitement and anticipation at meeting one the premier vocalists of the genre, Simone Simons, broke down in tears of joy. These tears quickly turned to all smiles, as it became her turn to meet the band. Not only was the band accommodating and beyond cordial, but showed true appreciation for fans stories and personal interaction during this rare and intimate time. Once this special session ended, fans were allowed to remain in the venue allowing them choice seating options and vantage points for the show.
Starkill and the dark metal legends of Portugal, Moonspell opened the night as support on the North American Enigma Tour. This tour by Epica was in support of their sixth full-length album, “The Quantum Enigma” marking nearly twelve successful years, which was displayed in the fourteen songs set list. Going back to the freshman release, “The Phantom Agony”, fans witnessed one of Simone Simons most enthralling vocal performances in the now gothic classic “Sensorium”. Just so happens this was the song that caught this writer’s attention many years ago making a life long fan? Mixed throughout the set, fans were given a heavy dosage of the new album, “The Quantum Enigma” in the form of five tracks consisting of “The Second Stone”, The Essence of Silence”, “Victims of Contingency”, “Unchain Utopia”, and the instrumental signal to fans at the beginning of a show, “Originem”.
A point of interest was the eclectic nature of the fans. Dress attire ranged from classy eveningwear to the traditional T-Shirt and jeans. This alone demonstrates the wide range of ages and overall appeal the band has to all. Even more impressive was how the different age groups could be brought together in such perfect harmony by the siren songs of Simone crashing fluidly with the hard percussions of Arien Van Weesenbeeks drums. The classical vocal style mixed perfectly with the modern strings section consisting of founder Mark Jansen, Isaac Delahyae, and Rob Van Der Loo on guitars. Holding the “keys” together for Epica in this heavy metal opera was none other than Coen Janssen on synthesizer and keyboards.
“Heavy Metal Opera” is the only way to describe this band. Remove the classical vocals and insert your more traditional “death screams” would work, but at the expense of the truly unique sound and talent that makes Epica a sell out performance on a regular basis as exhibited this night. So attend in your evenings finest, T-shirt and jeans, or something a little darker for the wonder that has escalated Epica onto the international stage and on the North American Enigma Tour.