Delain + Trillium + Halcyon Way @ HMV Institute Library, Birmingham – 12 May 2012

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Review by Paul Quinton and photos by Russ Powney

In these difficult times, you can’t argue with a three band bill for £13 on the door, and when it’s bands of the quality of Delain, supported by another band you’ve wanted to see for a while, in the form of Trillium, this was one I’d really been looking forward to.

There was a healthy queue outside the Library, even while the bands were soundchecking, and the room was pretty full by the time Atlanta metallers Halcyon Way opened the show. There’s a good band lurking in there somewhere, but they really need to make up their minds what type of band they want to be. They try to create a unified image by wearing matching band shirts, but at times, as in ‘Desperation Day’,  they sounded like Dokken, at others, like Pantera, and when guitarist Jon Bodan contributed some death grunt growls, they even started to stray into Opeth territory. It was all a bit too schizophrenic to really get into, and I think they need to decide on a single direction before they can really begin to progress.

Trillium on the other hand were in a different league entirely. In Amanda Somerville, they have a terrific front woman, and for a lot of their set, she held the great majority of the crowd in the palm of her hand. When a support act can include a section where the lead vocalist sings a capella, and you can’t hear a hum of conversation from the crowd, it’s a sign of how well they’re doing. The band’s music lies midway between melodic progmetal and symphonic metal and in the Library it went down a storm. Particular highlights were opener ‘Machine Gun’ and ‘On your Knees’ which is something of an epic. A really good band who should come back to the UK very soon.

This short series of dates is a very welcome return to the UK for Delain, and although their new album is not due out for another month or so, they had a fair amount of new music in their set. The crowd gave them a huge welcome as they opened with the first of the new songs, ‘Mother Machine’, and the atmosphere was cranked up even further when they continued with one of their best songs, ‘Stay Forever’. Wisely they spread the newer material throughout the set and gave the crowd a healthy serving of songs from ‘Lucidity’ and ‘April Rain’, which helped keep the momentum at a very high level. ‘See Me In Shadows’ and ‘April Rain’ itself were absolute epics. Last year, they’d also debuted a few new songs, including the current single ‘Get The Devil Out Of Me’ and at the time it seemed to me that the band were consciously trying to move away from the symphonic metal template, and the shorter, heavy yet highly commercial new material they played tonight gave notice that the new album, ‘We Are The Others’ is definitely going to be something to look forward to.

Considering they’re using something of a stand-in guitar player, Bas Maas, while regular player Timo Somers has other commitments, the band were astoundingly tight and together, even allowing for the fact they’ve been on the road through Europe, and each member of the band looked to be having a great time particularly singer Charlotte Wessels, who seemed to absolutely revel in being in front of an audience, and whose enthusiasm and rapport with the crowd added greatly to the gig as a whole.

A mention should also go to the road crew. The previous time I’d seen Delain live, at Leamington Assembly in 2011, and the last time I’d visited the Library, for Lacuna Coil last year, the sound hasn’t been the best, to say the least. However, tonight it was spot on, and not just for the headliners either. All in all, a great gig, one of the best of 2012 so far.

And you can see all of Russ’s photos from the gig here:

3 COMMENTS

  1. Funnily enough, I went to Sheffield as well, H. If I’d known, we could have arranged a beer in the rather excellent pub just up the hill from the Corp. Didn’t think it was quite as good a show as Brum, the bands were pretty much as good on each night, but the Sheffield crowd seemed more laid back and there was nowhere near as much atmosphere. Impressed by the turn out both nights, though. Bigger venues nect time?

    • Dammit, yeah, a beer would’ve worked a treat. Was in that very boozer on the corner, at the top of the street, prior to the show.

      Definitely bigger venues next time. I know Delain are still a relatively small act on these shores but was surprised by the choice of Corp as the venue, especially considering they played Rock City last time out.

      Definitely thought they could’ve squeezed a couple of hundred extra ticket sales if they’d picked a bigger venue. Next time, though, I’m sure.

  2. Caught ’em the night after at Sheffield and it was pretty much the same as here.
    Trillium were absolutely terrific and Somerville has star-quality, charisma, presence and talent branded right through her.
    You’d have to say she’s not exactly difficult on the eye, either…
    Delain didn’t put a foot wrong all night and were energetic, polished and slick.
    Regarding the sound, Mz Somerville told me they were travelling with their own sound-guy who handled everything for all three bands. Maybe that was a factor as the sound at Sheff was just perfect as well.
    Glad you had as good a night as I did. I went with zero expectations and ended up having a ball.

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