Apocalyptica 'seek and destroy' sceptics with 'master' set
It was great to see a line outside Max Watts in Brisbane so early on a Sunday evening for what would surely be one of the most unique metal shows of the year.
I had made a special effort to get their early because when you are talking about Apocalyptica you know the support acts are going to be just as dynamic and unique.
The audience was as interesting as the bands themselves.
The fashion was a mix of Hellyeah, Nine Inch Nails, and Megadeth shirts, floral picnic dresses, heavy punk jackets or nightclub shiny silver tops - you could not pick this audience a mile away.
One can only assume that the audience's musical tastes were as diverse as their fashion and each had come to the gig for a different reason.
Awaken Solace were the first band to hit the stage and what an amazing way to start the set.
The lights went black and a solo blue light cascaded over keyboardist Robert Russell, while drummer Rodrigo Prazeres built tension with a slow rumble on the drums.
And then both bass player and guitarist emerged to add to the building sound.
It was a great intro but the Brisbane symphonic metal outfit made sure that rest of the show was just as good.
Perhaps a little shy at first, the band quickly found their groove and it was lovely to see the smiles emerge as they began to enjoy themselves.
Elspeth Johnson deserves special mention for her speedy solos and licks and the way she was able to lock in with Robert on the keytar.
Maree Nipperess was pitch perfect on vocals, while Rodrigo gave a great performance on drums with his syncopated timings and dramatic facials gestures.
We Lost The Sea had some very interesting merch including dynamic A2 posters and I was curious to see if their performance was just as unique and arty.
In stark contrast to Awaken Solace their start was as low key as one could get.
In fact some of the audience thought the band members were roadies.
It was refreshing, slow and gentle.
Bathed in red light their opening number was meditative slow burn.
It was interesting to watch the band slowly disconnect from any nerves and move into a trance like state.
By the second song the three guitars, bass, keyboard and drums were locked in to create cascading symphonic guitar sound that had multiple harmonies.
It didn't surprise me that the bass player had a Cult of Luna shirt as the heavy interludes in the soulful arching guitar lines could easily have lent themselves to death vocals.
The audience was enraptured and enthralled, standing still and memorised, softly bathed in the red light themselves.
It was a unique shared moment and the band showed a quiet confidence which resonated a genuine love and interest in their particular genre of music.
The audience could not have showered more praise with wolf whistles and clapping after each symphonic ballad.
Self-described as a progressive post-rock band they have managed to create an 'Alice in Wonderland' journey as they took our hand on a guided journey through their set.
Apocalyptica took the stage next after a speedy stage change and from the very first note til the very last they did not miss a beat.
The Finnish cello metal group did not disappoint and fans reactions were equally diverse with fans shedding tears of joy, head banging, standing quiet reservation and contemplation, or just showing intense concentration.
One thing was for sure - the expert showmanship of the group had the crowd clapping, chanting and singing whether it was to the originals or Master of Puppets and Seek and Destroy Metallica covers.
Each group member played a vital part in the dynamic, invigorating show including drummer Mikko Sirén who seemed to know exactly when to explode from behind the kit signalling to the crowd to clap.
The lighting was phenomenally vibrant, and the way it was synced into the performance added enormously atmosphere to the evening.
When Franky Perez emerged after the blistering 'Grace', the crowd are well and truly sucked in.
'I'm Not Jesus', was originally sung by Corey Taylor.
Franky Perez must be commended for hitting everything song with a 100% and not missing a beat or note.
The set list covered 'House of Chains', 'Shadowmaker', 'Bittersweat', 'In the Hall of The Mountain King' and many more.
The band just seem to get more amazing and tighter with every song.
Perttu Kivilaakso was astounding as he replicated and played solo as the 'lead' cellist and it was phenomenal to watch while the other two battled it out on the 'rhythm' work.
The really unique thing about this gig was the way it could drop from the heaviest Metalllica song into a soothing orchestral piece whose beauty, subtlety and soothing tones were transcended in scope.
By the time the encore hits the audience was well and truly blissed out.
They came back on stage in the dark to chants of one more song, and as Riot Lights opened up, the audience was bathed in light.
The sound, the light and the audience all exploding at once.
It was a great encore.
Not a single punter was left unmoved.