Manning Bar, Sydney NSW
June 24th, 2017
Dragonforce are a power metal band who have been around for over seventeen years. They have released seven studio albums and toured Australia on a number of occasions. In 2017 they are here to promote their latest album, Reaching into Infinity, the third with their latest vocalist Marc Hudson. Marc has really enhanced the sound of Dragonforce in my opinion, giving the band a more traditional metal sounding tone. Herman Li, founding guitarist and principle song writer, is still the driver of the band, but Marc has definitely left his “mark,” so to speak.
Tonight they hit The Manning Bar stage and definitely came to play. The bar was fairly packed with a cross-section of metal fans, from the old school right through to the current generation of metal maniacs, and they also came, to listen. The support tonight was none other than LORD, the Aussie metal outfit who has been around, well, forever. LORD have really become a quality act and on tonight’s performance, their stints overseas have certainly done them no harm at all. Tim is a solid front man, he can sing, he can play and he knows how to work a room. His singing in particular tonight was right on par and the guitar melodies locked in between him and Mark Furner, were spot on! The Sydney crowd are well versed in LORD’s material and live show, and this was very evident tonight. The crowd hung on to every note and were stoked to see the locals up on stage! The crowd also benefitted from the band throwing out in excess of twenty or so free shirts. Highlights tonight were ‘Steelheart‘, ‘Resurrection‘, ‘Set In Stone‘ and ‘Through the Fire’. I don’t really think the Metallica cover of ‘Creeping Death’ was needed, I would have rather heard another LORD song, but the crowd didn’t seem to think so! LORD were the right opening band for this gig and in many respects, in my opinion, had it over Dragonforce tonight. We need to now see LORD in a headlining capacity, with a decent length set and a stage for them to best represent what the band has to offer.
Dragonforce hit the stage around 10pm and they were pumped! There was an intense energy in their performance, and they were here for a good time. The fact that they don’t take themselves very seriously is actually a strength. Marc handles the bands back catalogue quite well and his voice lends itself to the newer material, well because he recorded it. However, at times tonight his voice was a little thin and he was left wanting, overall though it was a good performance from him. He has a laid back style as a front man and the audience enjoyed his interaction. The focus on the swearing was a little too much for me, to be quite honest, however, again, the rest of the crowd didn’t think so. Herman has really settled down as a live performer and is now commanding the stage with confidence and self-belief and this has really lifted the band. He has transcended a lot of his early career antics, however, the licking of his guitar is still prominent. The rhythm section tonight was definitely the strength, Frederic on bass and Gee on drums, were amazing and carried the band seamlessly throughout the set. The new material went over extremely well with the audience, and everyone present seems to have gotten to know the new album before tonight’s show and ‘Curse of the Darkness‘, the opener ‘Ashes of the Dawn‘, and the epic ‘The Edge of the World‘ were stand outs in the set. Songs from the back catalogue that really stood out tonight included ‘Three Hammers‘, ‘Fury‘ and ‘Cry Thunder’ with its stock standard predictable, arena style, sing-a-long.
The interaction between the band and crowd was a highlight and they definitely could have kept playing for another hour or so, but it was also a downfall. A significant amount of time was wasted, in my opinion, with an audience member drinking a beer from a shoe, we could have had at least another track in here and the guitar solo played by the bassist, despite it showing that he is an excellent guitarist, lost me, I really didn’t see the point to this and again saw this as a lost opportunity for a few more songs from the back catalogue. But overall the band put on a solid show.
On the back of tonight we can be assured that Dragonforce will be back, they went over extremely well. They have a strong following in Australia and the band obviously values the support that they receive down here. It was a great metal night at The Manning Bar, an opportunity to see Dragonforce again and proof that LORD can now definitely stand tall against international metal acts!
Gig Review by Mark Snedden
Dragonforce – Reaching Into Infinity Australian Tour
Sunday, 25th June
The Triffid, Brisbane (18+) (Supported by Chronolyth)