Location: ‘Islington Academy’, London (England)
Date: 9th September, 2015
Bands: Powerwolf, Orden Ogan, Xandria
3 hours before the scheduled opening of the ‘Islington Academy’, a sizeable crowd has already gathered at its entrance, most sporting Powerwolf apparel…some even with Powerwolf-inspired make-up. So when Powerwolf’s Falk Maria Schlegel approaches them, the fans are all too pleased to reciprocate his greetings.
Orden Ogan and Xandria are opening this Powerwolf tour and having followed Xandria intermittently for a few years, I’m particularly interested in seeing the band prove their mettle in a live scenario. None of the 3 bands have I previously seen live, but all that is about to change…..
When compared to the studio-recordings, live performances sometimes paint a different picture of a band and its music. And I must say that in this respect Xandria exceeded my expectations. Surprisingly strong riffs and catchy melodies effortlessly hooked the audience in who responded enthusiastically.
Just as I imagined, lead vocalist Dianne van Giersbergen proved to be an excellent singer. From start to end of the performance, her singing was unfalteringly spot-on while her friendly demeanour fostered a strong crowd rapport. Another revelation for me was the talent of guitarist Philip Restemeier….I’ve got to play closer attention to his axework next time I spin my Xandria CDs.
‘Cursed’ seemed to be a particularly strong crowd-pleaser. But set opener ‘Nightfall’ – from the band’s recent “Sacrificium” album – was also excellently delivered. I also loved the neo-classical vibe of the 2 new songs that Xandria played – ‘Voyage Of The Fallen’ and ‘Unembraced’. If the band’s forthcoming album sounds anything like these 2 numbers, then I’m in for a treat.
Perhaps originality was not one of the set’s main attractions but this was undoubtedly a strong performance. I was a bit surprised at how well the crowd received Xandria but I think that reaction was well deserved.
Blood On My Hands
Voyage Of The Fallen
I had heard some songs off their “To The End” album of 2012 but before this gig I was relatively new to the music of Orden Ogan. Despite the band’s ‘barbarian-style’ attire, to my ears Orden Ogan are essentially a Hard Rock band in the vein of Takara. The band’s music was musically less heavy than I imagined it would be, more melodic.
The impression I got from the Germans’ performance was of generic-sounding songs. Excellent stage-act, decent delivery but as far as the material itself went, nothing out of this world.
Sebastian ‘Seeb’ Levermann’s singing was powerful and ideally suited for melodic Rock. His humorous banter with the audience further augmented the feel-good atmosphere that pervaded Orden Ogan’s show. ‘Ravenhead’ and ‘The Things We Believe In’ had me instinctively nodding my head and partaking in the festive vibe.
Orden Ogan’s show was a generation-crossing crowd-pleaser.
Set-list (prone to corrections):
Deaf Among the Blind
We Are Pirates
The Lords of the Flies
Here At The End Of The World
Sorrow Is Your Tale
The Things We Believe In
Powerwolf are no strangers to England and seem to have established a loyal following over here. To be honest, my prior impression was of a slightly overrated band but tonight I approach the performance with a clean slate of mind.
After Orden Ogan depart, Powerwolf’s crew add to the stage props to make maximum use of the area available and indeed the band’s performance turns out to be highly entertaining. The set stopped by all of Powerwolf’s albums from the band’s 2nd full-length until the recent “Blessed & Possessed”. ‘Cardinal Sin’ was played for the first time in England. But the loudest crowd reaction was for ‘Coleus Sanctus’, ‘Lupus Dei’ and set closer ‘All We Need Is Blood’. A lot of the songs tended to have elaborate intros which sort of helped in creating a sense of anticipation for the actual material.
Band presentation and stage presence were top-notch and there was a great co-ordination between lights, props and the band’s actual performance. Musically, however, I was struggling to share the audience’s enthusiasm…..until ‘Let There Be Night’ came on around half-way through their set. That was when I got roped into the general frenzy and joined the crowd in cheering and applauding. Special mention goes to Roel van Helden for an impressive drum solo before the rest of the band rejoined him to play ‘Dead Boys Don’t Cry’.
The material delivered might not have been consistently impressive but Powerwolf were superlatively entertaining tonight.
Blessed & Possessed
Amen and Attack
Army Of The Night
Resurrection by Erection
Dead Boys Don’t Cry
Let There Be Night
Werewolves Of Armenia
In The Name Of God
We Drink Your Blood
Sanctified with Dynamite (encore)
All We Need Is Blood (encore)
Words and photos (except tour poster) by Chris Galea.