The end of the Netherlands, but the beginning of an amazing evening…

Alarion CD release show supported by two Dutch kickass bands, End of the Dream and La Ventura

If you look back in time, how many concerts you’ve attended so far, where the line-up was just perfect? The main band you go there should be of course awesome, but what about the support bands? I had a journey where I had to travel for over 7 hours by car and to my bad, there was a lot of bad weather on our way to Zoetermeer which is a nice town between Utrecht and Den Haag. From my hometown you cross complete Germany as well as the Netherlands. 

As we arrived at the venue, we saw fans standing in front of the door. We recognized some fans of all three bands by their shirts.
Nothing is so much chaotic than standing in the line for the press entrance and the girl in the box office doesn’t find your name on the list, but you already know your name MUST be on it, because you have to do an interview before the show starts.
Friends told us in the Boerderij Zoetermeer it’s the same with presslist every time, so we accepted the fact she wouldn’t let us in and contacted the tour manager who was very friendly and helpful.

Finally, we could go in and I have to admit that I really liked it.  It was really a nice small venue. To get to the stage you needed to go upstairs which guaranteed you a bit more silence and calmness. Even if the bands hadn’t much merchandise they had a place outside of the stage room so you didn’t need to yell at the sellers which is pretty nice. So except the fact that situation at the entrance was chaotic they had a very good organization.
The nice tour manager took us backstage with him , where Irene Jansen was waiting for the interview we had planned to do with her. We had a nice little chat before and got to know each other a bit better before the interview was started. That helped a lot to calm the atmosphere down and prepare ourselves.

While we were busy talking with Irene about her career and anything else the opener act La Ventura started to play their first tunes for the evening. For me it was a bit unlucky that La Ventura opened the evening because I never saw them before, but I had to miss some songs. But you can be sure it won’t be the last time I will go a show of that band.

The show started with the song “Carry on” from their latest EP “La Ventura 2.0 – A new Chapter”, which is in my opinion a cool opener. It starts slowly, but continues very heavy and represents the band very well, so you know what you’ve to expect from them for the upcoming 9 songs.

It’s not common that the opening band plays 10 songs. The support and the headliner played only 8 songs each, but this evening was something special as I have already told you at the beginning.

La Ventura went on with “White Crow” from the same titled album. At the beginning of the song, you might think: “Oh come on, not again a ballad!”, but as you will realize quickly it is anything else than a ballad. I would say together with “Song for an idiot” it is one of the heaviest songs by La Ventura and it is also kind of an ear catcher … You can sing along after hearing the first tunes, even if you don’t know the song.

If you want to “Cry”, because you realized driving to Zoetermeer for this evening was the best decision you’ve ever made, now would be the best moment. To be honest the song “Cry” from the album “A new beginning” was the first song I’ve really heard live this evening, because we finished our interview and Irene guided us downstairs to the stage. The tunes from the song are very sad, but you don’t need to expect anything else from a song with this title.

“Brave Man” as number 4 on the setlist was totally bassy and hard at the beginning. The voice of Carla van Huizen was hidden behind the bass of Mike Saffrie, but the longer you listened to the song the more Carla put herself out of the instruments and build up the golden centre of the band. 

They went on with a quite keyboard solo. Afterwards, it was time for their quietest and most smoothly song with the name “Trefoil”, for which they released a music video back in 2007 when they started with La Ventura.

If you imagine, how long such a nice band has already existed, but still isn’t that well-known in the metal scene, it makes a music lover like me sad. In my lowly opinion, they are very underrated which is up to us to change in the near future.

“Human Vanity” as a more melodic song with diehard and dark guitar riffs which brought every head to bang. Followed by “As I lay dying” and “Falling down” you could feel the atmosphere burning. There are not much bands out there who can show you only by their performance, how happy they are with every gig they could do. If you know La Ventura a bit better, you will agree with me, Carla and the guys are so heart warmed and lovely people, who are happy about the smallest kind of support you give them even if it’s a share on the social media. With “Time and time again” the evening turned again in a really powerful one, because it’s a hard and difficult song with a special meaning.

Last song on La Ventura’s set list which was the longest set list by songs from the evening is their most well-known song “Song for an Idiot” for which they also have a music video on YouTube. This is a song you’ll never get out of your head if heard once … and to be honest … Isn’t there at least one person that pops up directly within your head you can dedicate this song to? So don’t be an idiot, support La Ventura!

Another plus point goes out to the break times between the bands … they had a perfect length. You could go to the toilet, get something to drink or have a small chat with your neighbours without getting interrupted by the first tunes of the next band.

Speaking about the next band we come to End of the Dream, a young band from s’ Hertogenbosch between Eindhoven and Tilburg fronted by the prettiest blue haired girl next to Alissa White-Gluz, Micky Huijsmans.

The 20-years-old girl has such a powerful voice which she proved directly in the first song “Colder” from their album “All I am”.  It isn’t the first time I saw them performing live, but whenever I see them, I’m really flashed and surprised how amazing her voice is.

If you think that Within Temptation or Evanescence are really good bands then you should definitely  check out End of the Dream. They are a mix between this two bands but so much better.

The next  song was “Follow the Angels” and is a perfect example for the statement just made. Close your eyes and only listen to this song  and you have the picture of Amy Lee in your mind. What a surprise that Micky told me in our interview once, that she got inspired by Amy Lee and the old Evanescence.

They went on with the album title song “All I am” as a totally rock song with unusual acoustic guitar riffs at the end of the refrain, but it makes you bang your head a lot because it’s like a force.

Time for a little bit weird atmosphere in the venue … time for “Shadow’s Embrace” and its creepy keyboard which reminds me about a soundtrack every time, but with the heavy and dark guitar sound you are forced to  shake your head a bit at least.

The next song “Collide” is the symphonic heart piece of the album and everyone that stood in front of the stage started dreaming. The violin together with the Micky’s calmly voice makes you fall deep into a daydream. The crowd was awakened by the next song “Away” which starts with Guitar and drums followed by the sustained words of Micky.

A little bit sad was the fact that Micky announced the last song “Dark Reflection”, but it wasn’t the last time you saw Micky on stage this evening. As she told us, Alarion has planned a special song together with all females of the evening. We were curious. Suitable to the fact for being the last song, “Dark Reflection” has a deep and sad instrumental part which includes also dark guitar riffs and her voice sounds more dramatic than in all the other songs before. But that’s exactly what you expect from an end of the set list. End of the Dream really knew what they were doing and it’s always a pleasure to visit a show.  Not at least due to Micky’s education at the Metal Factory in Eindhoven and her teacher Marcela Bovio who is also very impressed by them and proud to have such an awesome and talented student.

You may know the sentence: “The best comes for last”. In this case I can’t say this, because it was simply impossible to pick out one band which was the best at this evening.

But for now, Alarion completed the evening.

3rd of June 2016 was the Release date of their current album “Waves of Destruction” with a special guest for this evening. No one else as the beautiful sister of Nightwish’s Floor Jansen – Irene Jansen. 

Beforehand, I have to admit that I often had the feeling to have Floor directly in front of me, not by the voice but more by the looks. The sisters are very similar to each other and they can’t deny they are siblings.

I was positive surprised that Irene came directly on stage to perform together with the other guys the album title song “Wave of Destruction I + II”. As I heard the album first, I only recognized Irene’s voice in the song “Turn of fate” which was performed twice at the evening. Acoustic and all the females of the evening together like Micky announced it after their set, that was a very nice special offer. I mean, who doesn’t like duets?

The second song of the set list which included 9 songs in general was “Chains of the Collective”. A catchy song of which you can sing the refrain days after show again and again in your head. It doesn’t get away from you.

They switched to acoustic instruments and performed Irene’s “Turn of Fate”, the quietest song on the album with a nice calmly instrument part at the beginning and even if she hadn’t performed it in acoustic, it would be very calmly and dreamy. You have the feeling you hear the old After Forever in front of you, because in “Turn of Fate” her voice sounds like her sisters which makes the song especially for all the After Forever fans to the highlight of the evening.

The next song was “Clash with Eternity” which also could have been written for a movie. Very quiet and slow, but the beautiful voice of Irene compared with the violin of Sophie Zaaijer gives us time to relax and simply enjoy music.

The next song “Colourblind” is sadly the last song with the violin and Sophie. Finally, there is again a song where you can bang your head and of which the chorus stays in your mind. Paul Glandorf and Irene Jansen are a very good music couple and both voices fit very well together, especially in this song. 

The whole time the keyboard was not staffed, but now there came Erik Laan for playing “A Life Less Ordinary”. The long intro made us very curious about the song. In general the whole album is more for enjoying instead of head banging.

Concluding, we got to hear the two parts of “The Whistleblower”, part one as a 1 minute track but part 2 is the longest track with 10 minutes, what was really hard to enjoy, but maybe it’s only because I don’t like long tracks in general.

As the first of two encores we got the song “Estrangement”. It’s like an intro without singing, only around one-minute instrument part. That was a nice diversion.

Last but not least the normal version of “Turn of Fate” was ready to be performed on stage. Carla van Huizen, Micky Huijsmans , Paul Glandorf and Irene Jansen on vocals and Sophie Zaaijer on violin. All female musicians united on stage – you can imagine what a joy it was to listen to this, especially if you like that song the most on the album.

But as you may know all good things come to an end, but I swear to you it was an evening we all won’t forget anymore and the fact I can write about the evening like it was yesterday proofs that!

To sum it up – it is pure madness which bands are from the Netherlands: Epica, Within Temptation, After Forever only to name the most famous bands. But all three bands from this evening didn’t splash out by quality. I am sure, more great evenings will follow, so if you didn’t join this one, ensure you will be part of the next.