I'm literally nearly a resident at the Underworld these days. Near enough all the gigs I go to are held there and very handy it is too as long as there's no tube strike on that is! Anyway Friday night was female vocal night at my favourite haunt with the headline set of Germans Xandria being the headline draw. To be honest the new Xandria album has not worked it's magic on me yet. The new singer Dianne is good but I feel the album is a little too boring in places and doesn't have the big melody and class of the previous album with the Tarja clone chick on vocals. Anyway I had my ticket so it was time to see how they fared in a live setting.
I missed the first couple of songs from support band Apparition. I don't think I have heard them before and I won't be desperate to remedy that situation after that insipid live performance. One of the lamest and most bland female fronted bands I have ever had the misfortune to witness. Really bad indeed but that's just my opinion of course. The girl was at least pretty if I look at them though my basest instinct! The gathered throng clapped politely but I don't think they thought much of them at all to be honest. Personally speaking, it was truly awful, sorry!
The Underworld was filling up pretty nicely though and it helped that it was a Friday night and people had the weekend on the horizon. I would guess the audience to be around the 350 mark by the end of the night which is not bad at all really for a band with Xandria's profile.
Second band on the bill were Stream of Passion. Another band I've never gotten into. Their sort of melancholic prog goth tends to bore me. The girl can definitely sing though and she had a sweet and pleasant voice. The band were pretty tight and next to Apparition sounded like world beaters but the rather mundane and slow delivery bores me. I have tried a couple of songs off their new album and it's not my cuppa. They went down very well with the crowd though and there even a few SoP shirts dotted around so they definitely had and won over a few fans.
Finally at 8.30 it was time for the Germans led by a young Dutch woman to take to the stage. The professionality suddenly went up 10 notches as did the sound quality over the PA. The band sounded tight and had big smiles on their faces as Dianne took to the stage with big smiles and looking very sassy indeed with her stage moves honed to a tee. Her voice was angelic and light and operatic when needed. She sounded like she was perfect for the band pretty and it felt like she had been in the band since the beginning even though we know they've had a couple of singers come and go already. One thing to note is that the choir vocals were taped in so the band had to be very tight and that they were. The new songs had a bit more power in the live setting that they do on record and Dianne sang them very well indeed.
It of course helped that she's fairly easy on the eyes and if any inadequacies were noticeable people would be quick to forgive them considering her charm and grace in performance. I enjoyed their set but I think the album is a disappointment overall though I need to give it a few more spins. Dianne said it was coming up to the 10th anniversary of the band as she introduced one of their big early hits Ravenheart which got a huge response by the filled out Underworld. The final song of the night was their huge hit from the last album Valentine which was a great way to end with a big Nightwishy anthem like that and send the punters home happy.
Not an amazing gig by any means but it's a reasonably cheap night out and it was a Friday so no harm done!