LIVE REVIEW: Delain at the Button Factory

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Date: November 11th, 2016
Venue: The Button Factory, Dublin
Line-up: Delain + Evergrey + Kobra and the Lotus

Tonight ends a long wait for melodic metallers Delain to finally grace our shores, and what a year to do it in. The band not only released their fifth album Moonbathers but they are also celebrating ten years since the release of their debut album Lucidity and the wild ride which that album set them up on.

Opening act on this tour are Canadian hard rock/heavy metal act Kobra and the Lotus. Unfortunately my enjoyment of this act was immediately hampered by some terrible sound issues. The bass drowned out pretty much every other instrument including the vocals of the bands namesake Kobra Paige. Despite the sound issues I could still visibly see a young band that were having a blast on stage rocking out to the music and the crowd attention they managed to garner with some enthusiastic persuasion. Tonight, sadly wasn’t their best night but maybe sometime in the future I’ll get a chance to see them in their full glory.

With the announcement that this tour was coming to Ireland it was quickly apparent that punters were looking forward to seeing the Irish debut of supporting band Evergrey just as much as that of the headliners. The crowds excitement began apparent the instant the band gathered out on the stage and it was quickly justified with the band banging out track after track almost flawlessly for their fifty minute set. Vocalist Tom Englund was able to match his emotional delivery live but was also a cool down to earth guy who wasn’t afraid to crack a few jokes and have fun with the crowd. Guitarist Henrik Danhage was an absolute pleasure to watch, each track had a memorable and tasteful solo to show off his obvious talent. The band stuck mostly to their newer material, with the exception of the slightly older ‘A Touch of Blessing’, showcasing the strength of their quality. Closing with ‘King of Errors’, a delighted Tom remarked that he loved the warm welcome they received and that they would love to return for their own show, whether or not that show happens we can still be happy that we were lucky enough to witness this one.

There’s nothing better than going to see a band who clearly love what they’re doing, and it didn’t take long for tonight’s headliners Delain to kick the crowd into shape. Starting with a triple whammy of ‘Hands of Gold’, ‘Suckerpunch’ and ‘The Glory and the Scum’ from the band’s latest Moonbathers the air in the venue lifted to a happy, feel good atmosphere. The band has enough pop elements to make their music clean cut and catchy but still enough metal to sink your teeth in, proving that they’re more than just a guilty pleasure.

The band was performing off pure adrenaline, it was the first time performing in Ireland and they were keen to leave an impression with the new audience. The six band members were constantly moving around the stage, swapping places with each other, sharing large smiles and even poking fun at each other.

Guitarist Merel Bechtold might be short in stature but she stood strong next to fellow guitarist Timo Somers to keep the riffs strong when the latter broke out for a guitar solo. Bassist Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije filled in many of the harsh vocals to which Merel pulled faces making fun of him. Although they were towards the back of the stage, drummer Ruben Israel and keyboardist Martijn Westerholt made their presence felt with their energetic performance and some prodding from visiting bandmates.

Charlotte Wessels gave a knock-out performance on vocalist, avoiding the trappings of a pseudo operatic voice like many in the genre, she still retained a beautiful soaring voice emphasized in many of tonight’s songs like the balladry in ‘The Hurricane’ and the slightly quirky ‘Here Come the Vultures’. However, the Lucidity-era tracks were generally higher in pitch which showed some signs of weakness compared to the rest of the set.

With the first half of the set dominated by newer tracks, older tracks showed themselves later on in the night to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Lucidity. No song was better suited to help than ‘The Gathering’, complete with bursts of streamers covering the room in a thin veil of shiny silver.

The huge ‘Mother Machine’ began the encore and signaled the ending of the night. Charlotte wanted to ensure that the crowd left as sweaty and tired as they were with the club-stylings of ‘Don’t Let Go’ by tiring themselves even more by jumping around in circles. It was with the bands outsider anthem ‘We Are the Others’ that Delain brought an end to the show and the end of their Irish debut show. Hopefully they received enough Irish hospitality to consider re-visiting us in the future.

Setlist:
Hands of Gold
Suckerpunch
The Glory and the Scum
Get the Devil Out of Me
Pendulum
Army of Dolls
The Hurricane
April Rain
Here Come the Vultures
Fire with Fire
Danse Macabre
Sleepwalkers Dream
Stay Forever
The Gathering
Pristine
Mother Machine
Don’t Let Go
We Are the Others

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