Dragonforce’s Frédéric Leclercq chats to GRTR!’s Dave Wilson before their gig in Edinburgh, the first night of their UK tour
It may be a Wednesday night but Edinburgh is buzzing with anticipation as it is the eve of the Scottish Independence vote which has managed to split opinion across the nation right down the middle.
It’s quite apt then that Dragonforce have chosen this evening to kick off their latest World tour in the city as the band have the ability to split opinions in almost the same manner.
Love them or hate them there is no doubt that Dragonforce are one of the most talented groups of musicians in rock and have the ability to write some of the most entertaining power metal ever committed to record.
On this UK jaunt the band have decided to take the music to the people, so instead of 7 or 8 larger gigs the band have embarked on a 20 date tour taking in smaller venues up and down the country.
I first saw Dragonforce in this very venue back in 2005, so to be back here tonight has rekindled some good memories. There may have been a few personnel changes since then but musically the band have developed and improved and with their latest album, ‘Maximum Overload’, now released to great critical acclaim, the stage is set for the next chapter in the Dragonforce story.
As with any first night of a tour technical glitches are a feature of the evening, nothing major, but timings are out from the start so the support slots are a bit truncated. Death Valley Knights were up first but, unfortunately, due to interview duties, I only managed to catch the last couple of numbers but I saw enough to be impressed. Their brand of metal/thrash went down well with the growing crowd and the band left the stage to a huge cheer, ones to investigate further I think.
One band that increasingly need no introduction are Neonfly who have been touring relentlessly for the last few years in support to the likes of Magnum and Alice Cooper.
Again time was of the essence so the band kept chat to a minimum and let the music do the talking. The set featured tracks both new and old, the new tracks being taken from the band’s forthcoming album ‘Strangers In Paradise’ which is due for release soon.
Frontman, Willy Norton, commanded the stage with theatrical moves and soaring vocals which went down a storm with the Dragonforce crowd. The set may have been short but it was most definitely effective and no doubt Neonfly gained a few more fans to add to the growing band.
The anticipation ramped up to the next level though for the entrance of Dragonforce. There were also nerves on stage as this was the debut performance of the latest addition to the Dragonforce family, Gee Anzalone, who has taken over the drum stool from Dave MacKintosh .
The intro tape rolled and the guys took their positions before kicking off with ‘Defenders ‘from ‘Maximum Overload’. The album was to feature heavily throughout the set but the more familiar strains of ‘Fury Of The Storm’ were greeted with the first circle pit of the night.
The epic ‘Three Hammers’ was up next with stunning guitar work from Herman Li and Sam Totman and new man Gee showing he was the right choice to fill the vacated drumstool. Marc Hudson has now made the frontman position his own and his vocal delivery is never less than stunning. You could have forgiven him a few missed notes as this was the opening night but he nailed every one.
A return to the band’s first album was next with ‘Black Winter’s Night’ before things were brought up to date once more with ‘The Game’ which was the lead track from the new album. The rapid pace then dipped a bit with ‘The Sun Is Dead’, but things were soon back to full pelt with ‘Reasons To Live’.
Another couple of new tracks followed including the Frederic Leclercq-penned ‘Symphony Of The Night’ which sounds like a rocked up outtake from the ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ musical.
Time though had raced on and the set had to be cut short to make the venue curfew so what better way to round off the night than with the classic ‘Through The Fire And The Flames’ complete with guitar gymnastics which have your jaw dropping, a great end to a fantastic set.
This possibly wasn’t a classic DF performance due to the time constraints and first night issues, but even operating at 85% the band were still stunning. Once they have played a few dates and have eased themselves back into the live arena I can only imagine how good the shows will be and with so many gigs scheduled there is bound to be one close to your door.
What better time then than to vote with your feet and get along to a show, it may not be of national importance but you are sure to have a highly entertaining night.
Review and photos by David Wilson
Dragonforce tour dates
20th Sep 2014 Belfast Limelight 2 (Special guest Conjuring Fate )
21st Sep 2014 Dublin Whelan’s Ireland (Special guest Conjuring Fate)
23rd Sep 2014 Carlisle Brickyard (Special guest Neonfly)
24th Sep 2014 Middlesbrough Empire (Special guests Neonfly, Death Valley Knights )
25th Sep 2014 Manchester Deaf Institute (Special guest Neonfly)
26th Sep 2014 Stoke Sugarmill (Special guest Neonfly)
27th Sep 2014 Birmingham Temple (Special guest Neonfly)
30th Sep 2014 Brighton The Haunt (Special guest Neonfly)
01st Oct 2014 Southampton Joiners (Special guest Neonfly)
02nd Oct 2014 Plymouth The Hub (Special guest Neonfly)
03rd Oct 2014 Bridgend Hobo’s (Special guest Neonfly)
04th Oct 2014 Bristol The Thekla (Special guest Neonfly)
07th Oct 2014 Leeds Brudenell (Special guest Neonfly)
08th Oct 2014 Nottingham Rescue Rooms (Special guest Neonfly)
09th Oct 2014 Colchester Arts Centre (Special guest Neonfly)
10th Oct 2014 Norwich Waterfront (Special guest Neonfly)
11th Oct 2014 London Bush Hall (Special guest Neonfly)
Tour: Maximum Overload World Tour
18th Oct 2014 Tokyo Loudpark Japan
Tour: Maximum Overload in Europe (with Epica)
20th Nov 2014 Luxembourg Kulturfabrik Luxembourg
21st Nov 2014 Strasbourg La Laiterie France
22nd Nov 2014 Zurich X-TRA Switzerland
24th Nov 2014 Milano Alcatraz Italy
25th Nov 2014 Rome Orion Italy
26th Nov 2014 Marseille Le Moulin France
28th Nov 2014 Madrid Shoko Spain
29th Nov 2014 Lisbon Paradise Garage Portugal
30th Nov 2014 Porto Hard Club Portugal
02nd Dec 2014 Barcelona Apolo Spain
03rd Dec 2014 Toulouse Bikini France
04th Dec 2014 Bordeaux Rocher de Palmer France
06th Dec 2014 London The Forum
07th Dec 2014 Utrecht Vredenburg Netherlands
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