[AUTHOR'S NOTE: Major apologies in advance to Sonata Arctica, as due to time constraints, I was unable to witness their performance. As a fan of their music, I would have loved to have seen them but a concert mid-week, with work the next day, was not in my favor but I am asking for a rain check, if they see this!]
As an unpaid writer in this crazy world known as rock-n-roll, most of the time it comes down to stating how appreciative I am (as a fan) to witness greatness. That has never been more evident than the show on Thursday, where I was witness to three bands that you, my reader, know nothing about (unless you’ve been HERE before). The venue, Stage48 in Manhattan, was the site of my first-ever, pre-concert “meet-and-greet”, which is why the above disclaimer has been posted.
Upon arrival at the site, before the concert, I had the honor and privilege of meeting the headlining act, Sonata Arctica, five guys from Finland who have really blown the roof off the musical industry with their latest release, “Pariah’s Child” (Post # CCII, Saturday Spotlight # 21 for my review of said album). All five members of the band were very gracious with all of the VIPs who paid the extra money to have the chance to have the photo-ops and autographs that were provided.
Personally, it was a humbling experience for me, as upon getting to them, I proceeded to further network by informing them PERSONALLY of my review of the album, which was followed by handing ALL of them my card (which they graciously accepted and mentioned they would check it out) before my dear friend, Brian (who sent me the info about the show months before, allowing me the opportunity to obtain VIP ticket) took the photo; that photo, although not posted here, is available to peruse on my Facebook page and is a memory I will cherish forever!
As far as the show itself, which started at about 7:00 PM, the lineup was a blast of progressive/symphonic metal bliss; a rookie band making their debut appearance named Syntilla (who, despite having a female lead vocalist also making HER debut, acted like they had done this for years), symphonic metal icons Xandria and Delain, as well as the aforementioned headliners Sonata Arctica.
Syntilla was the opening act and, as I just mentioned, they really rocked the early crowd (sorry, no set lists) and all five members of this up-and-coming band performed so well together that you would never have guessed that it was their debut. On an interesting side note, the one song that they mentioned the title of, called “Breathless as You Die”, was a brilliant composition, as far as sounds are concerned. They also blew me away during their sound check, as they performed an entire cover of Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper”, which told me right there that they belonged in the scene. Hopefully, the sky will be the limit for these neophytes and I wish them the best in their endeavors.
Xandria, the second act, is touring in promotion with their latest release, “Sacrificium”, and this female-fronted symphonic metal quintet was nothing short of spectacular. Vocalist Dianne van Giersbergen was very attuned to the crowd and really performed like a diva should and was a beautiful operatic voice which complimented the band perfectly. Performing their classics like “Blood on My Hands” and “Forevermore” (from their release, “Neverworld’s End”), they were a brilliant prelude to the final act of the night.
The third act of the night, who have previously been mentioned on this blog, was the awesome symphonic metal juggernauts known as Delain, who were promoting their latest release, “The Human Contradiction” (reviewed here as Saturday Spotlight Vol. XX). This Dutch quintet really showed why they have an almost ten year career in the industry, performing their classic hits such as “Electricity” (which is one of my personal favs), “Mother Machine” and the title track from their album “We Are The Others”, as well as two tracks from their latest; “Army of Dolls” and “Stardust” (which was the first video from the newest release). Vocalist Charlotte Wessels’ angelic voice was, as usual, right on point and we hope to see much more from these giants in the future.
Now, for another apology to the headliners, with the combination of having work the next day AND the fact that I had to make arrangements to head to my hometown of Jersey City across the river, I regretfully had to make my way to said location for work yesterday. In doing so, I did not witness the main act, Sonata Arctica, who were their promoting the previously mentioned “Pariah’s Child”.
On a final note, meeting Sonata Arctica was a blast and I do wholeheartedly wish that an opportunity arises to witness this Finnish quintet perform, as they have an almost twenty year career in the genre.
OVERALL: Syntilla **** / Xandria ***** / Delain ***** / Sonata Arctica N/A
/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\