Capitol, Perth, WA
June 16th, 2017
Supports: Silent Knight
I must admit, I’m not the biggest Dragonforce fan, a firm believer of less is more puts me at odds with the way they play. But I’ll use any excuse to have a beer and bang my head on a school night. It’s been a long time between headline gigs for Dragonforce. All the way back in 2008 was the last time the power metal masters had blessed Perth with their presence. With the new album, Reaching Into Infinity to promote it was the perfect time to return.
I’d barely stumbled through the door at the not quite fashionably late time of 8:20PM to hear Perth power metal powerhouses Silent Knight kick off the night with the title track off Conquer and Command. They launched immediately into the killer ‘Empty Threat‘ and even though I’ve seen Silent Knight play over half a dozen times both as support act and headline gigs and I don’t think I’ve ever heard them sound better. The boys obviously dig deep for this one, not only musically but deep into their catalogue… Ok there’s only a couple of full length albums and the odd EP to choose from but it they tore through the song ‘The Master Plan‘ from their debut album like it was a new one.
As guitarist (and king of banter) Stu McGill pointed out it was their job to warm us up and it was our job to get warmed up. McGill takes the role of front man while lead singer Jesse Onur Oz concentrates on his vocals, and what vocals he has, hitting notes we mere mortals can only dream of. With heads banging, horns thrown high from the back t-shirt and denim clad punters it looked like the early crowd was in the mood for a night of blistering hot power metal.
The Capitol Bar nearly went into meltdown when the boys tore into their cover of one of the cheesiest songs in rock, the Europe “classic” ‘The Final Countdown’. Lead guitarist Cameron Nicholas replaces the awful keyboards by shredding the absolute shit out of it on his guitar. A brave, and great way to finish an opening set that set the standard for the night.
Bring on the kings of shred.
Slated to come on at 10:00 the speedsters followed Silent Knight’s lead, jumped the gun and exploded onto the stage a full 10 minutes early. Warp speed is the only thing this bands knows, they’re a band you either love or hate there’s rarely an in-between. But love them or hate them there is no doubting the spectacle that is Dragonforce show. Guitarist Herman Li tore across the stage like a man possessed, not surprising as he plays that way as well. His fingers a blur on the fretboard, dancing along it like a demonic magician. But he’s not alone, fellow shredder Sam Totman is cursed with the same affliction. The fingers were on fire as the Londoners fired off a salvo of ‘Ashes Of The Dawn’ and ‘Seasons’. Dragonforce are an assault on the senses. Notes come from everywhere raining down like hell fire, and if, if you can avoid the fretboard machine gun fire there’s no escape from the soaring, operatic vocals of enigmatic front-man Marc Hudson. Throw in Frederic Leclercq’s completely mad bass with Gee Anzalone supersonic drums it’s an all-out assault.
But it wasn’t all open warfare, Hudson added hilarity announcing he’d learned Australian’s use the word cunt as a term of affection. So he threw around the word with reckless abandon. The room full of his cunts loved it. To be honest the only thing funnier than Hudson swearing like a sailor was every time he announced “this next song is fast” as he did with ‘Fury If The Storm’… Dude all your songs are fast, light fucking speed fast.
So, what else is there to do? What the hell, let’s throw in a guitar solo… but because it’s Dragonforce they unleash bass player Leclercq on lead guitar, to be honest it’s not a huge stretch for him as the maniac plays a 5-string bass. How do you have a guitar solo stand out when literally every one of your songs is a solo from go to whoa? Easy just drop the tempo and play some funky jazz.
Just when you think it can’t get any better or silly Dragonforce take it up a notch, the perfect example of this was following crowd favourite ‘Cry Thunder‘ with the best/worst version of the legendary Johnny Cash classic ‘Ring of Fire‘ you’re ever likely to hear, ever, in your whole fucking life.
Dragonforce may play like Yngwie Malmsteen on steroids but they don’t take themselves too seriously, and put on a hell of a show. This reviewer for one is off the fence…. I’m a fan.
Review by Gareth Williams (@notgareth)
Photo gallery courtesy of Emanuel Rudnicki (Emanuel Rudnicki Photography)
Please credit Wall of Sound and Emanuel Rudnicki if you repost.
Dragonforce – Reaching Into Infinity Australian Tour
Wednesday, 21st June
170 Russell, Melbourne (18+) (Supported by Teramaze)
Thursday, 22nd June
The Basement, Canberra (18+) (Supported by Immorium)
Saturday, 24th June
Manning Bar, Sydney (18+) (Supported by Lord)
Sunday, 25th June
The Triffid, Brisbane (18+) (Supported by Chronolyth)