Anneke Van Giesbergen’s VUUR First Headlining show REVIEW!
Anneke Van Giersbergen was poised, charismatic, and down to earth. Two hours before the start of the show where she and her new formed band Vuur are going to headline for the first time, we left the tour bus where an in-depth interview has just taken place (find out all about it here). “It’s unbelievable” I said to myself “Unbelievable that a mega star like Anneke can be that modest and friendly”. I guess sometimes you have to see a person outside of the limelight to discover the human in them. To have a glimpse, only a little one at their true self.
Interview with Anneke Van Giersbergen of Vuur - Ep 1 - Metal Bell Podcast! For our very first episode of ... LISTEN TO PODCAST
The place is Paris and on a cold and rainy Thursday evening of December, Vuur alongside My Propane and Scar Symmetry were ready to rock the Parisian night. Into the waiting line, I make my way and there to my surprise I meet many fans who came to see Scar Symmetry, a band that I didn’t know beforehand but for sure worth a listen. And for sure, all of Vuur’s fans waiting under rain drops to meet the stars of the night.
The concert started with My Propane, a dark progressive band with one album under their sleeve (Modern Violent Gentleman-2013) with a new release coming soon. Their energy was quite remarkable with interesting melody lines and outstanding musicality. This band is definitely going straight to my Spotify playing list. Unexpected surprise…check!
The next act was the Swedish melodic death metal band Scar Symmetry. This band has a lot to offer: catchy riffs, dreamy melodies, strong growls, and spacy clean voice. By seeing the many die-hard fans in the audience losing it, I could say that Scar Symmetry has built a loyal fan base through the years even if this was the first time they play in Paris for a long time. Metal dose….check!
Then of course, it was time for the one and only Vuur. With their great melody lines, extreme music mastery, the spot on lighting, Vuur had the venue in their pocket!
Anneke, the front woman that she is, moved us all with her powerful, angelic voice proving again why she’s a power player in the metal world. She was on another dimension, moving us through space and time with her voice range and her undeniable presence on stage. She also plays an important role with the string section playing those important chords that add to the orchestra of steel.
But what caught my attention even more was the great harmony and connection between band members. Beginning with Ed Warby behind the drums, the guardian of the rhythm, he was spot on the whole concert bringing fluidity and beat to the sound.
And then there was the string section comprised of Jord Otto (guitars), Ferry Duijsens (guitars), and Johan van Stratum (bass). The energy between those three gentlemen was very satisfying to watch. Goofing on stage, making fun of one another, all while rocking the hell out of their instruments. With great solos of Otto, cut clear bass lines of van Stratum, and hypnotic rhythms of Duijsens, the mix was explosive.
They were not shy to include Anneke into their little stage games. Seeing the band on stage was a privilege. The playing, the amusement, and the stage atmosphere made the concert an extraordinary experience. A night to remember…check!
The setlist included mainly songs from Vuur new album “In this Moment We are Free-Cities”, but the surprise package were songs from “The Gentle Storm” (Anneke’s latest music adventures), a Devin Townsend song (Fallout), and the ending was no other than The Gathering’s signature song “Strange Machine” (for the full setlist, click here*). The only other song that I personally wished to be included was the power ballad “Freedom” from their latest release.
Taking a step back to see the whole picture, it seems that Vuur is one big family: The band members for sure but also lighting technicians, Evert behind the console and Robbin the tour manager who even with a broken hand because of a “stupid accident” (to paraphrase her own words) is around to make sure that it all goes smooth and on schedule for the band.
All in all, Vuur’s concert got the Metal Bell seal of approval! The only downside in my opinion was that there were some empty spots in the concert hall. An event like that really does merit a full house.
After the show, in a generous gesture, the band was at the merchandise booth for their traditional after party meet and greet. I make my way to thank Anneke and the boys for a great evening.
Then again, with a smile, with the lights almost out, and the energy fading away, we exchanged our farewells. The contrast between now and then tremendous just like the warrior’s rest after a glorious fight…. The balance is restored….. This is “Darkness and Light”…..
– By Maher Ajamane
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Dutch vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen is easily one of the hardest working people in music, and an artist that defies being pigeonholed by genre. She will forever be known as the vocalist for melancholic metallers The Gathering, but since striking out on her own in 2007, she has solidified a solo career, recorded and performed multiple times with Canadian metal genius Devin Townsend, launched the prog rock band The Gentle Storm, and recorded an album with Icelandic folk group Árstíðir. This has provided Anneke with a huge catalogue to choose from as a live performer, but it has also created a certain amount of confusion amongst her fans which has led to the creation of a new band, VUUR, a new band that features some of the best heavy metal players in the Netherlands.
In early 2016, Anneke decided for the sake of clarity to narrow her musical focus, choosing to go in a folk acoustic direction as a solo artist and in a heavy progressive metal direction as a band vocalist. The name VUUR – translated from Dutch as “fire”, which can also be interpreted to mean “passion” or “drive” – was chosen as a moniker to represent Anneke’s metal side, with the idea that when fans buy a ticket with the VUUR name on it they will be getting her heavy progressive music, while an Anneke van Giersbergen show will be entirely different.
“It’s like I’m searching for contradictions,” Anneke says of splitting her focus in two. “I want the heavy to be really heavy, and the soft acoustic stuff that I can do can be almost silent and inward. I’m trying to find those outer limits. I’m still writing and collaborating with different people, so VUUR’s style is still kind of different from The Gathering and The Gentle Storm. You could say VUUR’s music has the melancholy of The Gathering and certain elements from The Gentle Storm, but it’s darker with fewer folk elements. It’s still melodic and warm, but heavy.”
The Gentle Storm proved to Anneke that fans have been waiting for her to go back to the heavy progressive style of music, which is why VUUR came to be.
VUUR will release their full length debut in the fall of 2017 produced by Joost van den Broek, who will also be involved in some of the writing and arranging. From there the band will hit stages across Europe and beyond. Make no mistake: VUUR is a band and not a project, meaning that Anneke will focus on new material as well as the heavier side of her previous outings.
“I will always play songs from The Gathering and Devin Townsend because I love them,” she says. “I also know for a fact that people want to hear those songs, so I’ll never leave them out. I also have my absolute favourite songs from The Gentle Storm that I will keep playing. I have such a big outlet to choose from nowadays, it’s such a luxurious position to be in. We should look at VUUR as my ultimate heavy outlet. It’s not a project, which is why when we make the setlist it will include the new stuff and my favourites from my catalogue.”
Anneke van Giersbergen – vocals
Ed Warby – drums
Jord Otto – guitars
Ferry Duijsens – guitars
Johan van Stratum – bass
“A once in a life time event” – that is how Mike described this tour once it all started to become a reality. This is a fantasy to every Dream Theater fan since 2010, and it was indeed an incredible gift to us all. Mike Portnoy Shattered Fortress Paris show reviewed below.