DragonForce/Power Quest - Corporation, Sheffield, October 7th 2017
Set List: Ascension (Intro.)/Wings Of Forever/Temple Of Fire/Kings And Glory/For Evermore/Lords Of Tomorrow/Magic Never Dies/Far Away.
Having never heard of this band prior to the gig a little research tells me these are an offshoot of the original DragonForce line up from their very early days featuring Keyboard player Steve Williams and follow a similar musical style.
Their opening song immediately shows the undoubted skill and ability of the band, with twin guitars of Andy Kopczyk left of stage and Glyndwr (Glyn) Williams to the right at a blistering pace. The rhythm section of Paul Finnie on Bass Guitar and Rich Smith on Drums are also faultless and the energy used by drummer Rich is astounding, with only a very fit `athlete` capable of this kind of thundering high speed and sustained workout.
Vocals are covered with power and control from Ashley Edison from front centre stage. Image wise the band is firmly split between the traditional long haired rocker of the Keyboard player, both guitarists and the drummer while the Bass and Vocalist have a less `Rockstar` persona with sensible haircuts and stage gear.
The crowd are definitely with the band and give rousing reception and applause to the entire set, songs are played with power and confidence and the band are obviously enjoying themselves with broad grins and interplay with the crowd.Altogether an exciting band to see live and well worth checking out.
Set List: Ashes Of The Dawn/Operation Ground And Pound/Seasons/Judgement Day/Fury Of The Storm/Fred and Gee Solos – Guitar & Drums/Heart Of A Dragon/The Edge Of the World/Cry Thunder/Valley Of The Damned/Ring Of Fire/Through The Fire And Flames.
Having listened to DragonForce many years ago I had forgotten what an excellent band these are. Having never seen them live I had a certain air of excitement. Surely a band that plays at such breakneck speed cannot recreate the sound live right?
Wrong! Boy can these guys play. Having seen many of the worlds fastest guitarists over the years (The late great Gary Moore still a stand out), I was blown away by the sheer speed yet control and subtleties of the guitar pairing of Herman Li and Sam Totnam. Their high speed interplay is a wonder to see with searing solos and riffs wrapped round each other effortlessly. Bass duties are covered by French musician, Frédéric Leclercq.
Drummer, Gee Anzalone pounds away on a kit with more metal work than the Humber bridge. Opening with the track 'Ashes Of The Dawn' from their latest offering 'Reaching Into Infinity', quickly followed by old favourite 'Operation Ground And Pound', I can`t help noticing from the pit that the entire front row and many behind are singing along to every single word, clearly DragonForce have their own loyal fans, with the crowd so clearly behind the band a good time is to be had by all.
Focal point for the band must be vocalist Marc Hudson, the consummate front man, his vocal delivery is impeccable with high notes in abundance, throughout the gig he has a huge beaming smile and is obviously enjoying the occasion. He interacts with the crowd often asking the fans to stay behind afterwards and meet up for beer and selfies.
At one point in the show he asks if everyone’s up for singing and is amused when one guy shouts “No”. This prompts the crowd into the now familiar chant `Yorkshire, Yorkshire`. This seems to puzzle Mark until the man mountain security man explains. Apparently, Marc thought the chant was `You`re shit` to the guy who said “no”. He’s then further bemused that he’s still in Yorkshire (having played York the night before) he clearly thinks Yorkshire is a town! All this simply serves to endear him to the crowd.
From the pit I get a first-hand view of the amazing finger work on every blistering song, though some better lighting would have helped photo wise! After what seemed like a long time but actually after only four songs the stage empties briefly and bass player, Fred reappeared alone having swapped bass for guitar. This guy is clearly multitalented, he plays in several other bands, switching to bass originally as a fill in he quickly became a full time member of DF, his guitaring talents would easily put the majority of other well-known musicians in the shade.
Beginning with some crowd play for fun he builds up into a well structured and melodic solo, he is then joined on stage by vocalist Marc on Bass with Gee on drums. They play the Mario theme together before Fred continues alone again, giving way then for a powerful drum solo where Gee skilfully hammers his way effortlessly and energetically round his kit.
When all members return to the stage, the old favourite 'Heart Of A Dragon' from their debut album brings the crowd back to a sing along frenzy. Following this, Mark introduces us to a new song from their latest offering - this song entitled 'The Edge Of The World' is my favourite of the show.
Unlike many DragonForce songs, it has more of a structure, starting with a traditional sound and vocal delivery. It then builds to a middle section were Marc gets to growl the vocal part before eventually returning to a similar style to the opening. This is all interspersed with chugging riffs and the trademark guitar breaks.
As if to pacify any doubters of this style (unfounded) they then play one of their more commercial offerings in the form of 'Cry Thunder' with everyone once again joining in for the chorus. By now, they have realised that the venue curfew is approaching (it’s a club night) and rather than waste time leaving the stage to return for an encore pledge to play on and maximise the songs they put over.
'Valley Of the Damned' and 'Ring Of Fire' follow then their final song, 'Through the Fire And The Flames' brings the music to a close. Having just finished the song, said their goodbyes and taken a bow, Mark is again asking fans to come and meet them after the show when the switch is thrown and cuts him off. You can’t get better value for your money than that I'd say. Frst rate gig and two first rate bands.
By Pete Hawkins