Sometimes, when I haven’t seen a Delain show for a while, I tend to think nasty things like “actually, I don’t like them that much, their music is too ‘pop’ and too simple…“ Then I go to another show and suddenly I remember why I like this band.
But I probably wouldn’t have made the way to Bochum this time if it hadn’t been for Marco Hietala, who has done guest vocals for Delain on several tracks across their albums and is filling the current Nightwish hiatus by joining Delain on this short Danse Macabre tour.
Right so, the day saw its first highlight when we arrived in Bochum early in the afternoon and all of a sudden, after we had spotted a few Delain members already, Marco himself came out of the venue to have a little chat with us, take pictures and sign stuff. He doesn’t occupy himself with smalltalk, he goes straight to history and religion topics. What a guy!
But before we could finally see the master on stage, there were two support acts to entertain us.
Cellar Darling were formed by singer Anna Murphy, guitarist Ivo Henzi and drummer Merlin Sutter after their ugly departure from Swiss folk metal band Eluveitie last year. However, their music is quite different than Eluveitie’s (which is a good thing because there’d be no point in trying to copy their old band). Cellar Darling is neither particularly folk nor particularly metal, it’s rather heavy rock with a little bit of hurdy-gurdy. The one thing that really impressed me about their short set in Bochum was Anna’s strong, soulful voice – good to see that she has more opportunity to use her potential here than in Eluveitie. On the other hand, I found her hurdy-gurdy playing a bit pointless because it was almost inaudible and didn’t suit the music anyway (in my opinion). But these guys are talented people and they’ve just begun, so it might be worth to keep an eye and an ear on them to see how they will do when they had a bit more time to find their own sound and style.
If you like metal but also Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals and Disney songs, Serenity might just be your thing. And I don’t even mean that in an offensive way, because despite their undeniable cheesiness they have some pretty good symphonic metal songs. Live, they are always full of energy; especially singer Georg Neuhauser puts all his heart and soul into the performance. Compared to previous gigs I’ve seen of them, the performance in Bochum was almost a bit tame. Maybe they were still a bit nervous about playing songs from their new album Lionheart which had been released just a day before?
Delain time then! Like I said before – the moment they come on stage, I am reminded why I like Delain. The whole band radiates positivity and happiness, they just put you into a great mood immediately. The guitars are a bit heavier live than on the albums, and I like the unique sound of Charlotte Wessels’ voice and the way she easily goes through all kinds of shades from soft to powerful (besides being an incredibly charismatic personality!). Delain make you sing along, clap along, shout along, jump along, and if you don’t enjoy yourself at least a little bit at their shows, you might want to check if you’ve accidentally swallowed your broomstick.
The stage show was tastefully done as well, with a ‘moon’ of (circular shaped) video projections against the backdrop. Nice to look at if you bothered, but discreet enough not to distract your attention from the band.
And then there was of course Mr. Hietala, who came on stage for six songs across the set. Whenever he appeared, the band, who totally owned the stage on the Marco-less songs, basically disappeared into the nowhereland of the stage and it was only Marco and Charlotte in the spotlight. They played some songs that Marco had already sung on the recording, but additionally for example turned Scandal into a call-and-response-duet. I have to say the power of Marco’s iconic voice put even Charlotte in her place, she couldn’t really keep up with him. But all in all they harmonized very well and seemed to enjoy themselves a lot.
Did I mention the soap bubbles? Yeah, confetti on the first song, bubbles on the second. I think more bands should do bubbles. Bubbles rock!