DragonForce - LIVE: Shepherd's Bush Empire, London 2012

The Power Within Tour
October 6 (21:45-23:00)
Capacity 1200

In the three years since their last headline tour all DragonForce have done on home soil is their sold out show at the 100 Club in February, making this the first headline tour with new singer Marc Hudson on their home ground to showcase new The Power Within; it is fair to say expectations are high, and with a variety of bands from all over the metal genre on the bill it is also easy to see why it has enticed such a turn out.

It's a cold Saturday night in London, yet the cold autumn night does not dampen the spirits of fans as the queue surrounds the complex of the venue even as 19:20 rolls round and The Cavorts hit the stage inside. Although effort and talent is shown throughout their small set, they lack atmosphere and therefore fail to connect with the audience. A shame for such a small band, however with such a venue and other increasingly-iconic bands on the bill, it's no wonder the reception was poor. Surplus to requirements.

Less than half an hour since The Cavorts started their set and one of metal's fastest rising bands The Defiled come crashing onto the stage, with fist pumps, keyboard flips and the occasional swig of vodka; the band is clearly ready for business and hold that connection with the audience throughout. Swiftly going through a short six-song set, The Defiled manage to play all the well-known hits - including Call To Arms and the newest single Black Death - but also try out new song As I Drown which will appear on the new album set for early next year. The set seems to be over before it starts but although it is short, they still manage to get the crowd singing constantly.

Another quick 10-minute change-over and pirate metal band Alestorm begin, and the atmosphere within the venue is finally seen at its height, with a substantial amount of plastic swords having been confiscated at the doors and a good third of the audience dressed as pirates, Alestorm seem to have be a good choice for the bill. Although Alestorm's set was the same number of songs as headliners DragonForce and nearly as long, it only felt like they did not deserve it. With nearly every song sounding the same, the pirate accent being not to everyone's taste, and Christopher Bowes' keyboard looking like a child's toy from Argos. However they seem to keep the audience's attention for the majority, opening with the hit The Sunk'n Norwegian and especially with the sped-up version of Rum due to time constraints to finish.

Finally, 21:43 is when the roars are heard for the long-awaited headliner act's arrival on stage. Energy, smiles and beer is the order of the day and it is clear these guys are meant for live shows. Over the past few years speculation has arisen regarding whether Dragonforce are as good live as on record, let alone even play the whole songs. However tonight the critics are proven wrong and every note is played perfectly. Towards of Heroes of Our Time Hudson's vocals cut out and from then on vocals become an issue throughout the set, but at least this time it is technical. Although these technical issues dampen the atmosphere momentarily Hudson and co. soon move forward and make a night worth remembering with duel solos, crowd singing when vocals could not be heard and the almighty face pulling by guitarist Herman Li; it's easy to see DragonForce are at their best again.

After a seemingly short set of nine songs, they come on once more for the encore to play Valley of The Damned and that finishes the night. DragonForce are probably likely to tour more frequently now, and if they carry on with these standards, high places at 2013 festivals may be in order.

“ critics are proven wrong ”

The Defiled setlist: Call To Arms / Black Death / Blood Sells / As I Drown / The Resurrectionists

Alestorm setlist: The Sunk'n Norwegian / Wenches & Mead / Shipwrecked / Buckfast Powersmash / Nancy the Tavern Wench / Keelhauled / Pirate Song / Midget Saw / Captain Morgan's Revenge / Rum

DragonForce setlist: Holding On / Heroes of Our Time / Seasons / Fury of The Storm / Die By The Sword / Operation Ground And Pound / Fields of Despair / Through The Fire And Flames / Cry Thunder // Valley of the Damned

Written by Ellis Davis
More: 2012, Gigs, Hardcore/Metalcore, Power Metal, ,

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