Tonight’s gig was one of those I WAS THERE moments as a delighted crowd witnessed Esprit D’Air in all their glory at a packed Academy3 in Birmingham. Support was from the impressive Diamond Black.
Esprit D’Air – Diamond Black
O2 Academy3, Birmingham – 23 February 2023
Words and Photography: Andy Shaw
It was time for the main event. The wonderful Esprit D’Air are fronted by award-winning producer and composer Kai, who is the only member left from the original 2016 lineup. He is the brains and genius behind them.
The set was almost exclusively made up of songs from their latest album, Oceans. Kicking off with Tsunami, Kai came on and was immediately belting it out. Ocean’s Call was next. Kai returned with a guitar to mesmerise an excited crowd with an amazing solo, which was to become a theme of the evening.
Next was Call You, followed by The Abyss. The crowd knew they were in the presence of something special. Starstorm was next from the Constellations album, followed by a Jan-Vincent Velazco drum solo, playing his second gig of the night.
Then another from Constellations, Shizuku. This was the first song he had ever produced, back in 2010. The track was recently given new life and released as a single, with the addition of synths by Misstiq. It was equally impressive tonight.
Kai was smiling and thoroughly enjoying his time on stage. The crowd were packed in, entranced by the performance and realising they were in the presence of something special. Sazanami followed by Nebulae and Kai’s guitar work was incredible. The songs blend rock, big riffs and stunning vocals.
Kai said, “You know what? Birmingham rocks,” before Glaciers. The band are joined by Diamond Black frontman Ben Christo for a version of the song they collaborated on Dead Zone, which is a brilliant song.
The set finished with Guiding Light and Leviathan, and this so far was stunning. They returned to the stage for two more songs Kurenai and an amazing version of Iron Maiden’s The Trooper, complete with the return of Ben Christo.
An enthusiastic crowd loved every minute of the whole show. Esprit D’Air is a band on an upward trajectory, and with the genius of Kai at the helm, they are destined for bigger and better things.
The main support for all dates excluding London are Diamond Black, fronted by Ben Christo, former The Sisters Of Mercy guitarist. It was a solid set which the crowd responded to with enthusiasm. They provided an energetic set despite the fact they have only released a handful of singles.
They played Through The Misery, The Scarlet and Dark Anthems. Christo was backed by bassist Adam Lightspeed and Jan-Vincent Velazco on drums, who also drummed later in the evening for Esprit D’Air.
Christo was in full guitar hero mode with poses and foot on the monitor, and the Academy3 loved it. The set ended with Sorrow. Diamond Black are a band we want to see again soon.