||ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN
Friday 22nd April 2016
Anneke Van Giersbergen is a Dutch singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist who is better known as the lead singer and songwriter for the Dutch progressive/alternative rock band The Gathering between 1995 and 2007. In 2014, along with Dutch multi-instrumentalist Arjen Anthony Lucassen she founded a new band, The Gentle Storm, whose first album titled 'The Diary' was released in 2015.
As well as this, Van Giersbergen has also had a successful solo career as well as collaborating with the artists as diverse as Devin Townsend, Within Temptation, Anathema, Napalm Death, Moonspell, Novembers Doom and Globus.
Not content with these projects, Van Giersbergen still has time to go out on her own and she stopped by Glasgow for the opening show of her current acoustic European tour which is designed to showcase aspects from throughout her career.
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As the MetalTalk team arrived at Audio, the place was already packed out with the crowd eager for Van Giersbergen to make her appearance. The stage was bathed in low light with only a guitar, microphone and an ipad on a table all ready for the show. As the music on the PA died down, Van Giersbergen finally stepped out into the limelight to a huge roar from the crowd.
A few technical issues at the top of the show with her guitar broke the ice with the expectant audience and from here on in, the show was a relaxed affair with Van Giersbergen chatting and joking with those down the front. A couple of times she looked slightly uneasy but that was just because of the loud drunken oaf towards the front of the stage kept interrupting her flow. Still, what else do you expect on a Friday night in Glasgow, eh?
The show was a mix of Gathering tracks, her own solo material and a few choice covers thrown in for good measure. The Gathering obviously still have a large and active fan base as these tracks, show opener 'My Electricity', 'Saturnine' and 'Locked Away' got some of the biggest cheers of the night and had the audience singing and clapping along and I guess it's gigs like these which are their only chance to hear these songs live again.
The rumbling of the trains coming and going out of Central Station above seemed to un-nerve her at one point as she joked "It's like Hell is coming!" to laughter all round before she brings the tone of the show to a somewhat sombre note as she spoke about her love of Prince's music as he'd died the day before. She recounted the tale of the day she and a couple of friends followed Prince's car from the hotel to the venue in the hope of meeting him and got a quick "hello" from him on his way into the venue. After admitting she couldn't play any Prince songs on guitar she instead regales the audience with a rendition of the rap section from his 'Alphabet Street' track which was received warmly.
'Beautiful One', the opening track from her 2007 debut album also got a warm reception and it's here that her voice really soared during the chorus which was set against the simplicity of the guitar, before she reduced her performance to a whisper that sees the crowd so enraptured that you could literally hear a pin drop before her voice reverts once again to her full singing voice. Another solo track was 'Circles' from her 2012 album 'Everything Is Changing' and it got another great response showing that her solo works are held in the same regard as her work with The Gathering.
Of course there were a few choice covers thrown in for good measure. 'Sex Is On Fire' by Kings Of Leon is given a new lease of life as Van Giersbergen slowed the pace right down lengthening it's duration considerably and before the Devin Townsend penned number 'Ih-Ah!' she spoke about working with him and there seems to be a few Townsend fans in who give this their mark of approval.
A reminisce about her Aunt Dorothy precedes a version of the Mister Mister classic 'Broken Wings', which she used to sing when she was younger at her Aunt Dorothy's behest and she breathes new life into this track too despite her claiming that her guitar was "super out of tune". At this point, however, I don't think anyone present noticed nor really cared as her performance was sublime.
After a quick break she returned to the stage for one final song - "I know this is supposed to be a Metal audience," she said before adding "who likes a bit of Dolly Parton?" to a large cheer. The show closer was a great version of 'Jolene' which left the crowd on a high and certainly wanting more.
For a first night of the tour it was an almost technical hitch free show but overall it was a highly entertaining performance. Anneke clearly loves Scotland and Scotland loves Anneke, so let's hope we all get the chance to do this again soon eh?
Anneke Van Giersbergen Set List:
My Mother Says
Sex Is On Fire