Live Review: Apocalyptica & Epica & Wheel

Apocalyptica & Epica & Wheel

Rock City, Nottingham 1-2-2023

Wheel must be pinching themselves for landing the support slop for two such prestigious acts. They don’t waste a moment with their sludge driven prog sound hitting you like an angry god hurling boulders at your head. The Fins are well received by an already well populated Rock City who are nicely warmed up on a chilly evening.

With new aptly titled album ‘The Alchemy Project’ getting rave reviews Epica have a lot riding on this co-headline tour. Tonight they are quite sublime with the band demonstrating just why they’ve become such a force live. We all know Simone Simons has a great set of pipes and it’s her soaring vocals cutting through the full twin guitar sound that immediately catch your attention. Pitch perfect and delivered with a warm tone Simons voice is spellbinding. The addition of a more gravelly vox as a counterweight gives the sound more depth. It’s something several acts have experimented with recently and it works well for Epica. Newer material fits in well with old favourites and the set whizzes by way too quickly. As they depart you can’t help thinking that they are sounding good enough now to move up to the next level.

Classical and rock music have been intertwined for some time now. Both parts of the music spectrum, so outwardly different, share so much in common. They are often similar in writing styles and arrangements, and their fans are equally passionate. So when Apocalyptica arrived on the scene with their seminal version of ‘Nothing Else Matters’ they became instant hits. It’s easy to see why that crossover works so well when you see them play to a live audience. Here we have rock stars with cellos. It works, it sounds quite beautiful, and it rocks – all at once. You can almost imagine how classical live performances two or even three hundred years ago might have been, albeit without a PA and leather jackets covered in studs. You can imagine the passion though. Apocalyptica have tapped into something magical. They act as a conduit for timeless music to flow through, and tonight they are quite brilliant. Long may their uniqueness continue.

Review and photos by Gary Trueman