Until a few weeks ago, the only people in the UK who had heard of Evanescence were likely to be heavy metal fans holding Christian beliefs, music aficionados who keep an eye on the US charts or the handful of people who watched the Daredevil movie and then bought the soundtrack. Now, one of the tracks from that film, Bring Me To Life, is in its third week of sitting at Number 1 in the singles chart, Evanescence’s second album, Fallen, is also Number 1, and everyone wants a piece of this female-fronted, goth-influenced rock group who hail from Bill Clinton’s home town.
Tonight’s predictably sold-out show at The Astoria certainly attracted a motley crew of a crowd, which seemed to encompass all bases from innocent twelve-year old girls to muscle-bound, tattoo-covered headbangers. While this occasionally caused problems, especially when it dawned on the teeny-boppers that metalheads do more than stand still at gigs, in the main, everyone was united by adulation at a strong, if overly short, set by the Arkansas quintet.
Live, Evanescence sound much like they do on record: Linkin Park sung by All About Eve‘s Julianne Regan. Guitarists Ben Moody and John LeCompt, drummer Rocky Gray and the anonymous bassist (he’s not officially part of the band) are a tight unit who rock, roll, jump and, in the bassist’s case, gurn in all the right places. Twenty-one year-old singer, Amy Lee is also a star in the making, with a powerful voice and the confidence to match, exemplified by her telling a moron exactly where to go after he shouted for her to take off her dress.
To Evanescence’s credit, they did not just churn out numbers from Fallen, but instead mixed these up with some of the more gothic-tinged takes from their hard-to-find debut, Origin. The only problem was the set order. An unexpected cover of The Smashing Pumpkins‘ Zero, surely designed for an encore (which never came), was thrown in halfway, while Fallen’s best two tracks – the aforementioned chart-topper and Tourniquet – came and went soon after, leaving the rest of the set to peter out rather than accelerate to a climax.
So, in a live context, Evanescence are almost there but not yet the finished article. Nevertheless, they have an impressive album under their belts and the fact remains that you are unlikely to hear a better number one single all year. It sure as heaven beats novelty songs about hamburgers…