If you’ve been a faithful reader, you might remember that I hadn’t really paid much attention to the Canadian goths of THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE. But after I saw them live at Female Metal Event 2016 I was hooked! So as soon as I heard that they were coming back to Europe, I made sure I’d see them on stage again.
Metal Female Voices Tour 2017: A recurring tour concept.
It’s really hot for a mid-October evening when I arrive at the Matrix in Bochum. This old bunker turned underground venue is not exactly known for the best acoustics but it attracts bands from the rock, metal and gothic scenes. Last year, Steffi and I were here to see JADED STAR and XANDRIA on a similarly themed evening, a stop of the Symphonic Metal Nights Tour 2016.
Today, I have interview appointments with Vicky and Danny from THE AGONIST and SIRENIA‘s Emmanuelle Zoldan and when I’m done, I’m ecstatic to hear the lovely Chibi from THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE accept my invitation to a spontaneous interview, as well.
By 7:00 pm I’m done with the interviews and not much later the first band starts playing, which is kind of awkward, because it wasn’t really made clear that there are five bands playing tonight and that it’s not “doors at seven” but it’s “start at seven” – with some delay. Anyway, the French ELYOSE perform for around 30 minutes and actually draw a crowd. I’ve heard of this band multiple times before but haven’t seen them yet. The band has a lot of energy and the slowly growing audience seems to like it, but I’m not that impressed. That might be only my own bias, though, I admit, I often have a hard time enjoying bands that combine heavier rock and/or metal with a language other than English. It just feels disconcerting to hear French lyrics in a Gothic/Melodic Rock context – but maybe I’d feel different if I had actually learned French in school…? Nevertheless, ELYOSE is a good start to the evening.
The second support band is the Irish XEROSUN (pronounced “zero-sun”, yes I had trouble at first) and they do a good job warming up the audience with their powerful music. Certainly promising newcomers, XEROSUN‘s music is heavy and dark but melodic, metalcore-ish at times. The frontwoman grunts powerfully, but too often for my taste, more so since her clean voice is unique and appealing. I want to hear more of those clean vocals, but I get a bit lost in my head thinking if this is the new “standard” of a good female singer: to be able to sing clean and growl well? Maybe Floor Jansen started more than a trend and the bar was raised when other singers like Marcela Bovio followed…?
THE AGONIST and SIRENIA rock the Matrix!
As if three big names weren’t enough, this tour groups up five different bands from different genres and gives them short, “support” slots. Sure it’s nice to get to see so many bands on one evening, but this kind of touring festival doesn’t allow us to enjoy each band on its own. The transition from XEROSUN to THE AGONIST is smoother than the upcoming next one, but, still the concept of putting all these bands together seems to work based on the hope that each will pull its fans and these fans will, in turn, become fans of a different band they wouldn’t have listened to otherwise. Hmm…
The Canadian Deathcorers still get to show what they’re made of – and that’s pure deadly metal. THE AGONIST punches the half-full venue in the face with their professionalism, kicking off their set with ‘My Witness, Your Victim’ and ‘Panophobia’ without letting the audience even applaud in between. After some greetings and proceeding with their eight-song set, they finish with the famous ‘Thank You, Pain’ and ‘Gates of Horn and Ivory’. When the band takes the now practically obligatory “good-bye-picture with the audience” the first rows are not only glad to, they’re not going anywhere, eager to see the remaining two bands.
It was just last year that we talked to Morten Veland and Emmanuelle Zoldan in an interview about SIRENIA‘s change of lead-vocalist shortly before the first official concert with the band’s new line-up. Today, the Norwegian Gothic Metallers open with ‘The Path To Decay’ and although Emma still struggles with some of the vocal lines, her stage prescience is undeniable.
The setlist consists of a good mixture of songs from the band’s whole career and SIRENIA‘s latest release, “Dim Days Of Dolor”. The French frontwoman still has a few issues with the English language but manages to fire up the audience and announce songs like ‘Goddess of the Sea’. ‘Cold Caress’ and the 15-year-old ‘Meridian’. I notice that it’s weird for a Symphonic Metal band to be a quartet – we’re used to seeing many more band members on stage performing songs that bombastic. The band’s performance reaches its end with ‘The Other Side’ and leaves the audience amazed, but even more excited to see the Canadian Goths.
Time for the real headliner: THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE
Among the audience, there are many wearing purple, an obvious tribute to THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE. I even spot someone wearing black bunny ears, like those the band sells ar merch – too bad, they don’t have any at today’s merch stand. The 15-minute delay caused by the first band of the evening has become a half hour and so it’s almost 23:00 when the lights finally go out for today’s headliner of headliners to start.
THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE open with ‘Counterpane’ and with frontwoman Chibi waving hello to what feels like each and every person in the crowd. Her charismatic personality shows in every aspect of her performance, jumping all over the stage while interacting with the audience. ‘One’ is the first highlight of their show for me, the song comes from THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE‘s latest album “Under Your Spell” and it moves me to see everyone holding one finger in the air as Chibi does and later also complying with her wordless instructions to form a heart with both hands. And, by the way, why do people stare at me when I sing the chorus along with Chibi and Rainbow…?
The rest of the band members are also in a great mood today, Rainbow jumps around so much that at some point a roadie has to help him get his mic-stand back up after it fell down. Keyboardist Owen climbs onto his keyboard and bassist Nate jokes around with gestures. ‘Superstition’ and ‘Lovers End’ are also highlights of the setlist, which implies THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE‘s show coming to an end with ‘Leaving Tonight’.
A well-deserved special mention to tour manager Eelco de Gee, who also took over the duties of roadie while the bands set up and did a great job as a lighting engineer, as well! This configuration of the #FemaleMetalVoicesTour2017 has already come to an end and they certainly seem to have had lots of fun, on and off stage, as this “end-of-tour picture” shows:
Did you catch these awesome bands on their tour together? What was your favorite moment? Tell us in the comments! And if you want to be part of the experience of the concerts we attend, make sure you follow our Instagram and check out our Stories!