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PandDemonium, Antwerp, Belgium
19th January 2008
La-Ventura

For their first gig of 2008, the Dutch rock/metal band La-Ventura chose the world capital of the diamonds, Antwerp, in a place called PandDemonium, a genuine gothic café, situated right in the middle of the old city centre, just a few steps away from the main square and the city hall. The band gave an acoustic concert in the afternoon, followed by a signing session and a photo shoot in the old city. The full concert started later at 20h30 in front of an enthousiastic audience that had filled the small room of the Panddemonium. Between 50 and 100 people were present to discover or support this new female fronted alternative metal band. Organisation: Sunshine Concerts.



La Ventura means "luck" in English, that's what this Dutch alternative metal band needs for "A New Beginning", which is the title of their self-produced debut album released in 2007. The band was founded by ex-Orphanage drummer, Erwin Polderman and vocalist Carla Douw. A charismatic singer with passion in her voice, melancholic and mystical, atmospheric synths and piano, heavy guitar riffs and a groovy rhythm section are the main features of La-Ventura. During the gig, the band announced in exclusivity a new deal with Renaissance Records to distribute their CD in the USA, which will also probably imply a North American tour.
Line-up: Carla Douw (lead vocals), Erwin Polderman (drums), Sascha Kondic (guitar), Michael Saffrie (bass), Marco van Boven (synths, but left the band in November 2007) http://www.la-ventura.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/laventura



Music
La-Ventura starts with "La", like "Lacuna Coil", and that may be a coincidence, however their respective music belong to the same category of alternative metal, with La-Ventura being a bit more heavy and hence also closer to the style of Evanescence. While many Dutch metal bands rather find their inspiration from the North, it is interesting to discover a band exploring a more alternative and modern metal style, in the same way as the two French bands who were selected during the Metal Female Voice Festival warm up 2007: Kells and Markize.



Obviously, the band presented their album, starting actually with the opening title "Deadline" which puts you right away in the universe of La-Ventura; this song contains everything: great rythms, nice melodies, some melancholy alterning with agressive riffs and the passion in the clear voice of Carla, which is strongly present in all songs, but never too much, too agressive or too leading. The vocals have their place like the other instruments. The bass plays an important role in the ryhtms, even sometimes accompaining the guitar riffs which gives a nice catchy effect. From the first song, the musical quality and professionalism of the quartet is impressive. And this impression will last for the next hour. The second song is "Themata", a cover of the Australian band Karnivool. The next song is "Only love will find its way". As it's name indicates it's a song about love but also about death, and that's the theme of La-Ventura: love and melancholy, with a touch of hope. "Messed Up" is a heavier song, with agressive guitar riffs enforced by the bass, and again the perfect voice of Carla, going from low to very high on this one. The heavy rythms invite the audience for some headbanging. The next song is the title track of the album "A new beginning" and is a bit more mellow. It sounds very much like the softer songs of Evanescence and allows Carla to demonstrate the talent of her voice. "Memoria" is one of the favourites of the band as they played it again for the Encore. It's indeed a very catchy and easy listening song which reminds between your ears after a few spins of the album. Next comes "The Hunter", again a more catchy and rock song, with a faster tempo, which reminds a bit the style of the Slovenian Naio Ssaion. "Cry" is again an easy listening catchy song, followed by "Trefoil", the single title of the album, which, as its name indicates, is a kind of "green" song, a prayer to save our vital resources of air and water before it's too late... In the final song "Right & Righteousness" there is a notable piece at the end where the guitar and the bass play the same heavy riffs in perfect synch. The sound of La-Ventura is definitely contemporary and lies in a wave that has the potential to interest a wide audience.



Performance
The PandDemonium is a small venue, with a very small stage and limited technical means. Actually their was no light show at all, but just a few spots providing a static lightning, which fortunately was just strong enough to shoot photos without flash and not too strong to avoid "cooking" the artists. The sound was of excellent quality and at the right level for the size of the room. The nice thing about small venues is the intimacy between the artists and their audience, which gives a special dimension to a concert and Carla took benefit of this situation and interacted generously with the audience. From the first song, the quartet felt very at ease on stage and showing a great deal of energy, passion, emotion and fun in what they were doing. Carla was radiating a positive energy and seemed very happy to be there. She put a lot of energy and passion in her voice and did not hesitate to do some headbanging on the heavy guitar riffs. Everyone in the audience seemed impressed and very pleased by the quality of the show. It was a great musical moment and worth the travel to Anwtwerp. It will be interesting to see how the Dutch band will evolve in 2008 with their "New Beginning" and whether they will find "La ventura" to pave their way to success.





Setlist
01. Deadline
02. Themata
03. Only love will find its way
04. Messed up
05. A new beginning
06. Memoria
07. The hunter
08. Cry
09. Trefoil
10. Right & Rigthousness

Rating
Music 8
Performance 9
Sound 9
Light n/a
Total 8,7




All pictures by Stéphane Odent (http://www.stepix.be/)

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