Arriving at the O2 Institute Library there was already a pleasingly a large queue for tonight’s show. Unusual in its design, you enter the venue through a set of doors onto the small balcony, which provided a good view of the already growing crowd at the barrier. It was disappointing that the venue could not get all the queueing fans through the door before Sweden’s We Are The Catalyst took to the stage.
The opening band on such a strong line-up will always have their work cut out, and this is where the upbeat alternative/hard rock sounds of We Are The Catalyst delivered exactly what was needed. In no time at all heads in the still swelling crowd were banging along to the riffs backed by a seriously punchy rhythm section, the cheers becoming more widespread after each song. Frontwoman Cat Fey brought vocals that balanced the act perfectly with bundles of power and energy, yet bringing it down a notch when the song called for it. They have only been on the scene for three years but We Are The Catalyst feel like a band we should be keeping an eye on, they certainly warmed the crowd up tonight!
There were few people in the queue wearing ‘The Gathering’ shirts, a previous band of The Gentle Storm singer Anneke van Giersbergen, but it was from the cheers that erupted as the lights dropped that it became obvious quite what a following they have. Starting their show with the distinctly folk sounding ‘Heart of Amsterdam’ was a great choice with its folk intro and upbeat melodies to get the crowd moving. Joined on stage by Merel Bechtold, the recently announced extra guitarist in Delains line-up, The Gentle Storm were more storm than gentle as they blazed through their forty minute set. With the charismatic Anneke at the helm it was clear that they are a force to be reckoned with, on stage the sound was that of a tight, talented and musically brilliant band. Switching from powerful riffs to gentle harmonies with ease, the show felt as much like a story being told with music as a symphonic metal gig. Having Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion) on stage as second vocalist really added a dimension to the performance as she sang duets with Anneke and also a delightful solo. Many fans of the band were in tonight, but they will surely have won many more based on the crowd response when Anneke said they had time for one more song, and what a way to finish with the high energy ‘Shores of India’. A great set covering their new album, as well as a couple of ‘The Gathering’ tracks, I can see a UK headline tour in their future!
The now capacity crowd was bristling with anticipation, every place where a better view can be achieved is packed, expectations are high and the atmosphere electric as the lights drop for the intro track. As each new band member takes to the stage the screams and cheers go up a level reaching a crescendo as Charlotte Wessels explodes onto the stage for opening song ‘Here Come The Vultures’. The only thing matching the energy and enthusiasm of the band is that of their fans, hanging off every word and note, arms aloft with as the fans bounce along with the music.
Delain are known for spending a lot of time on the road, and their extensive 2015 touring schedule has seen support slots for Nightwish in North and South America, as well as joining Sabaton for their European tour. That many shows means one thing, the band will be a very well-oiled machine, and boy were they on form tonight. Charlottes already commanding stage presence was captivating, each and every person the room surely felt like she was singing lyrics to them personally at some point. The sound engineer needed a firm pat on the back for a job well done as it was crystal clear with great levels across the board. Their 90 minute set managed to fit seventeen blisteringly well executed songs in with a range that spanned all of the Delain back catalogue, including a couple of numbers that were voted in by fans and a (nearly) exclusive a new track. First up and requested ‘a lot’ was ‘Frozen’ from their first album, Lucidity, complete with a killer solo from Timo. Second request what the haunting yet beautiful ‘Silhouette’ which was followed shortly after by a brand new song, ‘Turn The Lights Of’ which fit the sound so perfectly it could easily have been off any of their recent releases.
Something that always improves a live performance is how much the band are enjoying playing, and when all the band members have huge grins and look to be having a blast, they connect better with the fans. This is something Delain have always done well, but tonight the fans were on form, as Charlotte had a hard time even finishing the intro to ‘The Gathering’ amidst the cheers and yells! As the show drew to a close and they started the bands alternative anthem ‘We Are The Others’ it was liker the building itself was shaking as band and crowd were united as one to sing this last special song. The atmosphere absolutely dripping with raw emotion while the band took their final bow, said some heartfelt thanks and reluctantly left the stage to cheers and applause.
Here Come the Vultures
Army of Dolls
Milk and Honey
Control the Storm
Silhouette of a Dancer
Turn the Lights Out
Get the Devil Out of Me
The Tragedy of the Commons
We Are the Others