© Claudia Ehrhardt
Photos: Delain - Dec. 2009
Live in Dortmund
Filling up the basement of Rock City nicely, the crowd fit themselves into every gap anticipating tonights headliners. The entertainment begins only minutes after the doors have opened with Isolysis, a local band harnessing their brand of catchy metal. Dealing in big choruses and Bane's exceptional showmanship, they drive the crowd into a frenzy that isn't matched until the later half of the headliner's set. Destined for big things is an overused turn of phrase, but it's especially apt considering Isolysis' dedication to their art and their captivating performance tonight.
After a few technical issues, Achilla make their way to the stage. Having female vocalist, Martamaria at the helm, it'd be easy to compare them to Delain, but the band prove themselves as an entirely different live experience. Dominated by Martamaria's harsher take on the vocal duties, the band find their niche within the female fronted scene and the set tonight, disregarding the orchestral intro, was a few notches heavier than most gothic metal bands would ever expect to find themselves. Opening with Arashi, technical issues provide a series of struggles for the band, particularly plaguing the microphones. However, through newer tracks such as Timeless, the problems seemed to be ironed out and the band leave the stage having given a competent performance.
Delain, on their first headlining tour in the UK, open their set with an extended introduction to Invidia. Thankfully the sound issues cleared in time for the main act, as the riffs cascade around the venue marking the bands debut on Rock City's stage. Charlotte's voice, angelic and note perfect throughout, seems to meet it's match tonight as the crowd greet them warmly, but most notably, loudly. A particularly fine example is during the rendition of latest single Stay Forever, when Charlotte hands the microphone over to the audience after the resounding reciting of the lyrics almost as loud as the vocalist herself. The crowd salvage their excitement at the announcement of many popular songs from the bands catalogue - The Gathering, Silhouette Of A Dancer, Control The Storm and Come Closer all receive booming cheers but none quite match those preceding April Rain. Unsurprisingly, the lead single from the band's latest opus is a well known track in the room and the performance goes down especially well with the Nottingham crowd.
Charlotte, donning a union jack on her cheek, is without a doubt a beautiful woman and the attention seems fixated upon her throughout the show. Not only is she a delight to look at, her flawless vocals and visible excitement renders her a perfect center point for tonights attentions. But it's equally as difficult to ignore the skills of guitarist Ewout and bassist Otto, the latter of whom has taken part in one of his first shows with the band in this very country. Not only do the guys put in a fine performance musically, their audience interaction is also second to none. Mounting the smoke machines embellished beautifully with April Rain artwork , their (occasionally synchronized) head banging and general onstage antics result in an energetic impulse surging through the crowd. The atmosphere at tonight's show is contagious and undoubtedly electric both onstage and within the audience.
Fresh from the more upbeat tracks such as the crowd-pleasing The Gathering and debut single Frozen from their debut album Lucidity as well as a solo rendition of Control The Storm, (previously recorded with Nightwish's Marco Hietala) the band bring the tempo down for one track in the set - Come Closer. A track that doesn't omit the guitars completely, but gives more precedence to Charlotte's divine deliverance accompanied by Martijn's keyboards. Recognition must also be given to newer tracks Nothing Left and Lost that present two of April Rain's finest moments, both on CD and on the live circuit. Finishing their set with Silhouette Of A Dancer (and completing the encore with Pristine), the band give a final nod to their debut LP and host two of it's most enchanting songs that are given a new energy onstage, particularly the former that shines perfectly as a closing performance.
Topped off with an equally enthusiastic crowd, the previously mentioned smoke machine and an unexpected confetti explosion - Delain bring not only exceptional talent and sensational music to our shores, but also an interesting and captivating show that spreads further than music and becomes an exciting spectacle in itself, produced by people who evidently love the music they make and enjoyed by people who love it in return.
I'll Reach You
Control the Storm
Silhouette of a Dancer
Virtue and Vice