Review: Leaves Eyes – Glasgow 8/11/15
Welcome to Glasgow, the centre of Symphonic metal for tonight.
Some may say Rock is dead but from my point of view you could not be further from the truth. Glasgow is host to more than six headline bands this week and I am talking the likes of Megadeth, Skindred and Epica so no little bar bands. Even tonight there is another huge show on in the Barrowland Ballroom in this city but it has no bearing on the number of people here tonight. If this show was not sold out it was as close as dammit to it.
This alone goes to show you the strength and depth this music we love so much has. If you like a band you go see them live, and that is the end of the debate. This is no Rap/R&B culture. If you fall in love with this music, it is with you for life. Trust me I know, I am no teenager.
A huge chunk of this has to go to the bands tonight. I do not know what the little sprinkling of magic that is peppered over the Symphonic Metal Genre is, but it is very powerful, very special, just like Leaves Eyes themselves, but before we get to the headliners, there were two support bands tonight.
The first band up tonight were The Fall Of Eve and before I go onto their set I really need to take my hat off to the guys at Audio. Nearly every gig they put on they will have a local support. This is brilliant in itself, but the fact that The Fall Of Eve are a symphonic metal band, fronted by a woman, goes to show the amount of thought and time they put in. This may often get missed, but not by me. Thank you guys for giving a shit and looking after your own.
The lead singer, Evangeline, takes to the stage with top hat and cane. I am very interested now, having never heard them before. My anticipation dips slightly as there are some issues with the laptop, and even knowing what song is first (guys, you may have heard of the old Set List thing…it has proven to be very successful over the years) so here was me thinking here we go… going to be mince (Scottish translation…not very good) until the first song kicked in and Evangaline opened her mouth.
I was a bit gobsmacked, to say the least. The chirpy Glasgow dialect was gone, and what was left was a beautiful and pitch-perfect voice. I was definitely taking note now, as were the ever-growing crowd, never mind the 6.30pm doors opening. After my shock had died down I was totally transfixed. The band were excellent, the songs were solid, and brilliantly structured. True, between the songs we had the “Oh jeez, what song is next?” moments, but the lady had enough wit and gift of the gab to get around that. These guys could have something seriously good going on here.
If you want to check for yourself, watch the video for “Destiny” (tonight’s set closer). A brilliant song, video, setting, and band. Check them out HERE.
Knowing the next two bands, I thought my shocks were done for the evening but no, as “Diabulus In Musica” take to the stage, I take note of a heavily pregnant Zuberoa Aznárez and wonder how it would affect her performance on stage.
I needn’t have worried, as there was no part of the show that was impeded, and I have to say I have never seen a pregnant woman headbang… until tonight.
The band had a good many supporters of their own tonight, but by the end of the show this Spanish band had won over the whole crowd. They were on fire. From the playback intro of “Et Resurrexit” to the farewell of ‘Horizons’ (again on recording) they were one pounding, symphonic bundle of joy and excitement.
It was the band’s first ever visit to Scotland, and they could not hide how excited they were, especially Gorka Elso, the bands Keyboard player. He was already wound up and jumping about like a kid on a blue Smarties diet, but he kept telling us how lovely our country was and what a great reception they had received… and all the band have seen is rain.
But this was repaid in kind by the crowd who lapped them up. The crowd was heaving by this time, the sweat was running, the beers were flowing, and the devil horns were on display en masse. The band killed the set tonight. Everything you expect from a band of this genre, precision, clarity, composition and good vocals. In fact, I would go as far to say Zuberoa’s vocals sounded softer than on record.
I was delighted to be present for this band’s first Glasgow show, I know it will not be my last and if you get the chance do not, I repeat DO NOT miss them.
Et Reserrexit(Libera Me)
Lies In Your Eyes
Sceneries Of Hope
To be fair, with the quality on show tonight, I would have been happy if it finished here, but the sweet and juicy cherry on the top that is Leaves Eyes is still to come. How anyone in their right mind would not want to go see live bands is beyond me. Who are these people whose lives revolve around the crap that is ‘X Factor’ or ‘Britain’s Got Talent’? I just cannot fathom how people watch that nonsense. We have a whole generation being brought up who think queuing up for hours and singing for 3 minutes is the route to fame and fortune.
To succeed in the music business today, you need to tour constantly, build up that fan base and take nothing for granted. Leaves Eyes are completely focused and aware of how these things work. After speaking to Liv earlier in the day (keep your eyes peeled for the interview), I can confirm not only is she lovely, humble and extremely talented, but she is 100% focused on this band and what she wants for it.
This may not have been the biggest stage the band has played (I reckon that is a huge understatement), but as the band take took to the stage you couldn’t tell. The venue is packed, and the crowd are full of anticipation. There are no airs and graces here. The band sees fans, friends, and hopefully, constant companions, for this journey they are on. A journey that follows in Liv’s forefathers, and I felt as if I was accepting the Viking hordes completely differently than I expect my forefathers did. It is often said that a Scottish crowd is a tough one to win over, but I am sure Leaves Eyes found it a lot easier to sneak into the country than those original Longboat hordes.
The blood of both nations are probably very similar now, and the love of all things Norse draws strong (One of my dogs is even called Odin….all hail the all father!!). This could explain a lot about the popularity of this band, and the fact that this packed venue is completely at the mercy of the band.
The set tonight is about 80% from the new ‘King Of Kings’ album. This alone could be classed as a huge risk, as the album has only been out since September. This lets you know how proud the band are of this offering. Liv even confirmed it was nearly going to be played in full on this tour and not one person present tonight would have complained.
It is a complex album that was written as one story in 12 chapters, and for me it is probably the best symphonic metal album in at least 5 years. It must be difficult to split them up and leave some tracks out, no matter how good your back catalogue is. I suspect the biggest risk for the band would be having an audience that may not know every word or every chord change. As I said, it is a very complex album and even the most avid fans are not going to have everything tied down in just two months, although looking around tonight there were a fair few who tried.
What I can say is that the new songs worked, and worked well. In fact, I kind of wish the whole album had been played, but Liv hinted that this may be on the cards in future. What stands out for me with this band is the way they fit together. It is obvious everything is built around the front woman, but not in any weakened way. All too often you can see one band member overpower another onstage and off but not here. Everything is a compliment to everything else.
The biggest compliment you can view on that stage is the moment Alex walks out and completely owns it. This husband and wife team may be complete opposites, but it works without fault. The gentle set against the brutal, the soft against the hard, the angelic against the evil. Alex is how you would imagine a Viking coming at you, all the hair, the beard, the size and the ferocity. He stands proud and lofty above the crowd and commands your attention. I think the crowd actually took a step back as he forced himself onto the riser at the edge of the stage… we had all been lulled into false sense of security and docility with the operatic tones from Liv and then we get bashed over the heads with this… and as soon as he came, he disappears off stage like a great warrior who has just won a battle and now needs a drink.
I can say no more than what a show Leaves Eyes pulled out tonight, you just need to look at the photos and the evidence of the sweat covered audience. The band could have offered a guarantee tonight, a no enjoyment, full moneyback guarantee and there would have been not one request to cash this in.
First impressions do matter, regardless of what anyone says and tonight Leaves Eyes laid down a gauntlet to anyone who thinks they can lay waste to them and their ever increasing kingdom. Scotland has been conquered, and we await your return from the mother land brave warriors and shield maiden.
Review and Images: Ritchie Birnie