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On Tour With   

DELAIN’S PARISIAN ENDING




The merch stand is about to get raided

Ever since I started investigating Parisian concert venues in 2004, I have always asked myself the same burning question: why the hell are all the concert venues where my concerts are held completely void of any type of cloakroom during the exact same season (from October to April normally), at a time when each person is bound to be wearing a thick coat at the least, in order to avoid catching pneumonia? Honestly, who hasn’t entered the Zenith or Elysée Montmartre in Paris, dressed in a great big coat and scarf, and wondered what on earth they would do with them in the mosh pit?
This is precisely what I was wondering myself on the morning of last 8th of October. This is mainly because when you think of a Delain gig, you think of an impatient crowd waiting in front of the doors at the crack of dawn, and I can’t help but feel sorry for those who have to spend the whole day in the rain. Luckily, Mother Nature was on our side today and provided us with some clear skies and dry weather as soon as I get out of the Anvers metro station.


The buffet !

The band have obviously just arrived also and gathered in from of the doors of the Elysée Montmartre for a cigarette and a chat. I manage to introduce myself shyly to the French organisers despite the fact that my contacts at K Productions haven’t actually arrived yet (they had to come from Strasbourg). A few more minutes of waiting and a call from Julien to confirm later, and I am introduced to Rik, Delain’s tour manager. “Radio Metal? So you are here to do the same as Philippe?” he asks me. Rik, dear friend, if you want us to get along then I suggest you refrain from comparing me with Metal’O Phil [b] note from Metal’O Phil: Damn it, Saff, damn it J[/b] ! Feeling way too polite (and intimidated) to dare making any of these jokes, I simply agree. ”Welcome! Do as you wish, you can go anywhere you like and you can even help yourself to the buffet!”. Unfortunately, I am later informed that “everywhere” means everywhere except backstage. This turns out just a well, since the three bands seemed to prefer hanging out in this room rather than backstage to kill time.

Rik and the band during a normal day’s work!

The stage disappears under a heap of cables, instrument cases and roadie equipment. Charlotte (vocals) and Ronald (guitar) sit in front of the sound engineer’s desk, watching the technical team’s work and chatting. Charlotte seems to have gotten a lot better since she was ill and had to cancel her Marseille and Barcelona dates as a result. She even jokes about it: ”See how hard we are working! This is what it’s like to be a musician!”[/1]. Jokes aside, it’s really impressive to watch the roadies and technicians set up the stage to give it the right appearance for the gig. Their work is never mentioned enough…

Charlotte’s last minute preparations

It’s at this moment that Julien, the K Productions manager and Delain tour director in France, makes his entrance. The man has a very good relationship with the band and seems enormously preoccupied by Charlotte’s health: ”We are cancelling all of the interviews because Charlotte must not be answering questions all afternoon and then be incapable of singing later in the evening. We are also cancelling the acoustic session. We need to finish the tour with a good concert.”
Although this must be a disappointment for the journalists, it’s a good thing for the fans.

Whyzdom make their appearance just after twelve. Telya arrives snuggled in a massive coat that is bigger than her, looking like a child about to open Christmas presents from under the tree: ”When I was at the Cours Florent (school), we used to have our end of year parties here. I’ve wanted to play here ever since”. It has to be said that the Elysée Montmartre is one mighty venue (the place is two centuries old…), with its moulding walls and humungous stage! Between this place and Scène Bastille, there is definitely to be impressed by, right Telya ? “Yes and apparently it’s sold out!”

According to Rik and the managers of venue, the Elysée Montmartre is practically sold out tonight – that means there will be about 550 people, meaning 200 more people than at Scène Bastille! This is a direct indication of the band’s future success in France.

Whilst Telya and her bandmates go off to investigates the backstage area and people continue to build the stage, I bump into someone I recognise: this is Olivia, a distinguished member of the Delain community in France, who I recognize because of her t-shirt made of the same colours as their official website. Uh oh. I suddenly feel like I’m seriously going get it – especially as she is armed with a rather large camera and I doubt she’s afraid to use it. Luckily, I’m safe: ”I know I’ve met you before, I just can’t recall where…”. ”The concert report from Scène Bastille, you know the one that caused such a commotion, does that ring any bells?”. ”Right. Ok.”. That, dear readers, is how you inconspicuously deactivate a time bomb.

Deactivated Olivia is here to take pictures and proudly represent the band’s French forum. In fact, it seems pretty nuts to see her exchanging kisses and joking around with Rik and the band members, with which she seems to get on with like a house on fire. We now understand why the band kept the capital city as their final date on the tour: it must be a nightmare trying to resist such fan devotedness!

After being kindly invited by Telya, I join her, Marc (keyboards) and Xavier (bass) for lunch. So, how has the tour with Delain been so far? ”Great”, answers Marc. ”We’ve gotten a very warm welcome, except in Lyon where the crowd was a little harder to warm up” Could it be said that our friends from Lyon are a little jaded… ”But we know that our fans are well and truly here tonight”. Speaking of Barcelona, tell me about when Telya took over the microphone instead of Charlotte? ”Oh, I was mucking about! When you hear the songs so many times, you start to know them a bit. We hadn’t rehearsed, but all in all it went well”.

The day before, Laeticia had warned me on the phone that Delain don’t let anyone listen in to their soundcheck. Without causing any trouble, I leave the room to get some fresh air (it is baking in there…). On my way back I bump into Vynce, Whyzdom’s guitarist, who is waiting in the hall. It would be hard to find anyone as nice and friendly as that man. I had only just introduced myself when he starts telling me all about the tour, Delain and the hazards of life on the road. ” Right now, we are waiting. On tour, you spend your life waiting. It’s one of the negative aspects of the job. If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to do our soundcheck around 4 pm, and then we can go on”. Vynce doesn’t refrain from singing the praises of the Delain members : ”They are really nice. When I found out that the gig was sold out, I congratulated Martijn and he said “We did this together”. There is no way the fame has gone to these guys’ heads, that’s for sure!”.


Xavier (Whyzdom) during the sound check

Luck is finally on ours ide as Delain’s soundcheck is over quickly and it is now Whyzdom’s turn to get onto the stage. The band hardly has the time to plug in their instruments before the appearance of six new members: the choir. Whyzdom have created some big shoes for them to fill! And off we go for an hour of sound checking, and even if the band are made to repeat the intro to “The Train”, I can see that tonight’s performance is going to be epic.

Tonight’s gig is proudly made up of three bands. In all honesty, I didn’t think that The Outburst would be able to have a sound check. However, it is 5.30 pm when the band members, who arrived discreetly earlier in the day, make their way onto the stage for their turn in the set up. Simply because I was curious, I remained seated discreetly next to the mix tables to get an idea of what this unknown band sound like. First impression: pretty damn good my friends! As for the rest, you will have to read on in the report to find out.

It is now 6 pm. The stage is tidy and ready to greet the artists, the merchandise stand is also ready, the bands have each isolated themselves backstage to get ready… All that is missing is the fans, who form a mass in front of the doors, waiting impatiently to be let in – both because they want to see Delain, but also because the Heavens suddenly opened.

The organisation was beyond reproach from the start til the end and the concert is finally ready to begin by precisely 6.30 pm.

Live Report

Artistes : Delain[/urlb] – WhyzdomThe Outburst[/urlb]
Venue : Elysée Montmartre
Date : 08-10-2009
Crowd : 550 people


The Outburst

The concert begins with a set by The Outburst, a Parisian band who pride themselves as « seeking pleasure before anything ». If we hadn’t heard it, then we never would have believed it – yet “hedo metal” exists! The band have a reputation to back up, so the musicians appear to be in an astoundingly good mood as they make their way to the stage for their half an hour show. Believe it or not, these guys are good. In actual fact, under a barbaric dose of “hedo metal” is hidden some good old heavy metal mingled with a few thrash/death tonsil defying vocals. The slight Arabic touches sprinkled on various tracks come as a surprise, and are quite disconcerting at the start, but in the end the mix seems rather nice.

Most outstanding character in this uncoventional band : their staggering singer, who goes by the name of Sarah, and mixes improbable yet efficient Doro, Angela Gossow and Shakira vocals. The young lady has quite an incredible voice, going from clear cut singing to powerful grunts with disturbing ease. In order to underline their unique and surprising characteristics, the singer adds a belly dance to her performance which despite not being amazing, seems to go well with the music.


Sarah, between Doro, Angela Gossow and Shakira !

The Outburst ‘s presence at a Delain concert, is as unseemly as that of Cannibal Corpse as a supporting act for Children of Bodom, yet it finally livens up after a while. It has to be said that, the guitarist, Sky’s occasional intervening on the microphone and the band’s general good mood is not easily ignored. Special mention of the band’s new bassist who played his role brilliantly and was a great source of energy.

A surprising performance at times, which won’t be forgotten any time soon.

Setlist

Hangover
Try
Screened God
My Girl
For One Of Us
Dance For Me


Telya (Whyzdom)

The crowd gives a warm welcome of claps and cheers to Whyzdom, the band who famously ran out stock of their collector EPs (that has to be a great ego boost) and who released an album barely three weeks previous to the concert. In fact, it seems that lots of people in the crowd are more impatient to see a show by “the band making it big” in France at the moment, than to see Delain.

Their first album, mentioned previously, is a little jewel that has come out of the symphonic metal scene, with epic songs alternating between “smack in the face” songs and ballads. Now is the t6ime to see whether this reputation will also be effective on stage. The answer to this comes from the very first notes of “Everlasting Child”, oh yes! Telya is clearly very happy to be here. Throughout the set, she impresses the crowd with her head banging and by demonstrating her kick boxing skills. She even goes so far as to perform a whole song lying on the floor of the stage (we dare you to try doing that in the same position). Her band mates, starting with Vynce, who is incredibly at ease on guitar/vocals are just as entertaining. For once, as though a miracle, Vynce’s voice is perfectly audible; this was not the case during the Scène Bastille gig (similarly to on the album unfortunately).


Hey girls !

Of course, the four tracks from the EP are performed and the presence of the choir gives them a particular strength. As we are on the subject, let’s congratulate the choir (made up of five women and one man), who managed to do their bit wonderfully. Vynce announces that “Atlantis” is the song that their record label will use as their first single. We agree with Ascendance Records, who realise Whyzdom are capable of producing a title track which is complex and powerful.

The set comes to an end with the amazing song « Daughter Of The Night » (oh the choir! the choir !) and it could be said that the band would have received a standing ovation if the crowd has actually been sitting in the first place. Telya ends the show in tears, while the musicians are left happy and glad. Whyzdom definitely managed to achieve a new status in all of our eyes tonight. Perhaps they will be headlining next time?!

Setlist :

Everlasting Child
The Witness
The Train
Atlantis
On The Wings Of Time
Daughter Of The Night


Is the Elysee Montmartre too big a venue for Delain ?

Could it be the tiredness accumulated throughout the day? The fever that’s been chasing me for two days now? A vague feeling of déjà-vu going back to the month of April last year? Needless to say, from Delain’s very first notes, something is bugging us…

In terms of the musicians, there is nothing to add: Ronald, on guitar, plays a great show with flowing hair and a few cool interventions, Matijn, on keyboard, always seems just as inspired by the music, Rob (bass) is running up and down the stage, and Sander, although caught behind his drums, is still doing a fantastic job. As for Charlotte, as prim and smiley as ever, her vocal parts are perfect (as per usual we might say!). Once again the band create a contagious vibe of energy and goodness. Once again, the tour ends in Paris and once again, everyone is delighted.


Charlotte Wessels

Only this time, the Elysée Montmartre is big. It is very big in fact, when you are merely used to gigs at the Boule Noire and the Scène Bastille. It is big, and therefore, a lot more impersonal. Charlotte and her band mates don’t seem worried, yet despite their impeccable performance, the atmosphere remains a little lukewarm. We must say that despite this fact, there is a great deal of contact between the band and their fans.

This sense of disappointment is aimed at the almost identical set list as the one is April. It must be hard to reinvent yourself for each gig when all you have is “merely” two albums to your name, however… The only exception comes in the form of an acoustic cover of The Cranberries’ song “Cordell”, which the band play excellently. This is a moment in which Charlotte can truly show off her talents to anyone who had previously doubted her.

In all honesty, it was not the positives of the evening that were missing: the videos played on the big screens are always very appreciated, Charlotte and Ronald spent a great deal of time talking with the crowd, and overall, sincerity and high spirits seems to be a major factor in the Dutch band’s appeal. Even the set list has a few stunners, for example “The Gathering” which could even get fervent female lead singer haters jumping.


Ronald Landa (guitar/vocals)

The « problem » obviously comes from something else. The ElyséeMontmartre is without a doubt one of the most beautiful venues is in Paris, however, in my opinion, it just doesn’t suit Delain. It is too cold and too impersonal. Of course, playing in a venue like the Elysée Montmartre is a sign of success, and all we can do is wish the band further luck. However, we will miss the atmosphere and closeness with the crowd from some of the smaller venues.

Setlist

Invidia
Stay Forever
Sever
Go Away
The Gathering
Cordell (The Cranberries cover)
Deep Frozen
Shattered
Nothing Left
Virtue And Vice
Silhouette Of A Dancer
A Day For Ghosts
April Rain
Pristine

PS : You can also find our report  »On tour awith Delain (6 & 7 october 2009) ».




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