In the eastern part of the Netherlands there are but a few venues where fans can enjoy progressive music, or rather genres related to progressive music.
One of the genres frequently reviewed by progressive media is gothic rock.
Although many of the bands are called 'female fronted metal' nowadays, still the first circumscription relates to the real prog-fans a bit more.
One of the first bands playing 'gothic rock' were The Gathering, followed by Within Temptation and After Forever.
Heavy riffs, classical arrangements and female vocals, often a (mezzo)soprano.
Within the genre of 'gothic rock/female fronted metal' there are a lot of differences: Within Temptation drifted a little bit more towards pop-music,
Epica searched for and found the Classical Connection, Nightwish explored the epic, bombastic, more soundtrack orientated kind of music and bands like Evanescence, Visions Of Atlantis,
Edenbridge, Delain and Nemesea are in fact writing pop-rock music with heavier riffs and some classical arrangements.
While Delain is enjoying international fame, Nemesea, now celebrating 10 years of making music, is still waiting to get their decisive breakthrough.
Fronted by singer Manda Ophuis, Nemesea have just released their third studio album The Quiet Resistance, co-produced, mixed and mastered by former After Forever keyboardist Joost van den Broek.
Of course the band played a nice selection of songs from their three albums with the emphasis on the latest album as one could expect.
I've seen Nemesea a couple of times, at first as an inexperienced band with a very young and somewhat shy Manda, back then with very long red-blond hair.
Guitarist/composer HJ also had a different haircut and since those early beginnings the band changed keyboardist and drummer while the second guitarist in the end wasn't replaced.
All and all the band shifted from being almost like a Nightwish clone to a more pop orientated band with a more distinct sound.
Singer Manda today has her hair at medium length and painted black, so a bit more 'gothic' although she hardly uses her soprano voice anymore.
The songs went down well but apart from the ever confidently playing bass player Sonny Onderwater who moved around quite a bit, HJ was hiding behind his hairs often,
while drummer Frank was positioned in the shade on the right side of the stage. Keyboard player Lasse, also in the shade most of the time,
was positioned at the left side of the stage but he seemed to be concentrating a lot on his instruments rather than trying to make contact with the band's fans.
It always strikes me how it is almost every time I go to shows the support acts for some reason don't ever get a decent light show.
The songs are a very nice mixture between pop, rock and metal but the band lacks a genuine hit record and if you're not really familiar with all the songs, they tend to sound a bit alike.
Maybe the help of another composer, maybe choosing a different sound of the guitar, things like that may initiate the success this band so righteously deserve.
Fact was the venue had been filled up nicely and seemed to appreciate the overall performance by Nemesea.
Caught in the middle
After the break all the gear of Nemesea had been taken away and the stage looked a lot bigger.
Drummer Sander Zoer was positioned on a higher platform on the left side, while keyboardist/composer Martijn Westerholt was positioned even higher and slightly more to the right side.
Hairy bass player with the extremely long last name (Otto Schimmelpennick van der Oije) stood on the far end to the right from the audience's point of view,
guitarist Bas Maas (ex- After Forever) was playing mostly on the left side.
Since Delain's "own" guitarist Timo Somers had urgent business elsewhere, it was Bas alone.
Of course the center of the stage was reserved for the lovely Charlotte Wessels, who seems to be more confident every year.
This band has reached a professional level and already celebrated several hit records.
The brand new album We Are The Others was released very recently and as could be expected there were several new songs on the setlist.
With the opening song Mother Machine from that new album the band was confronted with some technical problems, so a major part of the song was performed without the guitar.
Subsequently there seemed to be something wrong with the keyboards so while the techs were trying to fix all problems Otto started a riff and Sander and Bas joined in for a nice blues-rock jam,
with Charlotte watching the guys with admiration and a look in her eyes saying something like "hey, I didn't know you guys could do this".
A few minutes later everything seemed to be functioning properly so on the show went with the hit Stay Forever.
All Delain songs are in fact pop songs with a rather heavy arrangement and orchestration.
Easy to sing along and in fact that was happening quite a lot judging by the many lips moving from the audience ranging between approximately 9 - 60 years of age.
It was nice to see Bas Maas enjoying himself, interacting with Otto a lot because it must have been hard for him as well the so successful band After Forever split up.
All the catchy songs like Sever or the title track from Delain's previous album April Rain were performed nicely and the show was over before I realized.
It may not have the impact of a progressive act like UK, but the music is melodic, powerful and easy to 'get', and for me it's uplifting.
Albeit pop music, I appreciated most of the songs, my favorites being songs like Not Enough or Babylon.
A very nice atmosphere on stage as well as in the whole venue but with Delain too, a somewhat static performance of Martijn,
Zoer playing in the shade most of the time so apart from singer Charlotte the livelihood on stage had to come from Otto and Bas, and they did their jobs quite well.
Chapeau for Bas who played all the songs as if he had been playing them for years.
Because of the technical difficulties at the beginning of the show the band decided to give Mother Machine a proper rendition by performing it once more as an extra encore.
Delain is hitting the road again for a big tour that will take them to several European countries and bringing them back to the Netherlands in October, November and December.
Watch the DPRP gig guide to see where they will be playing in your neighborhood!
A truly nice evening of 'female fronted symphonic metal' and a very satisfied audience!
We Are The Others
Virtue And Vice
See Me In The Shadow
AreYou Done With Me
Get The Devil Out Of Me