GIG REVIEW: VUUR & Scar Symmetry Live at Le Trabendo, Paris
This is the first time in a long while that I signed up to review a concert of two bands I had hardly listened to in advance. I had tried the new Vuur record, “In This Moment We Are Free” a couple of times but found the music largely uninspiring, except for Anneke van Giersbergen’s wonderful vocals. Scar Symmetry on the other hand, nothing really, hadn’t heard a single song. I just knew it is a progressive melo-death band from Sweden. I still decided to go through with it simply to check how Anneke sounds live, as I hadn’t had the experience of doing so yet, neither with The Gentle Storm nor Devin Townsend.
First up was My Propane, the opening band for the night. Not too much to say here, the music from the five-piece band wasn’t memorable, and, in my eyes, a huge step-down from the great opening acts I heard the last time I was at Le Trabendo. The vocalist also seemed a little too edgy for my liking – asking the crowd to “Wake the fuck up” or saying stuff such as “cheap fucks”.
Scar Symmetry was next in line. Again a five-piece band, this one had two separate vocalists for the harsh and clean vocal sections. The band has been to Paris for the first time after seven or eight years, as one of the vocalists announced. Ripped and with a sleeveless shirt, he reminded me of another Swedish frontman – Daniel Gildenlöw. The music was much better here and the complement of harsh and cleans was achieved in a catchy manner. The crowd was still mellow though and only a few were enthusiastically throwing their hands into the air. I went back and checked some of the songs out – and identified a few ones – “The Anomaly” and one from “Pitch Black Progress” – “The Illusionist” if I’m not wrong. Initially the vocals were getting drowned out by the music but over time the real-time sound mixer got the balance right.
Finally, the band everyone was waiting for. Since I had heard the album a couple of times, I could identify a few songs immediately – Especially the first two tracks “Time – Rotterdam” and “My Champion – Berlin”. The sound was excellent now – Anneke’s voice was booming over the crisp instruments. Must be said – she far exceeded my expectations. Some singers sound excellent on record and let the instrumentals sometimes drown inadequacies in their higher notes while playing live. Anneke though didn’t miss a note during the entire performance – covering the higher ones and the lower, calmer ones without breaking a sweat and while always wearing a smile. One of my favourite song of the night was “The Martyr and The Saint – Beirut” and the catchy opening riff (reminds of Stranger Things) has been stuck in my head ever since. The band also played a few cover songs – all from Anneke’s various projects, such as The Gentle Storm, The Gathering, and much to my delight, The Devin Townsend Project (The song “Fallout”). Anneke took the breaks between songs to tell us that this was her second time in Paris this year, as Vuur was the accompanying act from Epica a few months back. And Paris was the first time where they had the opportunity to play a few new songs and an encore. Naturally, one of the songs during the encore was “Reunite! – Paris” – an emotional, memorable song. She talked about how people even in a concert are part of a peace or a “microworld peace” in her own words and I thought that the song followed up on this idea very well.
All in all, Vuur put in an excellent performance on the night and Anneke van Giersbergen’s gorgeous voice will echo in my head for days to come. Highly recommended for both first-time explorers or longtime fans.