When Anneke Van Giersbergen's scheduled support act for her European tour pulled out at short notice Amanda Somerville and her band Trillium were lined up as a replacement making this the tour to see this autumn if rocking female vocalists is your thing!
Le Divan Du Monde is a beautiful little venue in Paris and was already very busy when Trillium hit the stage. Amanda Somerville is well known in the metal scene for work with the likes of Kamelot and Epica and projects such as Kiske/Somerville with Michael Kiske.
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Having so many different things on the go it means that she doesn't get out on the road with her band Trillium as much as she would like but you'd never know that from this performance. Right from the opening cascading riff of 'Machine Gun' from the Trillium debut 'Alloy' this is a tight well oiled machine, each player knowing their part.
It's Ms Somerville who's the star of the show but there is definitely a band vibe here and one that works really well. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves on stage and that translates into the audience who are more enthusiastic and interested with each passing song.
The bulk of the set is made up from the excellent debut album and the combination of power and melody in, amongst others, 'Mistaken' and 'Path Of Least Resistance' is irresistible, especially when they are topped with the strong, beautiful vocals and theatrical presence and confidence that they are here, Amanda's arresting looks are easily matched by her on stage presence.
Taking advantage of the fact that this isn't an out and out metal audience the metal mistress from Michigan also delved into her 'Windows' solo album of a few years ago with a couple of nice pop-rock style songs in 'Mayday' and 'Point Of Safe Return' and the standout track from the album to me, 'Carnival', which enchanted the audience with it's waltzing vibe and dark edge, this version gave me chills!
After the lighter stuff it was back to some more metal from the Trillium to close out the setfinishing off with the vitriolic 'Coward', a powerful story of love gone wrong with a memorable riff and some great vocals to convey a sense of dangerous rage. It's a great set closer and the Parisienne crowd roared their appreciation of a fine set.
"Follow that Anneke", I thought but I should have known better as she did! Bouncing onto the stage in her own effervescent way her excellent and really tight band powered into two songs back to back from the new 'Drive' album, the pop rock style she has moved towards recently sounding more full on and powerful in a live environment but AVG's superb vocals soaring effortlessly over the top of it all.
The first nod to the back catalogue came with a version of one of The Gathering's best known songs 'Saturnine' which I sometimes think Anneke uses to test how much the crowd is with her. If it is it certainly worked here as the crowd singalong over the closing section showed that this was a committed and adoring audience who see the Dutch chaunteuse as an icon and you could see how impressed she was at the noise levels from the crowd.
The set continued with songs from the new album mixing with older material and stand out moments for me were the powerful and haunting '1000 Miles Away From You', the raw heavy energy of 'Stay', the sweet but not too sweet nostalgic vibe of 'My Mother Said' and best of all an amazing version of 'Beautiful One'. Performed beautifully with only vocal and acoustic guitar Ms Van Giersbergen had the audience totally entranced and got a huge ovation at the end.
All good things have to end and so the main set drew to a close with new song 'Shooting For The Stars' but encores were inevitable and another four songs ending with another new tune in 'The Best Is Yet To Come' went some way to sating the crowds desire for more.
The audience weren't finished yet though as almost everyone in the busy hall just turned round after lights up and queued at the merch stand to meet the two stars of the evening!
This was a special night all round, two great bands, two amazing and charismatic singers and a crowd that wanted to listen and to join in as much as possible with both. I'm positive that neither Amanda or Anneke missed a note all night and I highly recommend these two acts to anyone who likes to hear great vocals as well as some damn fine rock and metal songs.
These are a couple of reasonable quality YouTube clips from the show, Trillium doing 'Into The Dissonance' and Anneke Van Giersbergen doing 'Beautiful One' including a typically sweet intro.