The Gentle Storm
@ The Garage, London
23rd of April 2015
Review & photos by Graham Hilling
It’s a fine night to meet my mate Mark from Lincoln, who I haven’t seen for ages, and to visit the Garage to see some impressive metal fayre in the guise of Stream of Passion and The Gentle Storm.
Stream of Passion share some strong links with The Gentle Storm, vocalist Marcela Bovio and bassist Johan van Stratum working in both bands and Arjen Lucassen (The Gentle Storm main man) being the original founding member of Stream of Passion. This obviously makes touring a little bit easier too!
By the time they take to the stage, there is already a good crowd in the Garage and they are warmly welcomed. For those who are not familiar with Stream of Passion, they are a Dutch band, playing a blend of quite heavy music with lighter melodic interludes and a nod to the symphonic side of metal.
The vocals of Marcela Bovio complete this perfectly – her vocal range is truly impressive. As expected the set contains a lot of songs from their current, self released, album “A War of Our Own” and a good job too – it’s an excellent album.
We’re also treated to a Radiohead cover – “Street Spirit”, quite different from the original and this illustrates quite clearly how imaginative this band can be.
Guitarist Eric Hazebroek shouts to the crowd to “make more noise!!” several times throughout the set. He’s actually loud enough to be heard without the aid of a microphone!
This characterises their performance tonight, solid and committed. The end of the set takes us back in time to “In The End” from the 2009 album “The Flame Within” and closer “Haunted” from the debut album from 2005 – “Embrace the Storm”.
This takes us full circle and puts the now almost full venue in the correct mood for main event of the evening.
Stream of Passion Setlist:
A War of Our Own
Don’t Let Go
Street Spirit (Fade Out)
In the End
The Gentle Storm is a collaboration between the aforementioned Arjen Lucassen on composing and arrangement duties and Anneke van Giersbergen on vocals and lyrics.
The two have previously worked together on various projects but strangely, Lucassen appears to be reticent about touring and indeed, this evening, is missing from the live performing band.
No matter though, the musicians assembled tonight have some fine credentials of their own – Merel Bechtold (MaYaN, Delain) on guitar, Ed Warby (Hail of Bullets, Ayreon) on drums, Joost van den Broek (After Forever) on keys and Johan van Stratum and Marcela Bovio who we have just seen performing with Stream of Passion.
The debut album “The Diary” was only released in March 2015 and was a bit of a concept album in that it was a 2 CD affair, with each CD containg the same songs, one set recorded in a symphonic metal style (the Storm part) and one recorded in a folky acoustic manner (the Gentle part).
While it sounds a little strange, it actually works very well. I wasn’t sure how this would be performed live but they did manage it!
The set started off in full Storm mode, Anneke van Giersbergen looking overjoyed to be on the stage playing to a full, appreciative crowd. Indeed, she retains this throughout the evening, only looking less “smiley” when the music dictated a more serious air.
In fact the whole band look pretty happy to be on stage tonight. Anneke van Giersbergen has an amazingly pure voice, while Marcela Bovio has amazing range it is not quite as smooth as that of van Giersbergen. With the two of them singing together (Bovio on backing vocals) you have an impressive combination.
The band rattle through a handful of songs from “The Diary” and even manage to include a The Gathering song, “Eléanor” for good measure. All delivered in very impressive Storm style with the band not putting a foot wrong.
They then all leave the stage for a short musical interlude and costume change before van Giersbergen returns to the stage, just herself and an acoustic guitar. Evidently, time for the Gentle renditions!
This starts with a cover of Pink Floyds “Wish You Were Here” that see’s everyone singing along and an emotional performance from van Giersbergen – sets the scene perfectly for three more Gentle songs – “The Moment”, “Valley of the Queens” and “Comatose” (the latter two being Ayreon numbers). “The Moment” is particularly well delivered with a real standout performance on the vocals. Really impressive, and beautifully delivered.
Another short break and we’re back into Storm mode for the final part of the show. A mix of some more songs from “The Diary” are blended seamlessly with various other Arjen Lucassen projects band compositions from The Gathering and Ayreon. “Strange Machines” rolls into “Isis and Osiris” and the show is over.
Just time for a brief encore of Devins “Fallout” and closer “Shores of India”. A very impressive performance and a fine night shared with great company – not much to complain about this evening ‘cept perhaps it would have been nice to have heard some more of the Gentle side of “The Diary”. No worries though, there’s always next time!
The Gentle Storm Setlist:
Heart of Amsterdam
Eléanor (The Gathering cover)
Acoustic / Gentle Versions
Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd cover) (Anneke Van Giersbergen solo)
Valley of the Queens (Ayreon cover)
Comatose (Ayreon cover)
Cape of Storms
The Greatest Love
Waking Dreams (Ayreon cover)
Strange Machines (The Gathering cover)
Isis and Osiris (Ayreon cover)
Fallout (Devin Townsend Project cover)
Shores of India