On the evening of Thursday 14th April, at the intimate setting of the downstairs bar at Scruffy Murphy’s in Birmingham was the location for the first night of the Neath Draco’s Gaze Tour and I had the pleasure of attending.
The first band to perform was Suddenlash fronted by the charismatic Lidia Guglieri. They performed their brand of soundtrack symphonic metal, which as you can probably guess, sounds like it would fit on a film score. Lidia’s excitable energy and wonderful voice warmed up the audience at Scruffy Murphy’s. Their guest cello player certainly made for an interesting stage set up. This was their debut UK show and I hope it is the first of many to come.
After a changeover it was the turn of Xilla, a progressive rock band from Birmingham. Being the host of The Sanctum (playing mainly symphonic and folk metal), normally Xilla’s music wouldn’t appeal to me. However they made a fan out of me their thoughtful lyrics and passionate vocals. Xilla performed the most mellow sounding set of the evening but they had everyone hanging on every note.
Next up were Orpheum, a very different band to Xilla. Orpheum are a gothic progressive metal band based in London. Orpheum performed with such intoxicating energy and the crowd were with them every step of the way. On top of an amazing performance, Orpheum treated the Birmigham crowd to news that their much-anticipated, long-awaited debut album Darkness And Decay is now available for pre-order and will be released on June 24th this year.
After all this, it was the turn of Alwaid to take the stage. Orpheum are a tough act to follow but Alwaid more than managed to keep the crowd going with their mesmeric energy. I saw Alwaid a few weeks ago at The Quinphonic Festival and it was almost as if they picked up where they left off. They were fantastic once again. Although their set did appear to be cut short, but I think all bands were running a little late on this evening. I’m glad they still managed to fit in 2 of my favourites “Asphodels” and “Hei! Ashanti-Nygh!” (both from their Lacus Somniorum album).
I hope it’s not too long until all of these bands come back to the Midlands. After tonight’s show I would recommend any one of them. They all offered something different and were very enjoyable.