A nice, varied triple-bill this with Delain doing the headlining duties after their recent support slot with Within Temptation. Only three dates and they sold out fast. This would be my eldest daughter’s first time seeing them, her first visit to the Cathouse and her first time on photographic duties! A large portion of the pictures in the Wolf and Raven Age sets are by her.
Known support act Wolf were joined by a youthful bunch of noisemakers called The Raven Age who surprised all and sundry with a pretty impressive half hour…
The band were formed in 2009 and kicked it up a gear around 2012. In the intervening time, they’ve released an EP, toured Europe and opened the Satellite Stage at Sonisphere. No strangers to hard work, then! Style-wise they’re straightforward metal with a melodic edge and they know how to have fun with an audience.
“Our job is to get you warmed up for Delain and we want them to come out to find the roof already blown off!” yells frontman Michael Burrough. And if they roof wasn’t removed then it sure as hell wasn’t going to be through lack of trying.
They definitely had a handful of fans down the front who knew the words and were headbanging along throughout the set. The response throughout was good and the demanded – and got – a hell of a cheer when they finished.
I hope the band will excuse me not knowing the song titles, but they had me sold with the fourth one. More “metal” in sound than the earlier songs, I just loved the riffage. Very tight and coordinated as a live act and certainly enjoying what they do. Finishing the set by pulling crackers with the crowd was a nice touch!
A short set change and I was introduced to a band at the opposite end of the tenure scale – Sweden’s Wolf who’ve been together for nigh on twenty years. Chucking out ton after ton of classic metal tunes, it’s obvious that they get their influences from the old NWOBHM bands. They make no bones about it, declaring at one point that the best way to relax at the end of a week is to climb into the car and put on British Steel or Number of the Beast.
This is a band who know what they’re doing and they spent the entire set grinning their way through anthem after anthem. Touring in support of their latest release, Devil Seed, they threw in a couple of tracks from it as well as older material. I’d love to see these guys on a bigger stage with the kind of light show they deserve, but for now I’m just glad to say I’ve seen them.
True professionalism was shown when not one but two amps died and guitarist Simon found himself in a bit of a quandary. Frontman Niklas Stålvind handed over his axe and the band played on for the last couple of tracks, down an instrument. Simon looked a bit disgruntled at first – I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to be unable to play your instrument mid-gig – but he blasted through “Speed On” to the end of the set as if nothing else was wrong.
Wolf are a band that you should be checking out if you like the classic stuff. You’ll get the chance in February if you can grab a ticket for their headlining UK tour.
A surprisingly short set change later saw the stage change shape completely. The rear half had been under cover until now, but everything was stripped back to reveal a drum riser and Martijn’s keyboard. New skin-thumper Ruben led the charge onto stage followed by Martijn himself, Timo, Charlotte and emergency addition Merel Bechtold of Mayan.
Sadly, bassist Otto suffered an injury in Birmingham at the start of the tour – standing in the wrong place in front of a confetti cannon, he had to be rushed to hospital. Thankfully he’ll recover, and hopefully with no side-effects, but there was no way he could play the three UK dates. Merel stepped into the breach, though this meant there were two guitarists on stage and no bassist. Speaking to Martijn before the gig, he did admit that this was a challenge but that Merel was a huge help and the band are grateful to her for rising to it. Obviously, all of us here at Moshville Times wish Otto the speediest of recoveries and hope that he’s fine for the Sabaton show in London in January.
Delain never fail to disappoint with their catchy melodic metal and permanently cheerful attitude in front of a crowd. Martijn, despite being at the back of the stage and playing a fairly stationary instrument takes every opportunity to bounce about or bang his head. Timo prowls around the stage as if he owns it. Charlotte just soaks up the audience and performs every song as if it comes from somewhere deep inside her being – which, given the nature of some of the lyrics, is very possibly the case.
Opening with “Go Away” from 2009’s April Rain then running straight into the more recent “Get The Devil Out Of Me”, it was obvious that Delain were going to make the most of the band’s 80-85 minute stage slot.
Before beginning “Army of Dolls”, Charlotte took time out to talk to the audience before leading the band and the crowd through another hour of material culled from their four albums.
Most recent release The Human Contradiction got a good outing, including the first single/video track “Stardust”, but the majority of the set was given over to the excellent We Are The Others. There are certainly no complaints from me as it’s my favourite release from the band and they picked a good selection of the tracks to play.
Only a short break before the encore occurred, the band probably aware of the early curfew (Friday = club night), and Delain rounded the evening off in style. “Mother Machine” backed with the utterly wonderful “We Are The Others”. This song was hugely influenced by the horrific murder of Sophie Lancaster and it’s perhaps poignant to note that the band kicked off their three-date tour on November 26th – what would have been her 28th birthday.
They say you should always leave the crowd wanting more and Delain always seem to manage that. I assumed it was just the short support slots, but no – even with a headlining set another half hour would be nice!
Delain will be back in the UK in January and also later in the year in a field somewhere… though that fact (and which field!) not been officially announced as yet ;)