Each year, residents of Wieze in Belgium gaze out of their windows in puzzlement as hordes of people in black band t-shirts descend on their quiet town. But soon they remember that all is well – it’s simply the annual outing of the world’s biggest and best festival of women in metal – the Metal Female Voices Fest.
The venue (the Oktoberhallen, like a wooden aircraft hanger) is the perfect size, neither too big nor too small. You can stand at the very back and still have a decent view, and even then there is a large screen for those wanting more of a close-up. At the opposite end to the stage, the hall is packed with stalls selling band merch, albums, gothic clothes, jewellery and even official festival perfume. There’s plenty to eat and drink, and press and those who are lucky enough to be able to afford a VIP pass, there’s a great bar behind the stage where you can regularly catch a glimpse of the stars.
Friday is kicked off by the lovely Liv Kristine, performing a solo show prior to the appearance of her band Leaves’ Eyes on the Saturday. It’s a tricky task, but everyone is soon enthralled by Liv’s charismatic voice. She shows off material from her latest album Libertine, as well as older songs and even three songs from Theatre of Tragedy, the Norwegian gothic metal band of which she was a founding member. Most of her work is more pop- and rock-oriented than metal, but she pulls it off brilliantly with a live band and no-one particularly minds. A great start to the festival: here’s hoping that Liv will be back for more performances in the future.
Then it’s on to the main event of the evening: the grand showcase of Eve’s Apple. Eve’s Apple is a collective of female metal singers from around the world, brought together this year by the wonderful Maxin Nil. Last year they performed an acoustic set, but this time they’re back with a full live band. The show treats us to performances from (Ready for it?) Angel Wolf-Black, Annamaria Cozza, Aylin Giménez, Clementine Delauney, Dianne Van Giersebergen, Grace Méridan, Heidi Parviainen, Iliana Tsakiraki, Karolina Pacan, Kassandra Gruszkowki , Laura Vargas, Lindsay Schoolcraft, Lisa Middelhauve, Marcela Bovio, Mariangela Demurtas, Maxi Nil, Melissa Ferlaak, Nel Dyonisis, Sabrina Valentine, Sanna Salou, VK Lynne and Zuberoa Aznárez.
The ladies cover a selection of rock and metal classics from Alice Cooper to The Who, often with as many as four singers on stage at a time (and all of them squeezing on for the finale!). It’s great fun and they seem to be having as much fun as the audience as they belt out songs that everyone knows the words to. It serves as both a great way to start the festival with a bang and a demonstration of the talents of some lesser-known singers, whose bands many will doubtless now be checking out.
By the end of day one, the festival was already shaping up to be an epic celebration of women in metal. Could it possibly get any better? (Hint – yes!)
PS: And you know what? We'll even make a special review only for the Eve's Apple show! (Why? Because we can)
Author: Sophie Cleverly-EdwardsRead the full story