Amazing gig of two powerful women and their bands.
The great things about small concert venues are the closeness of the artists to the crowd and the chance to meet the bands before and after the gig – this kind of intimacy that big halls just don’t give. Unfortunately, these kinds of venues often have only small stages; the lighting isn’t that great and even the sound may leave a lot to wish for.
The “Underground” in Cologne is one of those venues. Today it is packed, which means that I have to watch the concert from the merchandise stand, in order to keep a little personal space. With a stage less than a meter above the ground and no photo pit, the photographers are challenged to some heroic acts of contortionism to get some decent pictures. The sound is good, though (or so I think through my ear protectors – safety first, people!).
What can I say about STREAM OF PASSION’s performance? They always give their best, no matter the size of the stage. They’re so pleasant to watch, these good-looking Dutchies and Mexican, with their tons of energy, head banging and jumping. They perform mostly songs of their newly released album “A War Of Our Own”, which are amazing, but, being a fan and all, I missed a few of the titles from “Darker Days”. But my heart is won, when guitarist Stephan Schultz peeks out of his corner of the stage to look in my direction (meaning, towards the entrance, past the merch-stand) and winks at me – don’t tell my boyfriend, but it was H-O-T!
STREAM OF PASSION say their goodbyes and even before they can load their stuff off the stage, front lady Marcela is already greeting fans, signing pictures and selling t-shirts – that’s what I call good musician manners. Meanwhile XANDRIA have gotten on stage and kick off their show with their single ‘Nightfall’. This is my first time seeing singer Dianne van Giersbergen live and I’m very impressed with her operatic performance that’s still pretty kick-ass. She interacts charismatically with the crowd and literally performs with her whole body. I’m a little surprised when I hear former singer Manuela Kraller’s voice resonating in form of backing vocal samples, but it harmonizes nicely with Dianne’s live singing, because both vocalists sing operatically.
Since I personally didn’t really like all of the new XANDRIA-album, I have to say I enjoy the (slightly) older material a lot more, with the exception of the band’s classic ‘Ravenheart’, which, in Dianne’s extremely operatic style, sounds quite forced. The new songs of the band already stroke me as a little too long on the record and at the concert they seem even longer: if I can go to the toilet and back and the band’s still playing the same song – well I’m bored!
All in all a great performance: the guys really enjoy themselves and transmit tons of energy to the crowd that sings along; Dianne impresses with her talents as a singer – and jeweler (she crafted her headpiece herself, al well as two necklaces made of bass guitar strings that are for sale tonight) and the fans leave humming happily. As for me, I am always glad to see Dutch musicians and more so to catch up a little with the charming XANDRIAns.
STREAM OF PASSION set list:
A War of Our Own
In the End
Don’t Let Go
Street Spirit (Radiohead cover)
This Endless Night
XANDRIA set list:
Blood on My Hands
Until the End
Come with Me
The Undiscovered Land
The Nomad’s Crown
Special thanks to Hugues Timmermans for the show pictures and to Mazoche Foto for the one of Dianne’s self-made necklace.