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Huntress @ Stage 1

Huntress @ Stage 1 (013 Tilburg, The Netherlands)
June 8, 2013

Between playing on the big stages of the Sweden Rock Festival and the Download Festival in the UK, Huntress is doing a number of additional club shows in Europe. The first one was at 013 Poppodium in Tilburg (013 is the dialing code for Tilburg), a big difference in setting compared to Sweden Rock. Of course now they were the headliner, but still. Huntress played at Stage 1, the small but cozy second stage in 013. The nice thing of the venue is that interaction with the audience is easy, because you can almost touch the bands. But it’s not the best for photographers; the lightning is not that good and space to move is limited. And in sync with what was announced as occult metal, the lightning was quite dark with strong colors.


The show started with the Dutch band Gold. Gold is a contemporary rock band who's heavy because of their themes, not because of the sound. The link to Huntress is the occult-oriented lyrics. The website tells that the songwriting core of Gold consists of guitarist Thomas Sciarone (ex-The Devil's Blood) and singer Milena Eva. Longtime friends Igor Wouters and Harm Haverman provide a rock steady yet adventurous foundation, and new kid on the block, Nick Polak, completes the bunch with his talent for harmony and melody.

I missed most of the short set because I was downstairs with Huntress, doing a "minute shoot" after the voice preparation of Jill. Hopefully you can see some of the photos in the interview with Jill Janus that will be published in Sonic Cathedral later this month. It was interesting to hear how a singer prepared her voice with some quite different voice exercises, the classical type you always hear, and some atypical ones.

What I have heard from Gold was too short for a review but based on the reaction of the audience, the set was appreciated. For sure Milena has a warm and soulful voice (in the 1.5 songs I heard), which sets her a bit apart from other singers in modern rock music. To compensate for the short report, I have included a picture of her performing.


Right on schedule Huntress appeared on stage. As expected , Jill was wearing a cloak when she entered the stage.


It was not surprising to me that Huntress opened with "Intro", the opening song of the new album "Starbound Beast" that will be released June 28 in Europe and July 2 in the US. I should not reveal too much; you will have to come back for the CD review that will come in Sonic Cathedral later. This almost fully instrumental song fits the type of songs that is often used to open a CD and/or a gig. Huntress continued after this introduction with more new material; "Blood Sisters" which is also the follow-up of "Intro" on the album, and "Destroy your Life". With this, the audience already got a good impression of the “next musical level” of Huntress. The sound in the venue fit the more melodic music very well. The music is less straightforward than on the first album, Spell Eater, and also Jill's voice is challenged on other levels, from fairly soft melodic singing to aggressive ''screaming''. On stage they all did very well.


Next came two old songs; "Spell Eater" and "Senicide". For me these songs sounded better live then on the album. Of course live always creates a different ambience, but for many bands it's hard to get to the “studio level”. The band performed the old songs with the same energy as the new ones. It was obvious that the fans have heard these songs before. The reaction was clearly one of recognition whereas during the new songs the fans reacted more curious but overall very happy with the music.


Jill Janus, who strongly interacted with the audience, and Blake Meahl (Guitars) are the more dynamic band members. The complete line-up is: Carl Wierzbicky (Drums), Ian Alden (Bass) and Anthony Crocamo (Guitars). All together they are a coherent band with good musicians. The guitars of Blake and newcomer Anthony aligned very well. With former guitar player Ian on bass, the interaction is at a high level. The drums from Carl bring an additional dimension especially in the new songs.


The next songs were the title track of the new album "Starbound Beast" and then "Zenith". Huntress followed the sequence of the album in the show with one exception, which will be mentioned later. Good drums, nice guitar solos, solid bass and a voice in good shape gave the audience what they came for. The new more melodic metal songs were well received. Following the path of mixing old and new songs, an 'oldie' called "Night Rape" was followed by the new "Oracle".

Close to the end of the reasonably short show Jill announced the previously revealed new song whose lyrics were written by Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead. The opening sentence ("I am the Huntress ...") makes immediately clear that this one is written as a friend for Jill and Huntress. This 'ultimate love song' as Jill told the audience, was the exception in the sequence. The easy chorus line "I Want To Fuck You to Death" was immediately joined by the small crowd. The downside is that it could stay in your mind, unfortunately not suited for singing loud in all situations. On the band's set list it was written down very “safe” as FU2D.


After the closing song "Eight of Swords" from "Spell Eater", there was no extra song. Nobody minded because Jill compensated that after the show with a lot of hugs with the fans. This is also one of the advantage of small venues. The fans (and I) had a nice evening and, as Blake told me, Huntress enjoyed it too.

More and larger pictures

Sonic Cathedral will soon have a full report on the album "Starbound Beast" and an interview with Jill Janus.