Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Yellow and the Blue

Good to get the bike out and get out onto the open roads of the Northamptonshire countryside for almost the first time this year. First of all not only was there a strange yellow thing up in the sky the field were awash with it too. Oilseed Rape seems to be everywhere and does divide opinion. For me it looks stunning when the sun is on it but there does seem to be an awful lot of it!
Since 2002 production of biodiesel has been steadily increasing in the EU and USA to 6 million metric tons in 2006, Rapeseed provides much of the vegetable oil needed. With improvements in agriculuture and more sophisticated pest control it is no surprise there is an increase. The uk is actually the worlds 7th largest producer behind France and Poland with China being the biggest producer. I'm please to say my elbow stood up to the bike ride and 25 miles were completed!
Later that evening I visited the Woods to see if I could see any Badger activity. It was just as the sun was setting and shining through the trees and was spectacular particularly as the Woods were filled with Bluebells. The word that springs to mind is 'tranquil' as nobody else in sight , no noise except for a few excited sheep in neighbouring fields.
I settled down in the undergrowth and prepared for a wait in cases any Badgers appeared out of their setts.... and waited and waited in fact I was glad I took a book with me. It was just etting dark around 9:15 and getting ready to depart when I saw the familiar site of a black and white head suspiciously poking out from it's hole. She did come out and was no more than 10 feet away and munched the peanuts I had scattred around earlier. A second Badger then even more nevously poked it's head out and then disapeared just as quickly.
By now the light under the canopy of trees had almost gone and the screeching of a Tawny Owl added to the eeriness of the situation. Last year I recall the Badgers leaving the setts much earlier in the evening but at least they still appear to be there. I just about managed to stumbke my way out of the Woods in the darkness and back to the car but I will be back!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Delain & Trillium - Birmingham HMV Institute

Amanda Somerville - Trillium
Back at the HMV Institute again, but this time in the more intimate setting of 'The Library'. This soon became apparent whilst joining the queue outside which was wearing a distinct lack of black? My suspicions were re-enforced when we were joined by a foreign sounding lady of 'a certain age' carrying her shopping bag... It was time to ask some questions! Sure enough we were in the wrong queue! An evening of traditional Polish music was not what we were there for as, wonderful as it was i'm sure.
First band on were Halcyon Way from Atlanta US whose many influences include; Dio, Megadeth and Dream Theater. So a real mixture of Metal / Progressive / Rock was anticipated. They certainly delivered a poeerful set and went down well with frontman and 'Axel Rose' lookalike 'Steve Braun' commanding the stage. Enjoyed their set and purchased the 'Building the Towers' CD for a bargain £5 which I got fully signed.
I had really been looking forward to seeing Trillium and Amanda Somerville in particular as I have spoken to her previously on FB. Amanda has guested with Kamelot, Avantasia and Epica in the past and has a varied vocal range from soft and elegant pop rock with some hard rock, folk and soul music influences. Much of the set list came from 2011's 'Alloy'. Must admit I hadn't heard the album beforehand (did pick up a signed copy however).Largely based on the live performance which was a revelation. I have to say that Amanda was captivating and should be a big star in truth and commands your attention for every second of Trillium’s set – she’s a proper, honest to goodness rock star.
Trilium Set List
  • Machine Gun
  • Mistaken
  • Purge
  • Utter Descension
  • Bow to the Ego
  • Path of least Resistance
  • Coward

I'm still finding it hard to understand why Delain are not playing bigger venues? But on the plus side it does make for a more intimate setting and a better atmosphere at places like The Library. This Tour is promoting the third Delain album 'We are the Others' which due to record company issues the release date is now put back to early June.
There was a great mix of songs from the first two albums mixed with the new stuff including my favourites; Stay Forever, Invidia and The Gathering which provided a bouncing encore and finale. In total there were nineteen songs played and each one was met with the same buoyant vibrancy. Guitarist Bas Maas
Once again Delain were sporting a new guitarist in the form of German Bas Maas who usually plays with Doro. Usual axeman Timo Somers is staying at home for this tour to concentrate on a solo album he is putting together but will be back!
Charlotte Wessels
I loved Delain, let’s be honest – like Trillium, they’re a band who gain so much from the live experience. You simply can't help but enjoy yourself with melodies, metal and smiling faces they never disapoint.
Delain Set List
  • Mother Machine
  • We are the Others
  • Go Away
  • Sever
  • Virtue & Vice
  • Generation Me
  • Invidia 
  • April Rain
  • See me in Shadow
  • Are you done with me
  • Get the Devil out of me
  • Shattered 
  • Babylon 
  • Sleepwalkers Dream
  • Electricity
  • Not enough
  • Control the Storm
  • The Gathering