Delain, O2 Brimingham, 16th April 2014Delain, O2 Brimingham, 16th April 2014

It’s been a long and exciting road for singer Charlotte Wessels and keyboard player Martijn Westerholt. Back in 2006 Delain seemed no more than a project put together by Westerholt following his recovery from the illness that had forced him to retire from Within Temptation. Fast forward to 2014 and Delain is a fully fledged band with a newish label (signing to Napalm last year and debuting for the label with their odd ‘n’ ends collection ‘Interlude’), a loyal and extremely vocal fan base, and the verve and passion to give tonight’s headliners, the same Within Temptation that Martijn once played in alongside brother Robert – more than a run for their money.

The easy option would have been to showcase their new release ‘The Human Contradiction’ but instead Wessels and Westerholt, aided and abetted by guitarist Timo Somers, bassist Otto Schimmelpennick van der Oije and drummer Sander Zoer, drew up a setlist spread across all four studio releases, with 2012’s ‘We Are The Others’ featuring most heavily in their short but vibrant opening slot. In fact, just two songs from ‘The Human Contradiction’ (the driving ‘Army Of Dolls’ and ‘Stardust’) made the cut, but this seeming lack of exposure for the new album neither disappointed the faithful nor disadvantaged sales with Napalm touting the fact that it’s entered the UK charts – although it’s hard to actually pinpoint which one – at Number 44. Hearing ‘The Gathering’ from the band’s first album ‘Lucidity’ was a real joy and you’d be hard-pressed not to get into the groove of ‘Get The Devil Out Of Me’. The band are solid without being overly flashy, and one of the attractions of watching them live is their ‘ordinariness’ – they could easily be you or me, rather than so many other bands who are ‘celebrities’ and play to the fact.

Things drew to a conclusion – fairly obviously – with ‘We Are The Others’, the title cut from their third album and a celebration of the triumph of humanity over the blind prejudice that pervades society. The song is a perfect illustration of this band’s core strength; they have something to say and, blending incisive and/or thought-provoking lyrics with catchy and clever melodies, know exactly how to say it. Throw in a bucket-load of talent and a desire to entertain, and ask yourself the question ‘what’s not to like’.

Set list: ‘Go Away’ / ‘Get The Devil Out Of Me’ / ‘Army Of Dolls’ / ‘Stardust’ / ‘Electricity’ / ‘Sleepwalkers Dream’ / ‘The Gathering ’ / ‘Not Enough’ / ‘We Are The Others’

© John Tucker April 2014