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Concerts & Shows

Delain in Suriname – Unkies Open Air Rockfest 2013

By Clayton

Delain_promo

April 20th – the day that many Surinamese rock and metal music lovers have waited so long for. The day that the 4th edition of Unkies Open Air Rockfest would take place. This wouldn’t be just any other Rockfest in this “small” tropical country; but this time we would have a special guest performance all the way from The Netherlands. None other than the symphonic metal band Delain would be live on stage… here… in Paramaribo.

At first we thought this was a hoax – I surely did – but this fact was very soon confirmed by the band themselves. I was very excited about this news. I have been listening to Delian for years now, but never seen them live before, but I they’ve certainly been on my bucket list. I was hoping to maybe catch them during one of their live shows when I was in Holland on one of my other Epica-adventures, but they never had a show while I was there myself.

I came THIS close to not attending the show last Saturday, due to some personal drama I had faced earlier that night. I’d rather not go into that. My life is just one drama pool. But about 1,5 hours before Delain was about to enter the stage I was finally able to go to the place where Unkies Open Air Rockfest 2013 was held. The place is a 7 minute drive from my house – and that includes a lot of speed bumps. I arrived around 23.00hr, bought my ticket and quickly found my way to the center of the crowd. Local rock band Apoplectic had just entered the stage and was giving quite a good show.

I was very impressed with the stage. It didn’t do under of the other international stages I’ve seen. Very well done. I was quite worried, because this was my first Open Air Rockfest in Suriname. I had been to rock parties in Suriname before, and also at the same place this event was held, but it always on the terrace. I didn’t know that there was a huge back yard. I was worried that they would make an international band like Delain perform on a small terrace and try to squeeze a bunch of people on it. Good thing that didn’t have to happen.

Delain was scheduled to play at 00.00hrs. The band entered the stage after a few technical issues – typical Suriname – about 15 minutes later. But they sure made up for this, by giving a kick ass performance and by playing a lot of their well-known songs. They played all (or most) of their singles and the heaviest tracks that Delain has to offer. A full 90 minute set list of songs from all of their three full length albums.

A bit of a pity that a lot of people didn’t know half of the songs performed. I think I was the only one that sang along loud to every single song and knew exactly when to clap or jump. Charlotte looked great and sang her heart out. I didn’t notice a single flaw. Just at the end of Not Enough, where she does her operatic vocalizing, she was over-powered by the crowd that enjoyed the song, but didn’t really know it. So they thought it was over, but she still had a 01.15 minute of angelic vocalizing to do. Oh well, at least I enjoyed it. 🙂

I did notice that the crowd responded very enthusiastic to the much heavier songs, which have grunts in it – which are only 2 songs to be exact. But also the non-grunts-yet-very-heavy-songs were very well received. Before you knew it a mosh pit was formed and people started stage diving. Honestly I have never seen this before in the shows in Europe. Then again, I’ve never been to a real festival before, just club shows. It was fun.

I don’t remember which songs they performed exactly, but I will try to find a set list online soon. At the top of my head, from what I can remember, in random order, they performed:
Sever, See me in shadows, The Gathering, April Rain, Stay Forever, Invidia, Control the storm, Virtue and Vice, Mother Machine (they opened with this track), Electricity, We Are The Others, Milk and Honey, Get the devil out of me and Never Enough.

After the performance of Delain I stayed another 2 hours to meet the band members and I did. I got to meet all of them and had my picture taken with them. Below you can find my own photos, but soon I will upload taken by a professional of myself with the band members.

But to sum all of the above: DELAIN was in one word, awesome! 🙂

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Concerts & Shows Music

Serenity and Visions of Atlantis live

By Clayton

As I mentioned before in the previous blog, the day after Epica’s show “Retrospect” I crashed at Sharik’s (Mc Sharq) place in Reuver, because the next day we were going to attend a show from Serenity and Visions of Atlantis in Roermond. I first was a bit reluctant to go to the show, because both Serenity and VoA have a new album out and I assumed that they would perform lots of songs from those albums and I hadn’t listened to them yet. And I hate going to a show and not knowing any (or at least most) of the songs. But on the other hand I thought, “I’m on vacation so what the hell”.

I slept on an air mattress in the living room. I never expected an air mattress to be that comfortable. I fell asleep within seconds and slept like a rock. That could also have been due to exhaustion.

In the afternoon Sharik, Simone V (who was also staying at Sharik’s place) and I drove to ECI Cultuurfabriek where the show of Serenity and Visions of Atlantis was. I clearly could see that this was NOT an Epica concert. There wasn’t a long line outside, the venue was small and you could basically count the number of fans. On the other hand it was great to be in a small crowd after such an exhausting (but bloody amazing) show the day before.

The show was opened by this rock band, which I had never heard of before, called Souldrinker, that didn’t amuse me very much. Let’s just say there music wasn’t really my cup of tea. So I didn’t mind when they announced their last song.

Visions of AtlantisNext on stage was: Visions of Atlantis.
I like VoA. I actually liked their second female singer best of all 4 they’ve had so far. But I knew that they would perform some of the older songs too, so I would enjoy anyways. The show was actually really good. They didn’t play too much of the new songs, so I still knew the majority of the songs. Despite my back killing me from the show before, I was able to enjoy myself.

SerenityAfter VoA it was time for Serenity.
This was also another great performance. They played both old and new songs. Half way during the show I did need to take a quick break to sit down, because my backache was almost unbearable. But great show and I was glad that I went along anyways.

 

When the show ended, I and the other 2 didn’t stay to meet the band or anything like that, but immediately left. We were all just too exhausted. We bought a kapsalon to eat at the house, watched a movie, fell asleep in front of the tv – at least I did – and later just went to bed. The next day Sharik brought me to the train station in Reuver and I made my way back to Rotterdam. A great weekend full of symphonic metal music. 🙂

Professional pictures can be found here:
Souldrinker | Visions of Atlantis | Serenity

I couldn’t find the set list of the show in Roermond, but did find one of another show from the same tour, so I guess it should be the same set list.
Visions of Atlantis | Serenity

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Concerts & Shows Travel & Adventure

Epica “Retrospect” review

By Clayton

March 23, 2013… a day I will never forget. By now you all have already read (countless times) the main reason for me flying off to The Netherlands in the middle of March: Epica of course 🙂

On the day of the 10th Anniversary show of Epica I was staying at Patrick’s place in Rotterdam, so I left with the train from Rotterdam Blaak to Dordrecht. In Dordrecht I took the train to Tilburg and in Tilburg I took the next train to Eindhoven Beukenlaan. This train station is just across Klokgebouw, so I didn’t have to walk very far. I was very excited, because I had read earlier that it was snowing in Eindhoven and I was very excited. I could already see the snow as I was in the train towards Eindhoven. When I arrived I took a moment to enjoy the falling snow.

2013-03-23-12.40 DSCF6677 snow-in-eindhoven

I stood outside the venue for about 3 hours (or more), had to pee once and froze off my fingers. But it was all worth it as soon as I entered the venue. As a VIP ticket holder I got to enter the venue an hour earlier (with the rest of the VIP ticket holders), before the crowd with regular tickets. Since it was quite freezing outside, that was a good thing. On the other hand, standing outside wasn’t such a tragedy, because I got to chat with some friends like Pascal, Sharik, Vlien and Laszlo, whom I’ve seen again after 2 years. We met during my very first Epica show in Paradiso. As soon as the doors opened, the entire crow stormed inside. For once I didn’t bring my coats to the wardrobe and just put it between my legs. I found myself a perfect spot in the second row in the middle of the stage.

After waiting 2 more hours, watching the congratulations video that other musicians/bands that Epica has worked/toured with in the past 10 years played on the screen 3 times in a row, we finally could hear the orchestra play an introduction song. This was just overwhelming to hear. The intro video that we saw on the curtain was amazing. I was so enthralled and amazed by the whole scene that I had to pinch myself to know that I wasn’t dreaming and really was standing there, in a big venue somewhere in Eindhoven.

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Concerts & Shows Music

Delain is coming to Suriname!!

By Clayton

Delain

Today I heard some very surprising, but pleasant news. One of my favorite Dutch symphonic metal bands is coming to Suriname for a show; Delain (see www.delain.nl). I already heard the news from a friend on Facebook yesterday, but I didn’t believe it. Even when I saw a promo video online, I still was skeptical, because I didn’t see anything about the show on the official website. And also I was thinking: why would a band like Delain, that was performing three weeks ago at the 70.000 tons of metal festival, that has been one of the bands to perform at The Female Metal Voices Fest, that have performed in Moscow, Budapest, Barcelona, Munich, Nottingham and so many other places, where I’ve never been myself, ever want to play in this “little” unknown country in South-America?

Photo by Kris ClaerhoutI sent the singer of the band, Charlotte Wessels, a Facebook message as soon as I saw the video, and she confirmed the news herself this morning. Later I also saw the news appearing on the official Delain website and Facebook page. So it’s true! Delain, the symphonic metal band from Zwolle, The Netherlands is actually going to perform here in Suriname on April 20th, 2013.

 

Read the announcement on the Official Delain website.
Read the announcement on the Official Facebook page of Delain.

*faints*

206297_487582884593901_111097673_nI am very excited, because Delain is also on my bucket list of the bands that I want to see live. This surely saves me one trip to Europe. I admit, I’m not as obsessed with Delain as I am with Epica for example, but Delain surely is one of the bands that I listen to on a regular basis. I love all their 3 albums and there was a period when the last album We Are The Others was constantly on repeat. I even took part in the We Are The Others Photo Project by Delain. See the photo of me here on the right. My photo is also uploaded in the album on Facebook.

So it’s true…. Delain is coming… the first international (female fronted) metal band to come and I’m very excited. See the promo video here.

NOTE: The video is quite exaggerated though! Because Uncle Bunker is just a tiny terras, and not even close to a festival, but nonetheless: I can’t wait! 🙂

we are the others - cover

Concerts & Shows Music

Epica Retrospect show

By Clayton

Epica Retrospect flyerIt’s almost that time of the year again 🙂
Time for me to cross the great Atlantic Ocean to see my favorite band Epica perform live again.
And this time it’s not just any other show. It’s the band’s 10th anniversary show, which will include a live symphonic orchestra flown in from Hungary and a choir. It’s going to be big… it’s going to be EPIC!!!!

This is one show NOT to miss!!!

My visa from last year is still valid and so is my passport. Let’s hope the flight schedule will be suitable to fly and I’ll be waiting in line on March 23th in front of Klokgebouw in Eindhoven, NL. 😀

Countdown: 78 days

For more information, please visit: www.epica-retrospect.com

 

Concerts & Shows

Epica live in Sporthal De Vang, Zaandam, NL (October 12, 2012)

By Clayton

Epica live in ZaandamOops… I did it again :p

What?
Once again I’ve traveled over 7500km to see my favorite band Epica perform live here in Holland. This has been the third time that I’ve done that and seen them play. And once again it was totally worth it.

Okay, Epica wasn’t the only reason that I came over as you will read very soon in another blog, but it was another excuse to travel to Holland in this cold, rainy autumn.

On Friday of October 12th I arrived in Zaandam between 4.00 – 5.00 pm. It was my intention to be at the venue much earlier, but things got out of hand. At the moment I don’t even remember what exactly. Luckily I had my Facebook buddy Pascal waiting for me there. Pascal is the guy I gave my Epica concert ticket to, when I couldn’t fly off to the Epica in Tilburg last March. This was the first time that we met in person.

As we waited outside we could hear the band doing the sound check. By this time we could already hear which songs were going to be performed that night. This show wasn’t going to be “ just another Epica concert”, but it was a party to celebrate that the fact that the band’s third album The Divine Conspiracy was released 5 years ago. So lots of songs from that album were going to be performed. I was very excited, because I’ve wanted to hear some of those songs live for so long now.

Around 7.15 pm the doors were finally opened and the crowd stormed inside. I quickly left my coat and bag at the racks and stormed to the stage to find a spot near the front of the stage. Sadly by that time I lost Pascal in the crowd. I simply couldn’t see him anywhere. And I had found a perfect spot on the second row right in the middle of the stage and didn’t want to lose that spot.

Stream of Passion, which was the supporting act for the show was still busy with their sound check as we entered the venue. That did come of as a tad bit unprofessional. NOT Stream of Passion of course, but the organizers (or whoevers fault it exactly is) that still had the band do their sound check while the crowd was already inside. Oh well, it was sort of nice to see. And I was able to make a quick video of Marcela rehearsing.

Around 8.00 PM, the real show started. Stream of Passion warmed up the crowded with their music. Marcela looked super sexy in het outfit and I have to say SOP has grown on my more after seeing them live. I like SOP, but I usually never listen to an entire album at once, because somehow it starts to sound the same in my ears. But after the show I have been listening to them even more and grown to like them even more so. The show was great.

Stream of Passion on stage
Around 9 PM the lights went out and soon we heard the intro to Epica’s album The Divine Conspiracy “Indigo” play. I was super excited, because for days I had wondered if they would use the intro of that album of the intro to the current album to open the show.

Epica opens begins the show with Indigo & The Obsessive Devotion
What the band did is, they sort of split the show in two parts. The first part was mostly old songs from the album The Divine Conspiracy and later they did an encore with the newer songs. We even got to hear “Karma” the intro to the latest album. So we got a set list of old songs and near the end we got some newer songs. And of course the band ended the show with the ultimate Epica fan favorite song “Consign to Oblivion”.

The show was a blast as a whole. Simone looked stunning in her new outfit. She sounded perfect and nailed each high note perfectly. The guys once again did an awesome job with their instruments and Mark always knows how to fire up the crowd. It was another unforgettable show. My entire body hurt after the show, but it was totally worth it. No regrets whatsoever. 🙂

After the show, I met Marcela who was standing by the Stream of Passion stand. Took a picture with her and also with 2 of the SOP-guys. I also saw some of my other friends there whom I’ve met at previous concerts or know from Facebook. I even saw Ad Sluijter in the crowd after the show. I had a feeling he would be there too. I had messaged him a few days before the show, but he was still uncertain. In all my excitement I totally forgot that I had my copy of The Divine Conspiracy with me, because I wanted him to sign it. Next time then.

And just as it seemed liked everyone was leaving I saw a small crowd at the other end of the venue. I saw a noticed the hair and thought: MARK 😀
I rushed over and grabbed my picture of him, which came with the Requiem for the Indifferent limited edition box set. He signed it and I took a picture with him. And yes, Mark still knows who I am of course. 🙂

I then turned around and saw Isaac lurking in the corning. I rushed over to get his signature and take a photo with him. By that time the venue was almost empty and we were almost forced outside. And just as I was walking towards the exit, who do I see? Ariën 🙂
I also got his signature, but sadly couldn’t take a photo with him. They would have thrown me out of the venue. lol

Once outside I wanted to find my way back to my aunt’s house here in Amsterdam, but the battery of my Blackberry died out, so I couldn’t use my Google Maps to find my way back home. Luckily the last few people were coming out the venue, including Facebook friend Vlien (the concert photographer). So I asked her help. She and the people who she drove with were nice enough to drop me off at the train station in Zaandam. From there on I found my way back to Amsterdam.

Another night full of great memories 🙂

Setlist Stream of Passion

Setlist Epica

Stream of Passion

Stream-of-Passion-1 Stream-of-Passion-2 Stream-of-Passion-3

Epica

Epica-1 Epica-2 Epica-3
Epica-4 Epica-5 Epica-6

After the show 

Marcela Bovio - Stream of Passion Johan van Stratum - Stream of Passion
Mark Jansen - Epica Isaac Delahaye - Epica

Memories

Signatures from the Stream of Passion band members Signatures from the Epica band members

Concerts & Shows

Epica live at Paard van Troje in Den Haag, NL (May 23, 2012)

By Clayton

Yes….. finally…. I have been able to see Epica live (for the second time) during the Requiem for the Indifferent tour. I’ve been wanting this since the album had been released in March. I don’t think I need to repeat the stories of all the bad luck I had in the previous months (My passport drama and the failed trip to Hungary). But at last it happened and I had a blast!

After the whole Hungary incident I decided to extend my vacation with another week so I could go to the show in Den Haag. I first had to sent out a bunch of emails to Suriname to notify my project group members. After I arranged everything I bought myself a ticket online. 2 days later it arrived.

Meet & Greet contest
On Facebook Epica had posted a contest in which you could win a Meet&Greet with the band. 2 lucky fans would get the chance to go backstage and meet the entire band. All you had to do was  to write a mail and explain why you think you deserved to win. With all my bad luck I was certain I would win, so I wrote a mail. And yes…. I WON!!!! 🙂

Getting ready for the show
Breakfast at Bagels & Beans (Rotterdam)On the morning of May 23, I was so excited that I barely was able to sleep the night before. In the morning I was unable to eat and basically had to force some food down my throat. Given my previous concert experiences I knew that after the show I would be very exhausted so I needed to pump myself with some energy.

Since Rotterdam is closer to Den Haag (compared to Amsterdam), I decided to crash at my friend Patrick his place the night before the show. It also happened to be his birthday the day before, so I had one more reason to go to Rotterdam.
Since eating at home was a problem I decided to wander around the shops nearby the house and I found a coffee shop, named Bagels & Beans, around the corner. I first enjoyed a nice breakfast there (see the photo) and went back inside.

Getting ready for the showIt was soon time for me to get myself ready.
I was excited and nervous at the same time.
What do you wear to meet your favorite band?
I didn’t want to wear an Epica t-shirt, because I thought that was very cliché. Instead I decided to wear a new shirt that would sure to get me some attention. And it did 🙂

 

Arriving in Den Haag
Den Haag HS Railway StationI arrived around 4.00 PM at Den Haag HS train station. Thanks to Google maps I had been able to find my way from the train station to the venue “Paard van Troje”. It was a short 20-minute walk through the busy streets of Den Haag. I haven’t been often to Den Haag before, so this was also a great chance for me to make good use of my camera.

 

I arrived at the venue and noticed that there were only about 15 people waiting before me. First person I noticed was the-famous-although-he-doesn’t-agree  concert photographer Mc Sharq, who also happens to be a Facebook friend of mine. Later I saw another someone I knew from Facebook, Vlien… who also happens to be sort-of the official Epica photographer.

It was still another 2 hours before the doors would open, so I decided to join the crowd sitting on the (filthy) ground. It was a very warm and sunny day so we didn’t have to suffer from the cold.

Meet & Greet with Epica
The doors opened about 30 minutes to an hour later than planned due to some unknown technical difficulties. But eventually the doors were opened and we all stormed inside.

As a contest winner I had to make my way to the cash register to notify my arrival. The second contest winner, Sven from Germany, was also right behind me. Soon the stage manager was called and we were bought taken through a different entrance than the rest of the crowd. We were taken backstage where there is a mini podium, somewhere in the venue.

As we were backstage we first had a chat with the photographers sitting there. The photographers were there for the band which had a photo shoot before the show. A few minutes later the band was called out to meet us.

The first band member I saw was Mark, whom instantly recognized me.
I could feel my heart jumping. One by one all of the band members walked through the door. 3 of them I had already met last year (Mark, Ariën and Isaac) so they already knew me. The rest I officially met in person. And finally, the lovely Simone Simons!!!!!! <3

Backstage with Epica and another contest winner: Sven

Simone Simons and IThe band members were all very down to earth and that relaxed me too. I was making conversation with them as if I’ve known them for years. Which I sort of feel like I do, since I stalk follow all their social media updates and watch and read all interviews. Simone and I were even talking about her last Twitter updates.

 

My ticket signed by all 6 Epica band membersWe got some signatures and made photos. The professional photographer also made photos with his camera, but I’ve not received those from him yet. Once I do will post them. There wasn’t much more to do or say and also the band had to get ready for their photo shoot, so we said our goodbyes and Sven and I were escorted back downstairs.

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Clay's Personal Concerts & Shows Travel & Adventure

Trip to Budapest #FAIL

By Clayton

Well my dear friends, sadly my dream adventure of flying to Hungary had to be placed in the freezer just a few hours before I was about to fly out. This was partly (or mostly) my own fault, but it didn’t had to end like this if certain people had a bit more confidence in me.

The thing is as I was calling back home to Suriname to announce that I was leaving for Budapest in a few hours it ended up in a very big family drama and lots of phone calls from home with reasons why I shouldn’t go. Reasons such as: it’s a strange country and didn’t know anyone there. Also that I wasn’t allowed to fly with the traveling visa I have. Which all isn’t true, because with my visa I am allowed to travel to all the countries here in Europe that are part of the Schengen Area (link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area) and YES, Hungary is part of that area. I informed all of this long before the trip was officially booked.

The part where it is my fault is that I have wanted this for months and have been planning everything down to the details, because I didn’t want to get myself in trouble of course, but should have maybe notified the family earlier. Maybe if they saw that I had taken care of everything they would have been a lot more understanding. Now they do, because I have sent them all the links, websites etc. which I had used to make the trip possible.

Sadly I was not able to convince them in time before the flight and decided to grant them their wish and just stay here in Holland. I was very bumped out and instantly started feeling ill. I had cramps in my stomach and felt lightheaded. I was hoping that it would pass or else I would have gone to visit the doctor on Monday morning.

On Sunday evening, the night of the Epica show in Club 202, Hungary, I was just about to go to bed and I saw that I was tagged in a few photos. I had no idea what to expect so I opened them. I was tagged by my buddy Laszlo living in Hungary. The photos you can see below.

Greetings from Budapest - Mark Jansen

Greetings from Budapest - Simone Simons

That is Simone and Mark from Epica. Mark was aware that I was traveling to Hungary, because I had mailed him shortly after I had arrived in Holland (or was it before…. I don’t remember). But Laszlo had also spoken to him. I felt so excited and very much in shock too. Somehow my spirit got lifted and I instantly felt better. No more pains. No more upset stomach.

In case you’re wondering why I didn’t tell my family sooner, it’s because I like to shock or surprise people. Just like barely anyone was told about my trip to Holland, that’s exactly the same I wanted to do with the trip to Hungary. It just seemed a lot more exciting in my head to send photos of myself in foreign place. #FAIL

But things with the family have been cleared up and talked thoroughly.
So next year when Epica will be touring in Hungary again (as they said they will be doing) maybe I can fly over and everything will go as I wanted it to this year.

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