Delain – headline act
Moonbathers EU Tour 2016
Evergrey – special guest
Kobra and the Lotus – support act
17/10 – 2016
Reviewed and live pictures by: Anders Sandvall
Once again Delain runs through Europe on tour, this time supporting their brand new album, MOONBATHERS, which was released in August this year (2016). Band leader and keyboard player Martijn Westerholt recently added a new guitarist in Merel Bechold to the equation. The tour started out in Cologne ,Germany on Oct. 14th and the tour ends about a month later in Cardiff, UK. The only Scandinavian country the band visited this time around was Denmark. The main attraction for me this night was to see the special guests, Evergrey as I haven’t seen the masters of progressive metal live for a while now.WW
With the release of the new album, THE STORM WITHIN, the band has woken up. The album was released in September and includes a guest appearance by Floor Jansen (Nightwish, ex- After Forever, ReVamp). The only remaining original Evergrey member today is guitarist/singer/band leader Tom S Englund. To be honest, I don’t know much about Delain but thought it would be nice to see and hear something I hadn’t experienced before. The doors opened at 7 and the first band was going to go on at 7.30. The borders controls between Sweden and Denmark can take time so it was best to start the trip early in order to be on time. The train was 20 minutes late but I didn’t have to worry because there wasn’t a long line outside the venue when I arrived. Outside the club I met two guys that were there to see and get stuff signed by Delain; they had a bunch of stuff with them and were surprised when I told them I was primarily there to see Evergrey. Both Delain and Evergrey came out and we got everything signed by the members who were all very kind.
With about 30 minutes left before the doors opened, fans started to arrive. Since the club doesn’t allow you to bring your jackets or bags inside, you had to leave them in the wardrobe which cost extra. The venue consists of two floors with a smaller stage on the first floor and a bigger one upstairs. When I got in, I first took a look at the merchandise stand on the bottom floor and there was a lot of stuff for sale. However, the merch girl for Delain hadn’t put everything up and also hadn’t posted the price in Danish currency. After about 10-15 minutes, the stairs to the upper floor opened. Since there were no photo pit, I rushed to the stage in order to get at the front.
The first band out was Kobra and the Lotus, which is a Canadian band led by singer Kobra Paige. The band was formed in 2009 and released their debut, OUT OF THE PIT, in 2010. Their latest release is HIGH PRIESTESS which came out in 2014. The band recently completed a fan pledge campaign and recorded the double album PREVAIL 1 and PREVAIL 2 with producer/legend Jacob Hansen; it’s going to be released by Napalm Records next year. The first single from the album, “TriggerPulse”, was released during this tour. Kobra Paige was a part of the Metal All Stars Tour in 2014 and has made guest appearances with Kamelot.
There was nothing on stage but gear and back drop waiting for the band and shortly after the clock turned 7.30 it was time to kick off the night.
Kobra And the Lotus
The members came out from both sides of the stage and faced the fans who gave the band a warm welcome. The band played one song after which Paige said “We’re having a party here tonight”, and fired off “Iron Horse”. She thanked the fans and said “We are Kobra and the Lotus and we have traveled far to be here tonight, we have traveled all the way from Canada to come and play for you”. The audience felt a bit reluctant but that didn’t stop the band. Paige used the space on the stage to move around and she had help from the other three guys at the front to connect with the fans. Kobra and the Lotus are:
Kobra Paige – lead vocals
Jasio Kulakowski – guitar
Brad Kennedy – bass
Lord Marcus Lee – drums
Shred Sean – guitar
While Paige went off the stage Kulakowski did a guitar solo after which she returned wearing a hat. I hadn’t heard the band before but have to say that their heavy metal worked pretty well for me. For once it’s nice to see a band fronted by a woman. I don’t care how anyone looks, that goes for both male and female, I only care about how they use their voice, and Paige could really sing. She said the band are about to release their next album and that it was time to play the first single out from it as “TriggerPulse” followed. The lights worked well, particularly in the middle where Paige was standing. Paige said she wanted to hear the crowd scream on her command as it was time for the last song for the night. “50 Shades of Hell” ended the 30 minute show as Paige thanked the crowd for being there to listen to the band.
What was my lasting impression of the show? Well, it was OK but nothing more. It’s hard to judge something you haven’t heard before; the songs were maybe not my cup of tea but at least Paige knew how to sing.
The stage was re-rigged and the crew brought in Evergrey’s stuff. A new backdrop was hung as more fans arrived. This show was one of the most anticipated ones for me this fall and I couldn’t wait to hear the sweet notes of Evergrey’s music live again. It started to get a bit crowded at the front of the stage as many that came late forced their way in front of the stage. The crew worked pretty hard and at 8.20 it was time for Evergrey to do their thing.
“Passing Through” and “The Fire” started the show, songs taken from the 2014 album HYMNS FOR THE BROKEN. The audience were more fired up now and clapped their hands. Englund said that it was nice to be in Copenhagen and that the band comes from Sweden as the night continued with the amazing “Leave It Behind Us”, taken from 2011’s GLORIOUS COLLISION. It was a nightmare to take pics of the show because the poor lighting left parts of the members stand in darkness. Evergrey is:
Tom S Englund – lead vocals, guitar
Henrik Danhage – guitar
Rikard Zander – keyboards
Jonas Ekdahl – drums
John Niemann – bass
Englund stood in the middle with Ekdahl to the left and Niemann and Danhage to the right so it was pretty crowded on stage. The only ones with space to move around were Englund and Danhage. While Englund took a sip of water, Zander fired off a keyboard intro that turned into “Black Undertow”. There was some malfunction with the sound, especially during Zander’s solo. Danhage was really high up in the mix, which made the sound feel a lot more metal than it used to, and it didn’t get better as the show proceeded.
It felt like the sound technician was on vacation! Englund changed to speaking in English when he said the next song was their new single and video soon was about to be released, the song done with Floor Jansen. “In Orbit” is the name of the song and it seemed like the crowd enjoyed it a lot. Englund is a brilliant singer and he really had the crowd in the palm of his hand from the start. The rest of the members are all highly skilled musicians that know how to deliver strong stuff. Danhage’s troubling guitar made the musical experience fall a bit which was bad when the rest of the show was so great. Englund asked if the crowd was hot because he sure was and said it was time for an older song in “Broken Wings”. That song made everyone wake up, as the audience screamed and sang along with Englund.
Danhage did a short lead guitar part on his own with all of the members on stage. The only one that went away was Englund who drank some water beside the stage then he came back as the band kicked off the excellent “A Touch of Blessing”. I know they were special guests and had a limited amount of time to play but I wished to hear and see a lot more from the guys. That song is a personal favorite of mine, taken from the highly acclaimed THE INNER CIRCLE which is also one of my all time high favorites. The album doesn’t contain a single bad song! It was not really crowded in front of the stage when Englund once again urged the crowd to clap their hands to the final song, “King of Errors”.
The too short show lasted for 45 minutes and definitely left me longing for more. I wish Evergrey headlined the show. The only things that dragged it down a bit were the poor lighting and the problems with Danhage’s guitar. Otherwise was this a perfect show that contained many personal favorite songs. I really hope the band lands a headline tour shortly because I want to see and hear more from Evergrey!
Leave It Behind Us
A Touch Of Blessing
King Of Errors
Once again it was time for a change of gear and now it was time for the crew to prepare the stage for Delain. I know the band by name but that’s about it as it’s hard to keep track of every band out there. To judge by the great interest from the people there, Delain was pretty popular amongst the Danes as the band attracted all kinds of people to the venue. I could also hear a lot of the fans there were Swedish, probably because the band wasn’t playing in Sweden this time around. The band was formed in 2002 by Martijn Westerholt (ex-Within Temptation) and Charlotte Wessels. The band’s name comes from the Stephen King novel, The Eyes Of The Dragon, where there is a kingdom named Delain. It all started out as a project with several guests appearing. The debut album, LUCIDITY, was released back in 2006 with new album MOONBATHERS being the band’s fifth. The band also recently re-released the debut album in a re-mastered version called LUCIDITY – 10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION which includes appearances by Marco Hietala (Nightwish), Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation) and Liv Kristine (ex- Leaves Eyes) amongst others.
The stage was set with the band’s big backdrop, two podiums to the left and one to the right where drums and keyboards were placed with a set of stairs between them. On each side of the stage two big boxes were placed and in the middle a custom made mic stand that said “Delain” was placed. The people that came late made their way to the front of the stage; one thing I can’t stand is people that shove their way to the front and block out those that have standing there the entire night out. At 9.35 an intro played and the stage lit up.
As soon as the fans saw the stage light up they screamed at the top of their lungs and sang along with the band in the first song, “Hands of Gold”. “Suckerpunch” followed as Wessels worked hard to get the crowd going. It was effortless because she had the fans in the palm of her hand from the very start. Her mic stand glowed in the dark in several colors and it looked really cool. The line-up in the band is:
Charlotte Wessels – lead vocals
Martijn Westerholt – keyboards
Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije – bass
Timo Somers – guitar
Raben Israel – drums
Merel Bechtold – guitar
Wessels thanked the fans for coming and said it was the first time the band performed in Denmark and Copenhagen. “Do you want to hear more?”, she asked and fired off “The Glory and the Scum”. All three at the front changed sides with each other during the show and they really kept the fans involved throughout the night. Wessels had the fans clap their hands in “Get the Devil out of Me”; she’s both a brilliant singer as well as front woman. Smoke came out from the boxes on the side of the stage and it looked really cool with the smoke combined with Wessels’ glowing mic stand. “Army of Dolls” continued the show and a fan I met earlier told me he bought meet and greet passes with the band which included having two songs performed unplugged, but it was cancelled because Wessel had a sore throat and wanted to save her voice for the main show. He was a bit bummed on the band because of that but also understood that she wanted to save her voice.
Wessels said that the band recently released a brand new album and it was time to play a song from it in “The Hurricane”. The band plays a light version of symphonic metal and live it lacked a lot of the orchestration included on the albums. Wessels faced the fans’ screams when she announced “Here Comes the Vultures” and it was fun to see how loved the band were. Wessels had the fans scream at her command and the partially reluctant crowd from earlier in the night began to loosen up the longer the show proceeded. As she introduced “Fire With Fire” she asked if the audience was on fire. Right away “Dance Macabre” followed; the song is a new one taken from MOONBATHERS. During the song a roadie came in and erased something on the set list (it was the song “Turn the Lights Out”). “Sleepwalker’s Dream” followed and even though the fans sang along it didn’t get rowdy and hectic. Instead it was quite a peaceful crowd that watched the band. Even though I hadn’t heard the band before, I thought the musicians were skilled and the music was actually OK. Wessels’ voice was perfect for the music and she had the audience on her side. Overall, the band seemed to be really pleased with all the great support they received. “Stay Forever” from the APRIL RAIN album continued the show. The older songs worked a little better when compared to the more current ones. It was in between those two songs the band was originally going to play “Turn the Lights Out”. While she sang the song, Wessels walked up the stairs to Westerholt and sang the song standing beside him. Now was it time for the band to play a song taken from the debut album and Wessels smiled when she saw the response from the fans on “The Gathering”. Somers helped Wessels out with the vocals and the smoke machines fired smoke up at the roof. Wessels thanked the fans and said the band really appreciated everyone who had made their way to see Delain tonight. “Pristine” was the final song out on the ordinary set and Wessels once again had the fans clap their hands and scream at her command.
When the band thanked the fans and left the stage, 65 minutes had passed but the fans weren’t ready to go home yet. They shouted for encores. The first member back up on stage was drummer Israel. The back drop had now changed into another one and when the rest of the members came out again the first encore was “Mother Machine”. Wessels said it was really hot on stage, took a sip of water and said she wanted the fans to be tired after the show from having screamed and clapped their hands all night. She urged everyone to do a little extra cheering in “Don’t Let Go”. “We are the Others” followed and the fans, as well as the band, jumped up and down. The song is the title track to their 2012 album and ended the show. It all ended with a huge splash of confetti and the band thanked the fans, took off their instruments and left the stage.
Delain treated the fans to well played light symphonic metal, highlighted by a very skilled Wessels on vocals. Even though she was a bit ill she did a great job and really owned the show. The music was a little bit too soft for my taste but the fans seemed to be satisfied and I heard many saying they were really happy with the night. For me it was Evergrey that was the true headliner tonight and I would love to hear and see more of the guys in the future. If you want to see more of Delain live, check out the co-headline tour the band is about to head out on in the US during April/May 2017 with Hammerfall. Delain is also going to perform in Finland at the John Smith Rock festival next year. Evergrey is heading out on tour in America next year and if you haven’t bought THE STORM WITHIN make sure to do so.
The Monarch (intro)
Hands Of Gold
The Glory And The Scum
Get The Devil Out Of Me
Army Of Dolls
Here Comes The Vultures
Fire With Fire
Don’t Let Go
We Are The Others
The Monarch (outro)
Thanks to Timo Hoffmann at AFM Records HQ in Germany for help with press/photo-pass to the show.