The night began with EnkElination, who didn’t exactly stick in my mind as all the songs sounded fairly similar to one another and the band lacked stage presence so the performance wound up dragging and being rather dull as a result. There just wasn’t anything that stood out about them.
However Winterstorm upped the ante and were just a thoroughly engaging and fun band. There was a great amount of energy onstage (even with the drumkit restricting their movement!) as the five-piece powered through a set chock-full of songs that can only be described as utterly majestic. Frontman Alex knew how to work the crowd and was energetic and entertaining, often joking with the crowd between songs which really helped to get everyone onside. It was honestly a faultless set and was a fantastic way to warm up for Van Canto – hopefully they’ll be back in the UK soon!
After numerous chants for the band, Van Canto came onstage to a roar of cheers and the whole crowd was behind the band from start to finish. Crowd participation was at an all time high, and at one point everyone was singing back lines as Stefan sang them to us!
Although it did feel like the band got off to a somewhat shaky start, they quickly got into things a few songs in and dominated the stage from then-on. The highlight of their set was absolutely their cover of Sabaton’s Primo Victoria and it felt like the roof was being raised with the amount of singing, clapping and cheering throughout! Paranoid also went down tremendously, but that wasn’t to say their original material wasn’t memorable because inclusions such as the fantastic Unholy and the aforementioned Steelbreaker were some of the strongest of the set.
Sure, it would have been nice to hear their fantastic cover of Manowar’s Kings Of Metal but the set was nigh-on faultless, with a good mix of old and new material, and it was an excellent night all-round.