Apocalyptica & Vamps @ Academy 1
So one night removed from Zebrahead and I was completely knackered. So why not go see some classical metal with Apocalyptica. To be honest I had never seen them and I’m much of a fan even considering that I love symphonic and power metal. I like the odd song from them and I like their Metallica covers but I’ve never liked them much as a collective. However, I thought why not. They were also nice enough to bring Japanese rockers VAMPS. Wow, after Man With A Mission last night supporting Zebrahead, it’s been a good weekend for me and Japanese rock music.
The Japanese rockers hit the stage with all the fire and intensity that you’d usually expect from this kind of electro-rock music. Lead singer Hyde was just an enigma constantly moving and just generally being an energetic frontman. I have to say I was really getting into all of there songs with a smooth flowing setlist and well executed songs. Everything came across well done and every song was received by a chorus of screaming fangirls for the band. Their cover of Motley Crue’s Live Wire was well done but after hearing it performed by Motley Crue only a few weeks ago, it sort of fell flat for me personally. They were so much better than Apocalyptica in my opinion, more energetic, more fun and their songs were just better performed. I guess my soft spot for Japanese electro-rock is bigger than my appreciation for european symphonic metal. Funny how that works.
On came those Finnish men with cellos and again met with screaming fan girls I was being accompanied by two of them on the night as well. I have to say they, played a fantastic set with a lot of beautifully executed songs. Well, I have to address the problem with this set. The vocalist the have to perform some of the songs of the set was not great, a couple of performances were ok, for the most part though I couldn't get into it. His vocals just didn't really fit with Apocalyptica. When you consider all of the great vocalists they’ve had on their albums over the years and then you compare this performance to them, it just didn’t quite satisfy. As they continued through their set, their songs just got tighter and the crowd became more alive. With powerhouse hits such as I’m Not Jesus, House of Chains and new single Shadowmaker the intensity just kept building and the fangirls kept right on gushing. The amazing skill intertwined well with their smooth personalities and captivating crowd interaction, I even think some of the guys were beginning to blush.
The crowds singing was almost deafening coming toward the end of the set, with covers of Vamps Sin In Justice, which was performed with Vamps, Metallica’s Seek and Destroy and the British national anthem which I thought was pretty funny. The lights dimmed again and when they came back the roar of the crowd was amazing as they ominous hum of the cellos echoed into Metallica’s One. I have to admit this is an absolutely gorgeous version of the song and really shows how technically capable this band is. The band then burst into the mega-hit I Don’t Care which was a fantastic performance of the song. Even the singer, who I’d not been a fan of through the night did a good job with this tune. Overall, this was a great performance, admittedly I enjoyed Vamps more but ultimately the whole night was enjoyable.
Words: Mick Birchall | Photos: Laura Piggford