Some time ago in 2016, Anneke van Giersbergen announced that she was going to form a new band, called “Vuur” (Dutch for “Fire”). This band turned out to consist of some of the most well seasoned members of the Dutch metal scene with of course Anneke being their front woman. A few weeks ago there came the announcement, that there was going to be a try-out show in the modest venue Neushoorn in Leeuwarden.Needles to say, that it sold out pretty fast and I was there to draw up this witness report.
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Overhaul was added as opener for Vuur just 2 days before the gig and on hind sight, that might have been a short notice. Singer Samuel de Vries starts of with a bit of a shaky voice and throughout the set he vocally walked the tightrope on the edge of out of tune. Musically it wasn’t very coherent either; it sounded like every band member played their own gig, apart from the rest. At times they found each other musically and then it sounded decent, but even then there is hardly any interaction with the crowd and the stage is very dark throughout the entire set. The absolute low point was the cover of Rick Astley’s “Never gonna give you up”. The original is, unfortunately, catchy as hell, but Overhaul turns it into a bland song which raised quite some brows in the audience. When their set ends, there a half hearted applause.
The venue gets more packed by the minute now and the change over takes hardly any time. Soon the voice of Anneke is audible. See asks the audience to refrain from streaming or filming the set, because of it being a try-out. Pity some people think this doesn’t apply to them. One by one the Vuur members enters the stage and the crowd goes berserk. Right from the first few notes, it is obvious that Vuur is not a simple continuation of The Gentle Storm. It is much more heavy and maybe just a little tad less melodic, but the voice of Anneke van Giersbergen does fit this style perfectly. It is obvious that Vuur knows how to play with the audience. Where Anneke is visibly touched by the enormous enthusiasm of the crowd, bass player Johan van Stratum moves around the stage a lot banging his dreads around. Jord Otto stands as close as possible to the people in front of him, when he plays his magisterial solo’s. Even drummer Ed Warby interacts with the audience when given the chance! Each of the members of Vuur has won it spurs in metal and are in the top league of their business, but Anneke is something else… I’ve seen Anneke a few times and if she plays an acoustic set or a amplified heavy metal set, the everlasting smile and twinkle in her eyes are always present. The fun and positive energy this lady has while performing is contagious! To the people in front of her, but to the band too. The heritage of Anneke’s music made up a nice part of this gig. Songs from The Gentle Storm, Devin Townsend and the Gathering were played too, with a very very nice heavy version of Strange Machines! After the regular set, there was time for an encore and that was the moment Anneke presumably decided to vocally turn on the charm… DAMN! What a voice! In total there were three encores which were all evenly matched.
It was a pity Overhaul couldn’t convince, but luckily Vuur did and maybe even more than that. With fans present form all over the world present in the small venue of Neushoorn in Leeuwarden, proves that Anneke van Giersbergen is larger than life. Vuur is something you have to see, hear and experience! Check the facebook of Vuur for dates in your region: https://www.facebook.com/vuurband The first Festival in the Netherlands will be Dynamo Open Air on July 15th and there are still tickets available. See you there!