Delain – Koko, London – 1st November 2017

Tonight’s gig is sold out, and fans are there early – as I arrived the queue stretched off way into the distance, and it’s no surprise. Delain are growing in popularity and have steadily moved up to bigger venues, and after selling out Koko twice recently I think it’s likely the next time they play London will be in a bigger venue. Tonight though it’s not just about Delain – they’ve got Nightwish’s Marco Hietala guesting with them, and have two great support acts – Serenity and Cellar Darling.

Despite the doors opening late and there not being long till Cellar Darling hit the stage, security did a good job of getting people in quickly and there was a nice big crowd already when Cellar Darling came on. Formed by Anna Murphy and a couple of other members of Eluveitie when they split from the band, Cellar Darling released their very impressive debut album earlier this year. I saw the band play live at the end of last year when they supported Anneke van Giersbergen in Amsterdam, but tonight’s show showed how much the band has come on since then – they really are sounding fantastic now. It’s nice to hear Anna Murphy doing the vocals as I always felt her voice was under-utilised in Eluveitie. As with her time in Eluveitie, the hurdy gurdy brings a distinctive and unusual sound to the music. It’s a great performance and a fantastic start to the night.

Next up were Serenity. I’ve seen them a half a dozen times over the years and they never disappoint. Georg Neuhauser has a great voice but just as important is a natural showman, which is what you need when fronting a band. The rest of the band are as tight as always. They have a female guest vocalist with them who joins them on stage for part of the set for those songs that use female vocals. Serenity seem to have a different female vocalist with them almost every time I see them but they always choose a great singer.
Tonight’s set includes three songs from the new album, Lionheart alongside some classics from earlier albums. It’s a great set and the new material sounds fantastic. Serenity are back in London in the new year, headlining the Underworld.

Finally it was time for Delain. For this tour they have Nightwish bassist Marco Hietala with them. Marco has appeared on several Delain albums providing growling vocals but this is the first time he’s joined them on tour. Delain recently celebrated their 10th anniversary (just released on DVD), and are a band that seem to be going from strength to strength with each album better than the last and every live show being flawless. Charlotte is a fantastic singer and is so good at interacting with the crowd that it makes the show so much more enjoyable. What really strikes me with Delain though is how much fun they all look to be having on stage as they joke with each other and they’re constantly laughing and smiling. For the first half of the set it’s a typical great Delain show, but then they bring out Marco and take things up a notch.
Marco is a great performer and freed from the bass he’s able to demonstrate this more than he does in Nightwish. I’ve seen Delain a lot and normally one of the band does the growling vocals or on a number of occasions they’ve had George Oosthoek join them, but with Marco it just feels even more special.
It’s a fantastic set but all too soon it’s over, but after a short break they’re back for an encore. Ending the night with “The gathering” wasn’t a great surprise, although the omission of “we are the others” from the set was a surprise. Another surprise was the inclusion of a cover version – the Queen hit, “Scandal”, which sounded great.

A fantastic night of music – all three bands were great, giving fans great value for money and a thoroughly entertaining night.

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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.