Attending a release show is always something special. Hearing the songs of a new album the first time live is always a unique experience. How will they be like on stage? How will be the stage show? With that thoughts in mind, I began my travel from Munich to Bochum: 5 ½ hours of travelling on the train ahead of me. Everything went fine and so I arrived 2 hours before the official entrance at the venue. Nevertheless, there was already a small crowd in front of the location. So I had little chat with the people. It was my first time at the Matrix in Bochum, so I didn’t have any clue what the venue was like. Small, big, how will be the acoustic? I learned that the Matrix was an old beer store and the hall where the concert took place was the old storage room for beer barrels. The room was described as small but long.
The waiting time went over really fast, despite the cold temperatures. And so, it seemed like minutes instead of hours until the light turned out and the first band began to play. Xandria invited two bands for their release shows: Metaprism from the UK and Vlad in Tears from Berlin.
Metaprism was the first band of the evening. I never heard of that band before, so I was really excited. They got me from the first tune on and the crowd next to me, too. The trademark of Metaprism is the combination of the clear female vocals from Theresa Smith and Joey Drapers dark aggressive shouts and growls giving the music a kind of beauty and the beast style. The show was really fast and energetic and everyone jumped and shouted and banged their heads. Unfortunately, the set was over way to fast, but it was a good start into the evening. Surely, a band to have an eye on in the future.
After some short re-arrangements, Vlad in Tears entered the stage. I have never heard of that band before as well. Shortly after the first tunes, you realized that the band had already some live performances completed. They animated the crowd to sing along, to jump and dance. The look and the stage performance remembered me of the band HIM.
Moreover, we had to wait until everything on the stage was replaced and prepared for Xandria’s set. The stage was not the biggest one, so you started to think how the band will move on the stage with half of the stage covered already with Gerrit’s drum kit and the flags.
After a felt eternity, the light went out and the first Xandria tunes started. And the crowd was exploding. For the next one and half hours, you got a stage performance at its best. It is every time a pleasure to see this band playing. You can always see that the band has fun on stage and how the reaction from the crowd animates the band to give everything they have. Steven spun over the whole stage, Gerrit threshed on his drum kit like a wild animal and Marco and Phillip played one great riff after the other. And then you have of course Dianne with her unique stage performance. Her stage presence is totally different to any other singer I know. Her gestures and facial expressions were marvelous and sometimes you had the feeling you were not on Metal concert but at the Opera. One highlight of the set was the performance of “We are murders (we all)”. Steven and Marco took over the part of Björn Strid and they animated the crowd to sing with them. And everyone did so. You could even see Dianne’s first head banging try out. But if I have to guess she wasn’t really comfortable with that. So we will see if she would do that again. But then there were other songs like “Call of destiny” were Dianne felt more comfortable and she could show everything she has to offer on stage. Facial expressions, gestures, even a few dance moves. The crowd hailed every speech and every tune frenetically. It was the first time I heard Steven making some of the announcements, like introducing the other band members. But it was really funny and I hope that he will do this more often. The show went over way too fast and so you didn’t wonder that the crowd wanted to have more songs then they have on their set list. But the new songs are really good to play live. You can count on that you will hear some of them live in future set lists. One tiny demerit was that they didn’t invite some of the guest singers from her album, which I had hoped for after they announced some special guests. But maybe the next time. All in all, you can say that it was a really amazing night and if you have the chance to attend a show you should definitely go. You won’t be disappointed.