Friday night, the 30th of September marked the highly anticipated date of the first and, for now, last time to meet and greet with Delain’s latest work Moonbathers in Holland. They’ll be abroad for a long time, only visiting Holland twice more in the next six or more months. The location was a sold-out LuxorLive Arnhem, an old, but well rebuilt venue in the heart of Arnhem with a great atmosphere.
Before Delain got unleashed though, it was The Charm The Fury’s task to get things going. Their appearance on the bill got me puzzled for a while, in fact it still kind of does. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a more than capable outfit, but they play metalcore, a genre not many Delain fans are likely to appreciate. Personally I have no problem with a good chunk of metalcore at times, so I really didn’t mind them opening for Delain, but I doubt many of tonight’s visitors felt the same. And as if that wasn’t tough enough for them, they also had little room to perform on, because some of Delain’s equipment had previously been set-up on the already small stage. Not even Delain’s flags were fully visible.
Despite all this they gave all they had and I have to say, that’s quite a lot. Music-wise there was little to comment on the five musicians, they play rough, no-nonsense metalcore with Caroline’s impressive throat as eye catcher, or better, ear catcher. Their live performance tonight was good, they know their songs thoroughly and, more importantly, they also know how to get their respective instruments to produce them. Apart from that they also have an eye for the people that are on the other end of the stage, the fans. Caroline was all over the stage, hopping and jumping like there’s no tomorrow. Despite the lukewarm reaction from the crowd, she relentlessly kept on trying to interact and create a pit, for which their music is of course perfect. It did not happen, but some of the band’s tremendous amount of energy did transfer to the audience resulting in a growing number of nodding heads. All in all a solid, to me personally pleasant gig on a too small stage, with an audience that wasn’t ready for their type of music and a bass-sound being a bit out of sync with the rest.
And then why everybody showed up tonight: Delain. To be honest I wasn’t too impressed with their new album Moonbathers which, to me, lacked originality, so I was pretty skeptical before I got there. Of course that opinion didn’t change due to this concert, but man, did they put up a show tonight! The sound was good and all members appeared to be in good form, playing a more than solid gig with loads of energy and intensely enjoying doing that. There were smiles all over, it’s clear Delain is having fun out there. The setlist was a mixture of the old & famous with new work from Moonbathers and right off the bat they kicked it into high gear. Despite the aforementioned relatively small stage you can leave it to Charlotte to get the audience to join the ride, there was immediate contact with the fans and they immediately responded. Despite the fact the new material is not yet well-known by the fans, they joined the fun without hesitation. Among the many songs they played from Moonbathers were a great performance of The Hurricane, the complex but beautiful Pendulum and the instant classic Suckerpunch. If ever they have written a song that can move the masses it must be this. The energetic Fire with Fire was even played twice, because they were shooting material for a video clip. Normally playing the same song twice would be a no-no, but in this case, whether it’s because of the shooting or not, the response of the audience was even better the second time around.
As for the old stuff, the usual suspects Get the Devil Out of Me and The Gathering had a huge contribution to the overall atmosphere, but in all honesty, the biggest contributor to the fantastic atmosphere was Charlotte. Not only does she possess the necessary charisma and ability to entertain a crowd to be a great front woman, her live performance is phenomenal. With a voice that ranges from doll-like sugar sweet to the rasping growls of Chucky’s bride, she leaves everyone in awe. Even grunting appears to be on the menu nowadays. By saying this, however, I really don’t want to derogate the performance of the other five, because really, they all were awesome as well tonight. Who needs fire and choirs when you have Delain? If you think you like Delain’s studio work, wait until you see them live. I strongly suggest you to grab the opportunity when it rises.
Photos by Rijno Boon
Read our review about Moonbathers here.
Read our interview with Martijn Westerholt from Delain here.
Read our interview with Charlotte Wessels from Delain which is about Phantasma, a project she’s also part of, here.