Delain @ The Institute, Birmingham

23rd October 2015
Review and Photography by David McKnight

Arriving at the venue you could tell just how popular this show was. The queue wrapped right around the back and it took a long time for everyone to file inside the Institute. Delain are perfectly capable of selling out a venue by themselves but tonight the main support are THE GENTLE STORM. Whilst The Gentle Storm are a fairly recent project they have a strong pedigree with members from some hugely influential bands of the female fronted metal scene  and has, perhaps unintentionally, come to be seen as a bit of a genre supergroup.

The Gentle Storm at Birmingham Institute

Originally starting with a concept album with two versions of each song, a ‘gentle’ one and a ‘storm’ one, The Gentle Storm are now gigging mainly their stormy side.

The Gentle Storm at Birmingham Institute

After some songs from their first album Anneke went back to her roots. Marcella left the stage as the next few were going to be from Anneke’s time in The Gathering. Starting with Elenaor, The Gathering fans , standing behind an enormous fan club banner at the front, loved this. It brought the pacing up and gave more of an opportunity for the instrumentals to shine through combining a pounding drumbeat with the visual of all of the band headbanging on the stage.

The Gentle Storm at Birmingham Institute

It didn’t all go completely smoothly for them – Anneke happily laughted off problems with the backing track claiming that they were all too happy to even try experimenting with their sound on stage.

Marcela came back onstage for a cover of Fallout where she was able to take a more prominent vocal place. . For me at least I found the real attraction of the band were the combined sound of the two vocalists. Ending with The Shores of India we were treated to a long and orchestral intro before giving both Anneke and Marcella a vehicle to really have some vocals to get into and showcase their talents.

The Gentle Storm at Birmingham Institute

Setlist
Heart of Amsterdam
Brightest Light
The Storm
Eléanor
Strange Machines
Fallout
Shores of India

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DELAIN took to the stage to an epic orchestral score which played just long enough for all three guitarists to get onto the stage before they went straight in to Here Come The Vultures. Coming on after The Gentle Storm was going to take some work – though it was one of their slower songs tonight there was still plenty of chance for the audience to get involved and chant back the chorus to the band.

Delain at Birmingham Institute

Frozen, from their first album is a song that they haven’t really played live but it is often requested. One of the slower songs tonight, but with Merel now in the band they have the extra guitar on stage which allows them to do justice to the song.

Delain at Birmingham Institute

With the three guitarists on stage the sound is being layered up and again that comes out in Control The Storm. Sometimes we have all three playing together to bring a detailed soundscape but they all have the chance to showcase their individual playing. It never really feels like anyone is hogging the stage – just moving around, playing to each other on the stage and them moving again. Everyone gets their own solo through the song. It makes Delain seem like a very cohesive and practised live band, even if it is only actually their second gig with this line up.

Delain at Birmingham Institute

Turn The Lights Out hasn’t yet been released as a recording so this was new to most of us. Loosley based on characters from The Sandman – a fact which got a lot of yells of support from the crowd – it is one of Delain’s slower songs and has a ballad feel to it. Charlotte was evidently really feeling the words as she sang with a lot of emotion channeled into the performance. Apart from the very last line. That saw sang in a unexpected falsetto by Timo.

Delain at Birmingham Institute

Get The Devil Out of me signals that we are getting the big crowd pleasers. The audience shouts really do seem to spur on Charlotte who picks up the pace onstage. She keeps it going with The Gathering – once she finally manages to start singing it that is. As she was trying to announce it there was so much energy from the crowd screaming in anticipation that she could barely manage to get the song announced.

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Ending the main set was Not Enough the keyboard opened up the song before everyone builds up into a very intense musical crashendo including the audience clapping along. The Institute was filled with noise!

Delain at Birmingham Institute

With an encore following, Stay forever was another opportunity for Charlotte to demonstrate just how good a singer that she is with a much more technical and impressive vocal section. The inevitable ending was We Are The Others before we moved towards the exit very slowly squeezing past an impromputu meet and greet that The Gentle Storm were having in the foyer.

Setlist
Here Come the Vultures
Army of Dolls
Stardust
Milk and Honey
Sleepwalker’s Dream
Frozen
Control the Storm
Silhouette of a Dancer
Lullaby
Turn the Lights Out
Get the Devil Out of Me
The Gathering
The Tragedy of the Commons
Not Enough
Encore
Mother Machine
Stay Forever
We Are the Others

 

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