Delain @ Hole44

What a busy day! I baked a bunch, went to a friends’ birthday picnic, and saw Delain on their first post-breakup-and-reformation tour. Busy!

My first time at Hole44 (the “spiritual successor to Musik & Frieden”, apparently), the venue beyond the Ring. A former cinema, now a two-floor but still relatively small music venue that appears generic enough for any genre. Delain’s sound was pretty good although the bass & drums came through very loudly compared to the highs when using hearing protection, so something about the speaker distribution seemed a bit off.

Although Delain were touring with Xandria, I did not catch their set – first, because see above, busy day; second, because the last two times I saw them, Xandria had atrocious sound, apparently defective monitoring (or the new singer had a hard time hitting any notes for some other reason), and just a weird stage presence. So, I’m not sad for not seeing them this day.

Delain played a very strong setlist to a sizable crowd – while not packed, the venue was well filled. I enjoyed the breathing room (and unfortunately was the only person still wearing a mask, oh well)!

Delain Setlist Hole 44, Berlin, Germany 2023, Dark Waters
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Opening with The Cold was unexpected, but okay – I guess they had to start with something from the new album, Dark Waters. But then it segued right into Suckerpunch, a Delain classic, and continued with more back catalogue stuff that the crowd (myself included) ate right up. The Quest and the Curse is one of the stronger songs from the new album (and released as a single as well), although overall Dark Waters hasn’t quite clicked for me yet. Finally, with April Rain, I was taken right back at the beginning of my Delain journey.

Paolo Ribaldini (Seraphiel/Skiltron) joined for a number of songs in the middle and again at the end, taking over Marco Hietala‘s and other clean vocal parts. I don’t think I’ve seen him perform before and was quite impressed. I was also reminded again how good the clean male vocal parts in Delain’s songs are 😀

Highlights for me, besides April Rain, were the other throwbacks: The Gathering, one of their very early songs from their Lucidity album; Sing To Me (I’m a sucker for duets); and of course, We Are The Others, maybe the iconic Delain song.

Solid performances all around – the newly re-constituted band had great stage chemistry and seemed to have a lot of fun. The sound was pretty okay – and just quiet enough to be comfortable without hearing protection, which helped the clarity a bit. Still I hope Hole44 will add some more distributed tweeters or something – with a venue this small, actual acoustic instruments like drums are easily overpowering, and the bass carries much farther than the highs.

Aside: I’m a patron of Charlotte Wessels, Delain’s former singer. It felt a bit bizarre to be seeing a Delain concert without Charlotte while she was at the same time having a Patreon hangout. From a musical perspective, I guess Charlotte leaving Delain was a net win – if you enjoyed her performances with Delain, check out her Patreon and discover new sides 😉