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Van Canto @ Poppodium
Written by Ton Dekkers   
Monday, 05 May 2014

Rakka Takka Bada Boom – Van Canto @ Poppodium 013
Tilburg (Netherlands) - Thursday 3 April 2014

 

 

On a lovely spring afternoon I was rushing towards the Press Conference of Van Canto. A Press Conference? Yes, because too many press responded positively to the opportunity provided by Napalm, that simply doing separate interviews would take too much time. Despite being a lovely day, traffic didn’t align with that feeling. So arriving a little late I found out that Van Canto was also delayed due to challenges crossing the Canal. Also other press came in late. As the first writer present at the press conference along with Stef (Stefan Schmidt) and Ross (Vc Thompson), I got the opportunity to do my questions immediately. As it was an unrecorded session, it’s hard to recall who said what and the answers are credited to Van Canto.


Van Canto

 


T: As you can’t change instruments to create a different sound, how do you overcome that difficulty?

VC: The voice is a powerful instrument and applying different techniques we’re able to create different sounds. And as we’re five a lot of combinations are possible. However technology is also used to create or at least empower the vocal capacities. We all have different microphones as they have their own characteristics.

T: How do you develop new sounds?

VC: There is no structured process, it is more or less organic. As we are little exceptional, there are no vocal coaches that teach how to sing guitar. So we had to develop our own approaches and techniques.

T: Do you train and practice your voices a lot?

VC: Not specific as we are on tour now and just finished the recording of the Dawn of the Brave we’re in good shape.

Then it was time for the others. In the meantime the expected press arrived. I will pick two things from the other interviewers that are nice to know. Related to the new album: to do a cover of “The Final Countdown” was already for years on Stef’s list, but with the fifth album he thought the time was right to put it on the agenda and nobody disagreed. The second thing was the answer to the question why just one female singer and four male. VC: It’s a matter of balance. Adding a second female singer will move the whole sound in a different direction. For sure Inga (Scharf) has her specific moments where she’s more in front but that’s also part of keeping the balance.

The shortened press conference, about 20 minutes, closed with the “making of” two jingles for radio stations that were at the press conference.

The weather was still OK so I could enjoy killing the time until the doors opened. Same for quite a number of people who were already sitting in front of the venue (more than 3 hours before opening). They made themselves comfortable with take-away pizza and pasta. I just had a drink in company of Mike (Napalm) and Tasmara van Loon (Windforce, ex-Sylver Myst).

When I came back to the venue, the crowd was a little bit larger. The concert at the Small stage (why was the large stage not in use?) was already sold out for a long time. It didn’t make sense to try to get into the front rows so I decided to go to the balcony. Definitely a good choice, not only for a clear view on stage (front row balcony) but also a nice overview of the crowd.

Winterstorm 

The support was by Winterstorm. This German metal band brings very melodic power metal with clear vocal harmonies. It was interesting that they had a quite noisy and lively fan base present. They prepared very well the audience for the main show. The lineup is: Alex (vocals), Seb (drums, backing vocals), Armin (guitar, backing vocals), Michi (guitar, backing vocals) and Peter (bass). Looking at the line-up, the melodic songs are supported by four (male) singers. The songs refer clearly to fantasy and pagan elements. Their show was very enthusiastic and dynamic despite the limited space available. Van Canto’s drum kit was already on stage. The clear harmony vocals fit very well with the melodic metal. Although they recently released their third album Cathyron (marked 3 in set list), most songs were from the previous album Kings Will Fall (2). There was one song from the album A Coming Storm (1). An encore on crowd request was honored.

 

Winterstorm 

 

Set List:
Cathyron (3)
The Stormsons (2)
Winterheart (1)
Windkeepers (3)
Into the Light (2)
Metalavial (3)
Kings Will Fall (2)
Encore:
Dragonriders (2)

 

Winterstorm 

 

Larger and additional photos

Now it was time for Van Canto. Some members are already mentioned but the full lineup is: Ingo Sterzinger (vocals - doom a bass), Ross VC Thompson (vocals - higher rakkatakka), Philip Dennis Schunke a.k.a. Sly (vocals), Inga Scharf (vocals), Stefan Schmidt (vocals - lower rakkatakka, wah-wah), Bastian Emig (drums).

 

Van Canto 

 

As you can see in the lineup the word “rakatakka” shows up. This became the magic word for the rest of the evening. Especially after Stefan’s request to fill up the gap when they needed to drink. From that moment every spare minute was filled up by “Rakka Takka, Bada Boom”. When looking at the double bass drum kit, these words were also very visible.

For me it was the first time to see Van Canto live. Although you are aware of it, the first impression is a little strange to see the stage setting. When Van Canto started with “Dawn of the Brave” intro followed by “Fight for Your Life” you know that live isn’t that different from the album. It’s surprising what you can do with the voice. Looking at the reaction of the crowd there is definitely space and appreciation for Metal A Capella.

 

Van Canto 

 

The “Tour of the Brave” is to promote the fifth album Dawn of the Brave (5). It’s no surprise that most songs of the show are from that album. It’s obvious that the video “Badaboom”, that created the second part of the magic words, is performed too. Followed by an amazing Nightwish cover of the bombastic “Wishmaster” with excellent vocals of Inga. This and other songs from the second album Hero (2) show that the choice Van Canto made is a sustaining one.

Van Canto continued with a mix of new and old songs. Old songs from the albums Break the Silence (4), Tribe of Force (3) and the debut A Storm to come (1). The drum solo was an impressive break to give the singers some rest. And talking about balance, with the Black Sabbath cover “Paranoid” Inga got a break. This song is a boys thing. After a lot of “Rakka Takka Bada Boom’s” from the audience Van Canto came to close the great show with the encore, with “Fear of the Dark” as the final song.

 

Van Canto 

 

Set list:
Dawn of the Brave (5)
Fight for Your Life (5)
Badaboom (5)
Wishmaster (Nightwish cover) (2)
Steel Breaker (5)
Rebellion (Grave Digger cover) (3)
To Sing a Metal Song (3)
The Other Ones (5)
Drum Solo (-)
To the Mountains (5)
Unholy (5)
Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover) (5)
Primo Victoria (Sabaton cover) (4)
The Mission / Master of Puppets (1) / (3)
Encore:
The Bard's Song - In the Forest (Blind Guardian cover) -- Audience request (2)
Fear of the Dark (Iron Maiden cover) (2)

 

Van Canto 

 

Larger and additional photos

This gig shows that metal has a lot of variety, a lot of streams. Both Melodic Harmony Metal (Winterstorm) and Metal A Capella (Van Canto) have gained a position somewhere in that spectrum. The very enthusiastic crowd had an excellent evening. And when walking to my car, you still could hear the “Rakka Takka Bada Boom”.

 

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