Gig review: DELAIN, Evergrey – O2 Ritz, Manchester, 12 November 2016

In May 2013, David Randall chatted to Charlotte Wessels at the time of the release of their first mini-album for Napalm Records,  ‘Interlude’.  Their chat includes references to the early development of the band, the split from the Roadrunner label, and with tracks from the new release including live versions of ‘Get The Devil Out Of Me’ and ‘Invidia’.

First broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, 5 May 2013. (33:48)

DELAIN - O2 Ritz, Manchester, 12 November 2016

In a week that saw a new world order, this three-way package demonstrated that – more than anything – music has the ability to transcend political and cultural boundaries.  Enter a Canadian band, a Swedish band, a Dutch band.  All no doubt benefitting from the weakness of the £1.  Having missed another excellent multi-bill earlier this year (Symphony X/Myrath/Melted Space) the Delain tour had – similarly – much to commend it.

Kobra And The Lotus - O2 Ritz, Manchester, 12 November 2016

With Kobra And The Lotus on at the unearthly hour of 6:30pm this reveals the only downside of such a package, and a barely 30 minute set.  Plus of course, the band is lucky to get in any early hacks, especially if there are guest list mix-ups.

Another gremlin that besets first-on-stage/support bands is poor sound quality and this was no exception.  I know that KATL can deliver on album but here the sound was awfully muddied.  Kobra Paige comes across as a cross between a howling banshee and Doro.  This  was an economical snapshot of the band’s three-album output and with a nod to the forthcoming ‘Prevail I and II’ and the inclusion of ‘Gotham’ and ‘Triggerpulse’.

Evergrey - O2 Ritz, Manchester, 12 November 2016

Evergrey have witnessed something of a renaissance in recent years, starting with the album ‘Hymns For The Broken’ in 2014 and now ‘The Storm Within’ which has received excellent reviews.  Only a couple of the new songs were played tonight, the earliest album referenced was 2004′s The Inner Circle (and ‘A Touch Of Blessing’) with the focus on the past few years which also signalled the return of guitarist Henrik Danhage and drummer Jonas Ekdahl.

Evergrey - O2 Ritz, Manchester, 12 November 2016

This was a quality but all-too-short set (45 mins) but enough time to lap up the delights of ‘Black Undertow’ and ‘King Of Errors’.  Evergrey – like many of their compatriots – are strong on sweeping melody and robust riffage with Rikard Zander providing the characteristic chiming keyboard figures.

Delain - O2 Ritz, Manchester, 12 November 2016

Delain are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their debut album ‘Lucidity’.  When I interviewed Charlotte Wessels, in 2013, they had not long left Roadrunner who evidently wished the band to maintain their commerciality as evidenced on the 2009 album ‘April Rain’.  The first full album for Napalm ‘The Human Contradiction’ received generally positive reviews but there was an overall feeling that the band were still straddling the need for greater invention (and delineation) and a more overtly pop/saccharine approach.

The latest album ‘Moonbathers’ consolidates their output and tonight they proudly (and bravely) played all but two songs.  With the album coming out in the summer there has been plenty of time to get familiar with these tunes and they came over like tried and trusted favourites.

Delain - O2 Ritz, Manchester, 12 November 2016

This was a sumptuous feast of melody, anthemic undertow, and muscular rhythm; a relentless and extended slice of ear candy.  The band can be a little one-paced at times – although the superb ‘The Hurricane’ was a welcome exception – and they can also show a darker, heavier side with a song like ‘Mother Machine’.

The gig turned on two outstanding, earlier, pieces – ‘Stay Forever’ and ‘The Gathering’ – and from then on it was a gallop to avoid the 10pm curfew, as the band rounded off with the infectious ‘Don’t Let Go’ and ‘We Are The Others’.

Delain - O2 Ritz, Manchester, 12 November 2016

Delain are undoubtedly one of the finest exponents of melodic/symphonic/pop metal and 10 years has seen them really hone their craft.  What was particularly impressive: on stage the band never stood still frequently swopping positions and making for a more animated and interesting display.

Topped with Wessel’s fine vocals and engaging personality and the underlying musicality forged not least by keyboard king and founder member Martijn Westerholt this was an object lesson in stagecraft, presentation and, moreover, totally uplifting music.

Review and photos by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

Delain - O2 Ritz, Manchester, 12 November 2016


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Pete Feenstra celebrated his 300th show in October 2019. Pete heads up a five-hour blues rock marathon when “Tuesday is Bluesday” from 19:00 GMT. Listen out also for his interview-based Feature show on Sundays (20:00 GMT)

Power Plays w/c 28 October (Mon-Fri)

COLLATERAL Mr Big Shot (Roulette Media Records)
BABY HUSBAND Stop Thinking About Tomorrow (indie)
OF ALLIES Off The Map (indie)
EXPLORING BIRDSONG The River (indie)
MARISA AND THE MOTHS – Slave (indie)
CATTLE AND CANE I Wish I Knew Jesus (Like I Do)
KING VOODOO Creep (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 28 October (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 UNRULY CHILD Big Blue World (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 REDLINE Gods & Monsters (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 WILDWOOD KIN (Silvertone/Sony)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

MAGNUM Sleepwalking (1992)



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