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Delain - O2 Academy, Islington (UK) - 16th May 2012

Tonight saw Delain return to the Islington O2 for the last night of their European tour, and once again they had brought along another two acts. Opening were heavy metallers Halcyon Way all the way from Atlanta, whilst sandwiched in between were Amanda Somerville and her new gothic metal band Trillium.

Hardly anyone was in when Halcyon walked out due to them kicking off 15 minutes after opening, but they made the best of a tough situation and let rip into a raucous set. Singer Steve Braun did his very best to excite, constantly leaping from the stage into the pit and up on the front railings. Guitarist and growler Jon Bodan seemed to be having a particularly fun time as the band tore through ‘Desecration Day’ and ‘Death Of A Dream’. Halcyon came to a rousing end with ‘On Black Wings’.

There was the shortest interlude before the lights dipped and Trillium came to the stage. Somerville really looked the part in a long flowing black dress, making her trademark long blond hair stand out even more. She prowled from side to side really giving everything. Her voice seemed particularly good and powerful as she belted out ‘Mistake’, 'Set Afire’ and ‘Bow To The Ego’ with an amusing introduction. There were the usual operatic gestures and every so often that blonde mane was flung around with ferocity. As they closed out with ‘Coward’ it was safe to say that she had suitably warmed up the crowd.

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As the lights went down one last time, the venue was now completely packed. Delain came out in a deep blue light, the keys and guitars struck up then singer Charlotte Wessels bounced out to a huge roar and they kicked into ‘Mother Machine’. Wessels had a bright beaming smile which seemed to stay permanently throughout and genuinely shows how much she enjoys being up there. ‘We Are The Others’ the new album’s catchy title track turned up early and was well played. The band picked a good setlist, including some new songs like the emotional ‘Are You Done With Me’ and ‘Generation Me’, and plenty of older ones like ‘Sleepwalkers Dream’, ‘Invidia’ and ‘See Me In Shadow’. Wessels bounced around as both guitarists perched themselves up on the monitors moshing away. Two songs that really stood out mid set were ‘April Rain’ and ‘Get The Devil Out Of Me’. As the night drew to a close Wessels teased that it was time to call it a night, but they left enough time for ‘Control The Storm’ and of course ‘The Gathering’. The latter was nothing less than an outright party number to close with, Wessels leaping around with her usual enthusiasm and exploding party streamers.

Tonight was a fabulous night of metal whatever the genre. The evening wasn’t perfect, with a couple of gripes. It’s a shame that the doors didn’t open earlier and there were a few moments of feedback, but generally despite the road crew seeming quite busy, this didn’t affect the enjoyment. Halcyon Way put in a boisterous performance led by their charismatic front man. The quality of the night only got better with the arrival of Somerville. The songs were bombastic and loud and seriously heavy in places. Not only does she own the stage visually, she also has that delicious voice and was the star of their set. But the night belonged to Delain who put on a splendid, vibrantly performed show full of great songs. Wessels is a delight to watch and comes across as amazingly genuine and passionate in her singing. The rest of the band provided her with fine backing as the guitarists thundered out their riffs and bass lines and Westerholt provided his usual arrangements from up on high. Despite the fact the new album is yet to be released, the new songs were seemingly enjoyed and one day ’We Are The Others’ might replace ‘The Gathering’ as the closer. But for the time being this fantastically fun song was the highlight of the night. Those that chose to opt for one last beer were given the added treat of meeting Wessels and co. as they came out at nights end. Somerville also waited to greet all those that wanted to say hello. This was an appropriate end to a glorious night in which the fans got to see two of the best female metal vocalists around, and one of the most enjoyable live bands in Delain on top form.

Dave Scott
Photo: James Charlwood

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