First time for me tonight at the 02 Academy Islington, not far from the Angel tube station where I join the reasonably young metal crowd queue queuing past the shopping complex. It’s early doors tonight and early curfew tonight – this is a combination I like as it means getting back to Cambridge at a decent hour. So from 6:30 we weave into the venue and on entering the 02 the first thing that hit me was the size – it looked very small for tonight’s line-up calibre – I’m guessing probably only 750 capacity.
Opening the evening are Lost in Thought – melodic progressive metal with a singer who’s almost air raid siren force vocals really stand out. Their material is unfamiliar but they set the scene well.
The first band I was here to see tonight was Austrians Serenity on the strength of their Death & Legacy CD I had a feeling they’d be pretty awesome live. Tonight in an all to short set we are taken on a fast galloping musical race through gothic history with a band that look as if they are straight from the 18th century’s upper class.
I read a comment recently that there won’t be any more great rock frontmen of the likes of Bruce Dickinson or Steven Tyler, tonight Serenity’s George Neuhauser proves that wrong as he commands the crowd with awesome vocal talent and a huge stage presence. Rarely can a support band get the a crowd so pumped up with fist in the air punching. With huge high octane symphonic choruses the band are grinning, the crowd is grinning and something that you don’t normally see at rock gigs – the security is grinning. We are even treated to Lisa Middelhauve (Xandria) joining the band on stage for a couple of numbers including Serenade of Flames.
I only have one Serenity CD and I wish in hindsight I’d used the merch stand opportunity top buy another, still that’s what great about the web. With the collision of symphony and metal Serenity are definitely one of the finest bands I’ve seen.
Most people are here tonight for headliners Delain – after their triumphant set at last years Sonisphere I was keen to see them again. Their crew turn the stage round in a very short period and the lights dim before 9pm for their grand entrance. The band kick off and there is a huge cheer and arms in the air when Charlotte hits the stage every mobile phone in the house seems to be in the air to capture a snap of the moment. She she pretty much has the audience within her hand for the entire show.
With just a couple of albums and not a bad track on them, tonight has the enthusiastic feeling of a greatest hits set – each song greeted with a huge cheer and sounding like a classic. New guitarist Timo Summers is rocking stage left tonight and in a very metal moment bassist Rob Van Der Loo stands on the front box to be blasted by smoke.
We get new tracks – Devil out of me(?) – a heavy pounding metal anthem and another very dark one that didn’t have a title but for tonight they called it Honey. For sure the new album will be tops.
So I head back to Cambridge – what a great night of symphonic metal in London.
Lisa Middelhauve: http://www.myspace.com/mikroschnepfe
Lost In Thought: http://www.myspace.com/officiallostinthought