We know Female Metal Event (or FemME) as a festival that chooses its line-up from female-fronted and other metal bands with female members, since 2014. It takes place in Eindhoven, a gorgeous town in the middle of the Netherlands. After a few huge bands like ARCH ENEMY in 2016 and LACUNA COIL in 2015 honored the festival with their performances, the headliner for 2017 is DELAIN. Beside them, MAYAN, ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN, and many more bands entertain the audience in four days.
Thursday’s “Pre-Party” with four bands?!
We arrived on Thursday, ready for the pre-party, organized in partnership with Dutch record label Painted Bass Records. It takes place at Dynamo, a famous rock venue with two different stages, in the center of Eindhoven. Even though it is only a “pre-party”, four bands are scheduled to play the small stage: BENEATH MY SINS, CIRCLE UNBROKEN, SHADOW RISE aaand, as the surprise of the day, the wonderful ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN with her acoustic solo show. Originally, END OF THE DREAM were the day’s headliners, but a few days before the festival, the band canceled due to personal reasons. It’s a great pleasure to see Anneke replace them. Her warm voice and guitar-playing are amazing, create a moving atmosphere in front of the small stage and give us goosebumps. Her high acceptance in the scene also shows at the signing session after the gig. And we can see why! She takes a lot of time to get in touch with the fans and has a heartfelt smile for everyone.
The evening itself feels more like a warm-up concert than a party. After the last gig, almost everyone goes back to their sleeping accommodations to be prepared for the next day. Nonetheless, it was a great chance to meet old friends again, have a chat and warm welcome with everyone we’ve met the years before at the festival.
FemME 2017: Painted Bass Records pre-party at DYNAMO
19:00 Doors open
19:30-20:10 Beneath my Sins
20:30-21:10 Circle Unbroken
End of the Dream replaced by Anneke Van Giersbergen
Day 1: Steffi is not impressed.
And so, Friday is the first ‘real’ festival day. The location is once again Dynamo, but this time both stages are operating. The headliner of the day is MAYAN, and except for them, I honestly know no other band on the billing. It seems that FemME caters more to a “young-female-fronted-band”-supporter than a who-is-who-meeting of the scene. Also the name Female Metal EVENT seems to be getting lost. In previous editions of FemME, there was a fashion show by Ingeborg Steenhorst, who designs the stage outfits for giants like EPICA and LACUNA COIL. That made the festival a special event. This year there are some stands for labels, magazines, and a foundation. But nothing more. That’s stuff you find at any other festival too.
The (for me, Steffi) unknown bands are, of course, a good chance to explore music! Especially VETRAR DRAUGURINN (a complicated name which means ‘winter ghost’) is a very positive surprise for me and impress on stage. MAYAN performs in a tour constellation which includes Marcela Bovio and Laura Macri’s impressive soprano voices but sadly excludes project founder Mark Jansen and Henning Basse’s amazing vocals. Adam Denlinger fills in for the latter but makes Kiki miss the original vocalist. The grunts are provided by George Oosthoek and Marcela – yes, the Netherlands-based Mexican vocalist can do anything and everything!
FemME Day 1 at DYNAMO
15:00 Doors open
16:25-17:25 Viper Solfa
18:15-19:15 Weeping Silence
19:20-20:00 Dream Ocean
20:05-21:05 For I Am King
21:10-21:50 Vetrar Draugurinn
The afterparty takes place at The Jack, a small, cozy pub in Eindhoven. Besides the audience, also some musicians come along for one or two beers together. – Steffi
Day 2: Back at Effenaar for a festival day.
On Saturday we have no rush and are able to sleep in a little before going to the second venue of this year’s festival, that wants to take over the whole city of Eindhoven with its future editions. If organizer Ton Dekkers‘ plans come to fruition, Female Metal Event will go back to incorporating more than music and cover more locations with fashion and other arts all around town.
The first band we see on the large Effenaar-stage is EDGE OF PARADISE, the LA-based band around Margarita Monet. We have written about one of EDGE OF PARADISE‘s albums and were planning an interview with them for some time, but seeing them on stage was, of course, the real thing. The guys and girl obviously have a lot of fun together on stage and singer Margarita impresses with her long hair and unusual stage outfit – which includes pieces of mirror glued to her chest.
BEYOND GOD are up next on the small stage but it’s the performance of THEATRES DES VAMPIRES that stays in our minds worse than a bad earworm, eating at our brains. “Sex sells” is not a comment one normally hears as a negative remark from men, but the whole thing didn’t really appeal to me either. One band, we’ve absolutely been looking forward to seeing perform is the Tunisian PERSONA. After meeting them at last year’s festival, we’ve been keeping an eye on them and PERSONA‘s latest album “Metamorphosis” blew our minds away – as did their live show at Effenaar. Although the band’s shorthanded due to visa problems of some band members, the two guitarists, the drummer and Jelena‘s voice and charm are all it takes to rock the audience’s socks off.
And then came
Kex-KRYPTERIA AND THEN SHE CAME, full of energy and quickly getting the crowd to sing along. It’s great to see these cool musicians back on stage and we hope to see more of them soon. Next up is a band with such professional looking musicians that one would never guess it’s PHANTOM ELITE‘s first ever live gig – but what else could we expect from a band that was hand-picked by ex-AFTER FOREVER’s Sander Gommans himself. The absolute highlight of the gig is, of course, the super talented frontwoman Marina LaTorraca with her wide vocal range and wonderful charisma. Since there’s no official bass-player in PHANTOM ELITE, we have an honorable mention to whom I’ve lovingly dubbed “bassist baby-face”.
When the day’s headliner, DELAIN, steps onto the stage we can’t help but see Charlotte Wessels‘ colorful fake-fur jacket and her signature mic-stand – and get instantly energized. Guitarist Merel Bechtold is not only looking gorgeous as well but super badass with her awesome guitar skills. Of course, the guys in the band look handsome, too, and all together, they start rocking the crowd with classics from their ten-year-career like ‘Control the Storm’ and ‘Sleepwalkers Dream’, as well as new songs like ‘The Glory and the Scum’ and the set-opener ‘Hands of Gold’. This is the high point of the whole festival though, which makes us wonder if DELAIN really is worth organizing a 4-day-festival full of small bands…
FemME Day 2 at EFFENAAR
14:00 Doors open
14:30-15:20 Amberian Dawn
16:05-17:05 Edge Of Paradise
17:10-17:50 Beyond God
17:55-18:55 Theatres des Vampires
19:45-20:55 And Then She Came
21:00-21:40 Phantom Elite
23:20-00:00 Revolution Eve
Day 3: What?! Female Metal Event isn’t over yet?!
We’re too old for this stuff! After three days of the festival, the only survivor is our youngest team member, Steffi. Pia and I struggle to have breakfast in bed, while our editor in her early twenties hops all over the hotel room. Which reminds me, thank all of the gods that we booked a comfy hotel room instead of the Airbnb-accommodations of the past years – as I said, we’re too old for this stuff.
But the weather is lovely and after a nice shower and a heavy layer of makeup to cover the rings under our eyes, we take a walk in the sun towards the third and final venue, Blue Collar Theater. After passing through a small but nice-looking neighborhood fair, I recognize Klokgebouw from EPICA’s tenth-anniversary concert Retrospect and realize we’re going to another venue in the same building. And then we spot, a T-rex on a bicycle:
We hear great comments about the day’s opener ANN MY GUARD, whom we had to miss for a very interesting interview with AEVERIUM and Micky Huijsmans, and Claire-Lyse von Dach‘s voice is a wonderful companion during our meal. But it’s AEVERIUM that everybody’s waiting to see – “waiting” is the operating word here. All performers have been running late today, but AEVERIUM‘s start is more than a whole hour later than planned and you can see vocalist Marcel aka. Chubby slowly getting in a bad mood because of this. Good thing the Blue Collar Theater sells food, for indeed some people decide to take their dinner break early.
AEVERIUM‘s show is still pretty cool, with guest string duo Zuzana Leharovà on violin and LYRIEL’s Linda Laukamp on cello. END OF THE DREAM’s Micky Huijsmans fills in for the German band’s singer Aeva Maurelle, who sadly couldn’t be here tonight. Micky will also return to the stage later with today’s headliner SNAKE BITE LOVE. But since the dinner break is still taking place before continuing with the performances in spite of an hour-long setup/soundcheck break, we give into our exhaustion and start walking the way home.
All in all, it was a nice Sunday but if it wasn’t for AEVERIUM‘s gig and the lovely company back at the hotel bar, we could have done without the FemME Acoustic day.
FemME Acoustic day at BLUE COLLAR THEATER
14:00 Doors open
15:00-15:40 Ann my Guard (Theater stage)
16:05-16:45 Claire-Lyse von Dach (Theater stage)
17:10-18:00 Aeverium (Theater stage)
18:00-19:15 Dinner break
19:15-20:05 Iamthemorning (Theater stage)
20:40-21:30 Snake Bite Love (Theater stage)
Of course, we enjoyed this year’s Female Metal Event but that was mainly due to the “big family reunion” it is, also as a substitute for Metal Female Voices Fest. So we hope the organizers rethink the concept and get a better billing for next year so that it draws as many visitors as it needs to keep happening. We talked about our lovely community of supporters of women in metal on our podcast and we hope to see everybody again next year! – Kiki
Were you there, too? What did you think about the festival? Tell us in the comments, we love to hear from you!