DragonForce & Powerquest bringing the thunder at Birmingham’s O2 Academy 2.
As soon as I entered the venue one thing became very apparent to me; god damn it’s hot tonight. Undeterred by the ever present heat however I squeezed my way through hoards of powermetal fans and positioned myself at the front. Only two bands would be gracing the stage tonight and first up were Powerquest hailing from Southampton UK. Despite the lack of room on stage they still managed to put on an engaging performance with vocalist Ashley Edison in the forefront warming up the crowd, perfectly backed by thick layers of melody provided by guitarists Glyndwr Williams & Andy Kopczyk and keyboardist Steve Williams.
Now then, the time has come for headliners DragonForce to take the stage. The first thing you notice when looking at their stage setup is how baron it is minus the three risers at the front and drummer Gee Anzalone’s beautiful kit. The purpose behind all this extra room quickly becomes apparent as guitarists Herman Li & Sam Totman dash across the stage and break into their opening track ‘Ashes of the Dawn’. This is one band who never cease to stop moving… Well other than to play a solo of course and boy there are a few. Technical prowess is the name of this game and these guys have a metric tonne of it.
Vocalist Marc Hudson takes centre stage and bangs out fan favourites such as ‘Operation Ground and Pound’ and ‘Cry Thunder’ with ease inciting the crowd to take part and sing along, not that we could ever compare to his voice. Marc’s vocals were impeccable from the first to the very last note, not once did they falter.
It’s been a good few years since I last got the opportunity to see DragonForce perform live and what I distinctively remember from that performance many moons ago was the lack of fun, I remember it being a lot more serious affair and it’s probably what made me check out of DragonForce for a long long time. However, after last nights performance I’m so glad to say that’s all changed. The band seem to be having so much fun up there now; regularly pulling funny faces, smiling and generally just pissing about with each other. Power metal isn’t a serious genre so this playful demeanour really makes all the difference when engaging the audience, I loved the bands larger than life attitude combined with their sense of humour as did everybody else packed into that warm sweaty venue.
Now then, no DragonForce review would be complete without mentioning the giant elephant in the room, their most popular song to date and the final song of the evening: ‘Through The Fire And The Flames’. It’s amazing when a band can make a joke about themselves, with vocalist Marc asking the crowd how many people have come tonight just to hear this one song and introducing TTFAF as the track from Guitar Hero 3. What a way to end the evening, DragonForce absolutely surpassed my expectations in every way. If like me you’d stepped away for a period of time then now would be the perfect time to come back and give them another shot; I promise you wont be disappointed.