Anneke Van Giersbergen & Versechorusverse acoustic at Soundhouse, Leicester – 24/04/2016

The busiest woman in rock and metal music, Dutch singer Anneke Van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering, The Gentle Storm) returned to the UK’s shores for a series of acoustic shows last month, with support from Versechorusverse, AKA Tony Wright, who supported her Inside-out label mate Devin Townsend on his acoustic tour last year . It was a lovely show in a small venue from both the acts.

VerseChorusVerse’ set was brief but fun, with soft acoustic numbers like Spiders and You Come to Me in Dreams, with more energetic songs such as Yet to Break and Sixteen Tons, all interspersed with telling jokes and stories to the audience with charisma and charm. He has a great stage presence and sense of fun, and the Irishman played a very entertaining half hour  that felt like it ended much too quickly.

Anneke last played Leicester exactly a year to the day with The Gentle Storm supported by Stream of Passion, just down the road at The Musician. It’s a different scenario this time around, trading her six person symphonic/progressive metal backing band for an acoustic guitar and playing a set on her lonesome Opening with a lovely rendition of The Gathering classic My Electricity with her voice as beautiful as ever, she went on to play a set with more covers than one would expect for a solo tour, with  My Mother Said  as the only song of her solo career, coming from her most recent solo album Drive. She had stories and jokes with the audience between almost every song, about the tour itself and memories associated with songs like Broken Wings by Mister Mister and My Mother Said. The set was full of surprises including a stripped down version of The Gathering’s hard rock anthem Saturnine, and a beautiful rendition of Kings of Leon’s Sex on Fire, as well as her take on Who Wants to Live Forever by “best band in the world” Queen, lending a soft coo to the song in lieu of Freddie’s powerful vocals. The highlight of the set was when she said she’s always asked for one of two things – Slayer, and Devin Townsend, joking that she can’t play Slayer on acoustic as she’s more of a singer, but she had learned Devin’s Ih-ah from the Addicted album she was a part of, taking Devin’s place on lead vocals in a superb cover. The set wasn’t without its mistakes with a few misplaced guitar lines or forgotten lyrics, but considering how beautiful the rest was, and that within that one month it was the third different set she toured, after a theatre tour with Arstidir round The Netherlands, and a Latin America tour with The Gentle Storm, it can be forgiven. The set was ended with a sing along of Dolly Parton’s Jolene, before she stayed to sign merch and chat to the fans.

It was a little disappointing to only hear one song from her solo career considering it was a solo set, but there was a nice mix of songs she was an original part of from The Gathering and Devin Townsend, and interesting covers that it was still a very entertaining evening. All in all another brilliant tour from one of the most underrated women in music at the moment. She’ll be finishing off her tour on the mainland, with “The new Madonna Tour” coming to Dutch theatres in the autumn, collaborating with Devin Townsend on the upcoming new album Transcendence, before her last show of the year in Melkweg Amsterdam with The Gentle Storm, before a well deserved hiatus in 2017.

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