Vuur Live Gig Review – by Tayla Dickinson
Vuur live at The Asylum, Birmingham – Sat Feb 10th, 2018
After a few drinks at another local bar, myself and an old friend headed down to The Asylum for more drinks and some serious music. Dressed in some of our best goth gear, we rock up just in time to catch Anneke van Giersbergen’s latest project: Vuur!
The Dutch group – who recently released their debut album, themed by different cities – opened with a song close to home for most of them: ‘Rotterdam’. With the set off to such a great start we had hair flying in every direction, the crowd already hanging on to every angelic note that poured from Anneke’s lips and thumping along to each riff – energy exploded in every direction. After a brief introduction, Vuur went straight back to their distinguished progressive sound with one of my personal album favourites, ‘Berlin’.
Anneke van Giersbergen is known widely in the metal scene, from her early days with The Gathering to her solo project and collaborations with Devin Townsend, Anathema, Arjen Lucassen and many more. She’s been extremely busy since her explosion on to the metal scene in 1994 and Vuur were more than set to showcase this. For their third song the band performed a ‘cover’ of The Gathering’s ‘On Most Surfaces’, Anneke was the star of the show, drawing the classic song out note perfect and with great ease for such a vocally agile song. Her face was an expression of pure emotion as the guitars soared and weaved with each word so elegantly sung.
After the crowd went wild for a bit of old school The Gathering, it was straight back into Vuur-mode with ‘Beirut’. The track being a bit more funky and melancholic it juxtaposes itself with powerful, lengthy vocal passages giving its clear full title ‘The Martyr And The Saint – Beirut’ new meaning and feeling. Still taken aback by the power and tinged sadness of ‘Beirut’, Vuur launched into another cover – this time from another of Anneke’s projects with Arjen Lucassen: The Gentle Storm. With a crash like the rolling tides ‘The Storm’ surely descended on us, giving drummer Ed Warby the chance to show off in a fantastic manner. Anneke’s voice sailed the storm providing both high flairs and aggressive tonal licks that truly got the crowd going. For a show with just over 100 people crammed in the room, the roar of enthusiasm from the room could easily have been 1000 people.
Ever humble, Anneke and the band thanked the room, taking momentary pause to tell some awkward jokes, profusely thank the crowd and talk a little about their debut album ‘In This Moment We Are Free – Cities’. Vuur launched into a triple whammy with a powerful and emotive performance of ‘Rio’, ‘London’ came in more aggressively and those in the crowd who weren’t stomping along before were suddenly captured by the sheer energy, and then the room began to breathe again just as the band launched into ‘Helsinki’ with more power than before. ‘Helsinki’ was the shining light of Vuur’s personal set, drawing together powerful emotive vocals with melodic yet heavy guitars that created an almost anthemic feel as the song drew into each chorus and culminated in a bittersweet sounding guitar solo.
Not giving the crowd any rest we were treated to another The Gathering classic ‘Strange Machines’, and we know what is to come with every dong of the bell… and right on cue Anneke comes out with some of the strongest, lowest vocals I’ve ever heard from her, putting out a powerful first verse. As the song reached its toothier, more progressive interlude I didn’t know whether to scream, sing or dance and so stood frozen in awe until Anneke’s vocals came back in with “Russian revolution let’s do that in one day” and I felt like I was literally flying along with her notes. Never did I think I would get to see this song performed live and the fact it actually happened still has me in shock.
Coming to a close now, the band launch into another cover, this time of Devin Townsend’s renowned collaboration with Anneke, ‘Fallout’. The song’s more bombastic approach gave a refreshing air to the set, with soaring harmonies and anthemic choruses. Last up was the also the closing track of the band’s debut album, and ‘Paris’ sure brought the show to a perfect close with its elegant, stripped back approach that crescendos into a delightful guitar solo. As ever Anneke’s voice is strong and entwines perfectly with every guitar riff creating this immense energy that just fills and takes complete hold of the room.
Vuur put out an awesome performance that had the crowd captivated and energised throughout, they are certainly a group I would love to see again. After the show we also got to meet the lovely leading lady herself – words cannot describe how in awe I was at her kind-heartedness and great smile.