GIG REVIEW: Delain, Evergrey and Kobra & The Lotus Live at Koko, London
Sunday marked the beginnings of the first full “super” moon since 1948 and there’s most definitely a buzz about the air. Those in the medical profession will often profess to the increase of patients admitted to A&E on evenings of a full moon, so extrapolation would suggest tonight should be a humdinger. What makes this rare lunar activity even better is it falls on the London stop of Delain‘s tour of their appropriately-titled “Moonbathers” album.
Opening the evening is Canada’s Kobra & The Lotus, and their set serves admirably well at raising the energy levels in the crowd. They rip through meaty, rocking cuts like “Gotham”, the uplifting “Hold On” and bruising new track “Trigger Pulse” with verve and infectious passion. These are duly lapped up by a warm crowd, who even join in on a brief sing-along to Paige’s solo rendition of the Iron Maiden classic “Fear of the Dark”. It’s appropriate given Paige bears several of Bruce Dickinson’s vocal qualities: evocative, soaring power and a delightful vibrato – it was a little disappointing when they didn’t erupt into a full cover! Nevertheless, the band provided a strong curtain-raiser to the night and will be welcomed back warmly on their next visit to these shores.
Variety is the spice of life and all that, so Sweden’s Evergrey provide a certain level of contrasting melodrama to Kobra & The Lotus’ excitable energy. Not that that’s a bad thing by any stretch (except when frontman Tom S. Englund reminds us all that tomorrow is Monday – thanks, bud…) It provides a nice contrast, and brings a welcome element of light-and-shade to the fold. Featuring a varied set, Evergrey reel off classics such as “Leave It Behind Us”, “A Touch Of Blessing” and “Broken Wings” with seasoned ease whilst throwing in new single “In Orbit” to the delight of the crowd. The band even find time to throw in a guitar solo to Henrik Danhage, which is well-received and well-executed, though at the expense of some of the momentum the set had built up. Fortunately, the set ends strongly, with Englund’s charm and sparkling humor proving a crowd-pleaser alongside fan favorites.
You don’t get very far in the music industry, much less ten years, unless you’re really bloody good or play the connections card. Delain celebrate their tenth birthday this year and are marking it with a DVD release of an upcoming show later this year, as well as the release of the wonderful “Moonbathers”, so it can safely be said they fit firmly within the former category. Based on their performance tonight, it’s patently obvious why: power, passion and a gargantuan sound coupled with some damn good songs makes for a spell-binding experience.
Featuring plentiful selects from their latest opus (including the delightful trio “Fire With Fire”, “Pendulum” and “Danse Macabre”) alongside classics from their entire catalogue (see “April Rain” and “Sleepwalkers’ Dream”), Delain deliver an exhilarating flurry of chunky riffs, orchestral and keyboard flourishes centered by Charlotte Wessels’ sublime vocals. Additionally, it is a joy seeing a band evidently so thankful for the support of their fans – the conclusion of each song is book-ended with thanks to the crowd, whilst the rousing rendition of “We Are The Others” that draws the curtain feels like an affirmation of a sense of family between band and fans.
Koko as a venue is rather wonderful. Its quirky layout can be a little disconcerting, but the proximity between the stage and fans wherever they are makes for a fantastically inclusive feeling, something of which was utilized ably this evening. No huge stage productions or frills, just three bands, their fans and a healthy dose of heavy music. That’ll stave off the impending bad case of the Mondays for a while and celebrate moon’s radiance fittingly. Stellar!