Friday, 4 April 2014

Van Canto @ The Underworld, Camden

Spending 8 hours+ on a coach isn't my usual idea of a good time, but on Wednesday 2nd April 2014 I made the exception and headed from Sheffield down to London and back again to see Van Canto on their only UK date of their Dawn of the Brave tour.

Although I knew The Underworld was a small venue, I don't think I expected it to be quite so cosy! We found a nice spot near the front and watched as the room filled rapidly.  The atmosphere was immense; friendly and incredibly excitable. The stage was small and over flowing with drum equipment. There really wasn't a lot of room for any excessive moving about, that's for sure, but I loved the intimacy of it all!


Elina Siirala of enkElination
The first support band were enkElination, a London based gothic metal band. Although they suffered some sound issues they put on a great show and really warmed the crowd nicely.  The band released a single Tears of Lust on March 31st and they played this incredibly catchy tune to close their set.


Alexander Schirmer and Amin Haas of Winterstorm
Next up were Winterstorm, a German power metal band bursting with enthusiasm, charisma and dashing outfits (including the lead singers armour).  They started as they meant to go on with powerful, catchy sounds and entertaining chatter. The crowd really got behind them and joined in; everyone seemed to really enjoy their set and we were all disappointed when they announced their last song for the night. One of the greatest scenes from the evening was watching the band and the audience with their hands in the air shouting 'Metal, Metal, Metal' during Metalavial. Here is their new video for that very same song:

Van Canto

The sadness didn't linger, though, as Van Canto soon burst onto the tiny stage. Incredible is an understatement.  Storming through some of their greatest songs including Badaboom, Steel Breaker, To Sing a Metal Song and If I Die in Battle as well as bringing the house down with some of their incredible covers such as Paranoid (Black Sabbath), Wishmaster (Nightwish), Fear of the Dark (Iron Maiden) and of course the awesome Primo Victoria (Sabaton) the band simply didn't let up.  A full set list can be seen here.

A crowd-eye view of Van Canto
One thing I hadn't taken into consideration, which now seems obvious, was the number of breaks the band would need to take between songs. A cappella must be physically demanding at the best of times, but to sing metal a cappella is an incredible feat. I was in awe of their commitment and determination to present their music so impressively.  During their longest break Van Canto's drummer Bastian, did a great job of encouraging the crowd to chorus 'Rakka Takka' and 'Badaboom' incredibly loudly followed by a bad-ass drum solo.

Van Canto were welcomed into London with open arms. The crowd were extremely excited and appreciative of their performance, and demonstrated time and time again how much we wanted to hear them play.  I really hope that Van Canto's experience in Camden has made them realise that there are fans of a cappella metal in the UK, that we want them to come to more of our cities, and that we want them to come and do that really soon!

The tour continues for another week or so and if you happen to be near any of these venues I wholeheartedly recommend you take the time to check them out:

04.04.2014 DE – Bremen / Aladin
05.04.2014 DE – Köln / Live Music Hall
10.04.2014 DE – Berlin / Lido
11.04.2014 DE – Glauchau / Alte Spinnerei
12.04.2014 DE – Düsseldorf / Pitcher
13.04.2014 DE – Dortmund / FZW

We tried to take photographs of the evening but with many pillars, a lively crowd and terrible gig lighting we struggled.  However, there is a small selection of the best ones taken on the night in our Photo Gallery.