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Marble Factory, Bristol
22nd October 2015

Ian Sutherland
ian sutherland

gentle storm

The pairing of The Gentle Storm with headliners Delain is an obvious one for mainland Europe where Anneke van Giersbergen has been a star in her own right since her days with The Gathering and both acts are accepted as part of the female fronted Metal scene.

Things are slightly different in the UK though where Delain have spent some time building their fan base but the fabulous talents of The Gentle Storm's co-founder and lead singer are less well known. I think it's fair to say as the band hit the stage that there are pockets of support around a packed Marble Factory but much of the audience have little idea about who the support act are.

Those of us who have seen the band before notice two things missing right away. Keyboard player Joost van den Broek has been unable to make these dates due to other commitments and rather than try to replace his considerable talents the band are using samples. Not an ideal situation but one that can't be helped.

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The other missing element is traditional opening track 'Endless Sea' which has fallen victim to the savage set cuts necessary for this forty minute or so slot in the evening. I really missed it but Anneke has opted instead to go straight into the high energy sea shanty vibes of 'Heart Of Amsterdam'.

This is the first night of the tour and it takes either the band or perhaps me a little time to settle into the unfamiliar line up and set opener but soon they are into their stride.

gentle storm

Every member of The Gentle Storm can really sing and/or really play but what makes them a great live act is that they all perform so well. The energy is transferring out into the room as 'Brightest Light' lets everyone appreciate that this band has not just one great singer but two as Marcela Bovio joins Ms van Giersbergen at the front to duet with her.

The harmonies are simply superb and are followed by drummer Ed Warby getting to show his skills during a full on version of 'The Storm'. No drum solo needed here as Mr Warby tests how robust his kit shared with Delain's Ruben Israel for the tour is!

gentle storm

After some very successful reunion shows with The Gathering last year for their 25th anniversary their former singer is keen to celebrate her legacy and we get 'Eleanor' and the iconic heavy strut of 'Strange Machines' here.

Sandwiched in between is 'Witnesses' from the Agua De Annique album 'Air'. The driving energy of this song really suits the total energy and commitment all the band members bring to the stage and the lack of familiarity with the material doesn't stop the audience really getting into it.

The difficulty of which songs to cut and which to keep shows for me with a cover of Devin Townsend's 'Fallout'. There are other songs Anneke has sung with the eccentric Canadian genius I would rather hear such as 'Hyperdrive' for example and there are other solo tunes or songs from 'The Diary' I would rather hear too but the choice is hers and the vocals are of course superb on it.

gentle storm

All too quickly it is time for set closer 'The Shores of India' from what I hear I can now call the first album by The Gentle Storm, 'The Diary' ( a follow up is on the cards). By this time the vast majority of the crowd are right with the band, won over by the high quality of the singing, the terrific playing and the sheer level of energy and joy which comes off this band live on stage.

They left not just me but everyone wanting more, the sign of a great gig.

Click here for MetalTalk's interview with Anneke van Giersbergen of The Gentle Storm




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