Gig review: POWER QUEST – The Underworld, London, 31 May 2013

So here we are some twelve years since the mighty Power Quest started and they are playing their penultimate gig (their last gig is at this year’s Bloodstock festival in August) as they bid us farewell. Hopefully though they will be back at some stage in the future. A good turn out too, especially as Michael Schenker was also in town nearby.

I missed most of the support band Dendera’s set being caught out by the early start. Their vocalist has a bit of the Rob Halford scream about him, whilst the music reminded me of Iron Maiden. Not a bad band going by the three songs I heard.

Power Quest have released five studio albums and the one constant in varying line-ups is Steve Williams (keyboards), the mastermind behind the band and their music. The rest of the band is completed by Andy Midgley (guitars), Paul Finnie (bass), Rich Smith (drums), Gavin Owen (guitars) and Colin Callanan (vocals). We were promised a two hour set of classics and starting off with ‘For Evermore’ soon set the frantic tempo for tonight’s gig, no ballads in this set!

This is my fifth time seeing the band and the first time I have see vocalist Colin Callanan who is a livewire, although I kept thinking with his hairstyle and looks he could also front an indie rock band.

Original vocalist Alessio Garavello popped on and off during the night to take the mic stand for the older songs and he can still sing those high notes. It also gave Colin some much needed rest as a two hour, no holds barred power metal set is a stern test for any vocalist. The other notable special guest was original guitarist Adam Vickers who came on stage for songs of the debut album.

A great setlist and one of the best live versions I have heard of ‘Far Away’ and the main set closers of ‘Temple of Fire’ and ‘Wings of Forever’. The whole band seemed to be having a blast and guitarist Gavin Owen never stopped smiling throughout the whole gig. Of the newer songs ‘Better Days’ was awesome played live and ‘Blood Alliance’ had the headbanging set to max in the crowd.

‘Edge Of Time’ and everyone on the stage for ‘Neverworld’ topped off a rousing night of melodic power metal from a band who will be sorely missed. A truly memorable gig and a more than fitting farewell from the band to their fans.

The various members can be seen in other bands including guitarist Andy Midgely in IAmI and drummer Rich Smith in Raven Lord, plus mainman Steve Williams will be playing keyboards in a yet to be announced band.

For now the Quest is on hold but I am sure it will carry on again one day…

Review by Jason Ritchie


Ascension/ For Evermore/ Rising Anew/ Sacrifice/Cemetery Gates/Human Machine/ Glorious/ Power Quest/ Better Days/ Blood Alliance/ Far Away/ Children of the Dream/    Temple of Fire/Wings of Forever/Encore:Edge of Time/Neverworld

Before their Underworld gig GRTR!’s Jason Ritchie caught up with Power Quest mainman Steve Williams (SW), along with bassist Paul Finnie (PF) and drummer Rich Smith (RS) to chat about the upcoming gig, what’s next for the band members and the highlights of Power Quest

Power Quest

It must feel pretty strange playing your penultimate gig?

SW:  Yes it is a weird one. We will probably know better afterwards than now just before the gig. There’s a certain element of unreality about it. Two hour set and play as much as we can.

PF: (laughing) That’s if we last that long!

SW: There are a couple of guest appearances from past members and that should be something else for the fans as well.

Bloodstock is your final gig. How long a set have you got there?

SW: I think we’ve got sixty minutes, which isn’t bad. But the reality of trying to cram the best of sixty songs into sixty minutes means we are going to disappoint some people down the line.

PF: We can do a sixty minute medley with a minute per song.

Are there any plans to record this show and the Bloodstock one for a live DVD and/or CD?

SW: No I am a firm believer that festival sound is patchy at best and unless you’ve got the finance to tweak it considerably in the studio it’s not worth doing. Lots of people have asked about tonight.

We decided to play here (the Underworld) as we have played here six or seven times and it may have even been the first show we ever did. It was certainly part of the first tour we did. Similarly Bloodstock in 2003 was the first festival we did. There is a bit of symmetry about it.

You’re still with Napalm Records. Any plans for a best of release at all?

SW: I think technically we actually owe them one more album. This may mean at some point we may have to do a new album possibly. This could be a greatest hits. The interesting thing there is Napalm own two albums and I own the first three, so we would have to do some negotiation to make it work.

It’s like anything in life, you make decisions and hang up your hat, but you get to forty years of age as I am and you know full well things change. In two years time we may think let’s do another one. For now I think we need a break.

PF: We’ve all got different things going on, whether it be family wise, work wise. Just dedicating 100% of your time to Power Quest would be a very difficult thing to do. Getting back together for this weekend has been fantastic in the respect that we have been able to give 100% in what we did yesterday and will do tonight on stage. We can forget about everything else we have going on and that’s a nice feeling.

SW: It’s reality. People think you’ve got a nice website, you’ve done five albums you must be raking it in.

I was in a pub in Nottingham a few months ago and somebody did come up to me and say ‘what are you doing in Nottingham? You bought a house here? You must be rolling in it.’ I gave him the biggest reality check about how this works.

Five percent of people are making a living out of it – the rest of us do it because we love doing it. For me I’ve always maintained it’s my career alongside the music. We’ve always said about Power Quest it is about the music firstly and lastly, it’s not about if we give you £50K to make an album. It’s about the music and above all it has to be fun. If it isn’t fun somebody must be pulling the strings.

So maybe in a couple of years you may do another album and tour?

PF: I think it depends on everybody’s personal commitments. I am sure if everyone had the time and the money was there we’d do it.

SW: These past twelve months I have been totally consumed with my day job. This is leaving me every evening brain dead, needing the weekends to recover before doing it all over again. But these last few weeks I have had a bit more time and a few more ideas are popping out. I will be working in my own studio and keeping in touch with these guys.

We may do something with some of the guys that is not Power Quest for example. Me and Rich see each other two or three times a week and we are always talking about ideas and what we could do.

Which leads nicely onto my next question what have you got planned after Power Quest?

SW: I am currently doing an album with another band and I am merely the keyboard player. I am not allowed to tell anyone upon pain of death. A couple of months down the line it will become more apparent.

RS: I’ve joined a band called Raven Lord and they are recording a new album. They’ve a couple of shows coming up at the minute, one in Belgium and one in the UK. It’s been received well and going well.

PF: I am stepping away from music for a least a year or two. Spend some time watching my little girl grow up. But after that the hunger is still there and I am sure one or two years down the line I will appear in some form musically, I don’t know where.

SW: Along those lines our guitar player Andy Midgely has joined IAmI, the band with former Dragonforce singer ZP Threat in it. As for the other two I am not exactly sure what their future plans are.

What have been the highlights of your time in Power Quest, live and recording wise?

SW:  I’ve been here since the start. Whenever you make your first record that is always a highlight. I dreamed of making an album as a kid at school. It was only when I got to 29 and ‘Wings of Forever’ I achieved this, so it was a long wait.

Every album is a highlight. Bringing new guys into the band and having to deliver something that was different each time.

Touring wise probably touring with Helloween back in 2006 and Angra in 2007. Bloodstock in 2003, our first festival and probably the show we did here in 2011 with Crimson Glory. One of my all time favourite bands and to get the chance to play with those guys was something special. Lots of highlights really.

RS: All of the live shows have been great. Our first European tour was a good learning curve.

PF: I think for me there was one big moment and tour. The European tour with Helloween I wasn’t a full member, I was basically drum tech and not just for Power Quest, but Mark Cross (Helloween’s drummer) as well. Being on the tour bus and seeing some amazing places whilst on tour.  We have the guys from Firewind on the bus too, they were great guys. The one gig I will take to the grave with me I think was the PPM festival in Belgium where we were so warmly welcomed by fans. It was one of the greatest moments we had.

It’s great to see your fans queuing already.

SW: Yeah it’s great and you never know how many will turn up. It is notoriously difficult to get people to shows nowadays, especially in London where there are so many other shows on. I think Michael Schenker is playing somewhere in town.

Good luck with the show tonight and as a big fan thanks for the past twelve years and the great music and shows.

All: Thanks and we’re looking forward to tonight.

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One Response to Gig review: POWER QUEST – The Underworld, London, 31 May 2013

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