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Lyon, France @ Ninkasi Kao, Sunday 19 / 02 / 2006

by Audrey Dujardin

There’s nothing like ending a week end with a good female fronted death metal concert. There were only 3 bands on the bill that night at the Ninkasi, but there was a special atmosphere building up since this was the last show on the tour. Many surprises were in store and there was a lot of excitement backstage, where I interviewed Floor Jansen before the gig.

I didn’t know that Magica was the opening band that night, and I don’t think that they knew that they drums were going to be covered in toilet paper as they came on stage. I don’t think they were expecting to have their instruments duct taped and their seltlists replaced by goofy setlists by the other bands and by the crew…

Romanian female fronted gothic metallers Magica are however an absolute Nightwish-clone band. Their compositions could altogether be mistaken for some ‘Angels fall first’ tracks, and they even played a ‘Nemo’ cover around the end of the set. Their music, far from being unpleasant is just as unimaginative as their name. On the whole, Magica doesn’t really bring anything new to the lyrical metal scene, not even with regards to their looks. And to be honest, I don’t think the stage performance of Magica is up to being more than just a support band. But don’t get me wrong, Magica isn’t awful, it’s just not very interesting.

I must say that I was a bit skeptical before seeing Nightmare live. I’m really not a fan of old fashioned heavy metal, Iron Maiden style, and I know that that’s just the kind of music that Nightmare plays. However i must say that my initial preconception was erased immediately. Indeed, the compositions were actually quite interesting and the drummer was excellent. Even the singer was remarkable in his style. He actually sounds just like Bruce Dickinson. Nightmare proved an excellent participation with the audience. This is particularly due to the fact that not only are Nightmare from Grenoble (100 kms from Lyon) and therefore many friends and family of the band were present, but their band members also take part in the French metal magazine Metallian, causing a lot of trouble on the guestlist for non-Metallian press like myself, since Metallian guests were numbered at 56 according to the promoter.

Nightmare’s music is very old fashioned, but the band was apparently very happy to be performing at home, and a very positive energy came out of the show. Furthermore, the band’s first guitarist, Jean Strippoli was invited to play a song with the band. The singer in Nightmare was trying his best to flame up the crowd, and the set ended on a very good cover of ‘Hallowed by they name’ by Iron Maiden.

Before the show, Floor Jansen from After Forever told me that she had gotten sick in Spain and that she was having trouble reaching the high notes. I was hoping that this wouldn’t affect the show tonight, especially since this was the last date on the tour… I was however very much reassured by the beginning of ‘Come’, first song interpreted by the Dutch sextet. I was hoping that this feeling would last until the end of the gig. The sound quality was very clean and the purely musical mastering was undeniable. Floor alternated between rock and opera voices with brio. The fact that she can sing in both repertoires allowed her to go around the difficulties caused by her health problems, although she was really out of breath every now and then. Floor moved around the stage with a lot of energy yet without overdoing it like some frontwomen.

Joost had 5 different synthesizers on the stage, and the keyboards were very well balanced, and this is particularly difficult in a genre where the keyboards can quickly be overbearing and pompous like in Nightwish for example. After Forever played its great songs from ‘Remagine’, like ‘Attendance’, ‘Strong’ or ‘Face your demons’ for which Floor was wearing a headband with devil horns. Older songs aren’t left out, like ‘Forlorn Hope’, the great ‘Silence from Afar’ and of course the famous ‘Follow in the cry’, announcing the band’s retreat before the first encore. There was however a first cover song with ‘For whom the belle tolls’ by Metallica, for which the musicians in After Forever had to be especially concentrated since the crew was trying to distract them by waving a laptop playing a porn movie on stage.

The second encore in the set was composed of nothing but a great cover of Europe with ‘the final countdown’. During this very last song, all the crew and the members of the other bands came on stage dressed up with rags and towels, and with obsceneties written all over their bellies with permanent markers. What a party!

On the whole, the entire show was one of the best female-fronted gigs that I’ve seen in a very long time. On stage, After Forever is a completely different style than what I saw with Within Temptation, because the vocals are a lot more diverse and there is a lot more presence on stage, but I’m secretly hoping that some day Within Temptation and After Forever will tour together, to double the fun. And I’m also hoping that someday After Forever will release a DVD so that I can relive these moments at home.



Links of interest:

After Forever


Read the article in its original context here


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