DragonForce – Belfast, Limelight 2, 20/09/2014

Don’t you just love it when a “name” touring band pull into your town, picking up a local support along the way – most likely based on the philosophy that “well, they seem to have a bit of a following there, so they’ll do nicely”… only for the same opening act to promptly return the favour by blowing the headliners so far off the stage that they end up back where they came from?

Conjuring Fate - Limelight BelfastWell, that was just the scenario we witnessed this fine Saturday evening, when DragonForce paid what this reviewer reckons to be their seventh visit to Belfast… Now, as regular PM readers will know, we are big fans of Belfastards Conjuring Fate, especially in their current renascent state – but nothing could have prepared us for the shitstorm the guys were going to unleash on the Limelight stage this evening.  From the opening notes of ‘House On Haunted Hill’ to the dying breath of ‘Backwoods Witch’, the quintet were incendiary, rising to the occasion with humour – frontman Tommy Daly even took the piss out of the headliners’ own trademark histrionics during the twin solo section of ‘Trust No One’ – and a previously unseen and unrepentant fury.

Deservedly, they received a massive reception from the audience, and it was absolutely terrific to see so many turning up to support the hometown heroes:  but it does beggar a question.. why do not more of those present not support bands like the Fate all the time?  Yes, there were plenty of CF fans – the majority of them proudly supporting the band’s T shirts – but there was also a large percentage who had never seen or heard the band before:  given that there is a weekly Saturday afternoon metal show in this very same venue, it would be nice to see a few extra bodies down the front every seven days supporting local talent instead of just turning up early when one of the aforementioned “touring bands pull into town”…

Talking of whom…

DragonForce live in BelfastDue to the nature of the venue, DragonForce were forced to remain on their tour bus right up until the start of their set, when they were ushered straight through the stage doors and onto the stage – itself just big enough to accommodate all six players.  Nevertheless, they take to it (the stage that is – pay attention at the back there!) in their typically enthusiastic, full 0n, hard and furious manner.  However, things go wrong very quickly:  right from the beginning, they suffer technical problems, with vocalist Marc Hudson‘s microphone constantly cutting out, and wails of feedback permeating through the cheesy twin guitar shredfests which Messrs Herman Li and Sam Totman have made their trademark over the past decade or so.

Nevertheless, the problems do not detract from the intensity of the likes of ‘Fury Of The Storm’ – and, ironically, it is the earlier songs from their repertoire which go down much better than material from their new ‘Maximum Overload’ opus – and it is very obvious that this a band putting the the travails of their recent history behind them and trying to get back out there and have fun again:  certainly, in this latter regard, Totman is a leaner, meaner shredding machine and Hudson has developed into the sort of hugely charismatic frontman that his predecessor had forgotten how to be, and there is a new found cheekiness about them (such as their ambitious reworking of ‘Ring Of Fire’, which opens their encore) – but, there is still the feeling that they take themselves just that little bit too seriously to make all the choreographed stage histrionics work to maximum effect.

Dragonforce live in BelfastSetlist:
Defenders / Fury Of The Storm / Three Hammers / Black Winter Night / The Game / The Sun Is Dead /Seasons / Tomorrow’s Kings / Symphony Of The Night / Cry Thunder

Ring Of Fire / Through The Fire And Flames

The ‘Maximum Overload – Up Close And Personal’ tour continues as follows:

Wednesday September 24 – Middlesbrough, Empire
Thursday September 25 – Manchester, Deaf Institute (Sold Out)
Friday September 26 – Stoke, Sugarmill
Saturday September 27 – Birmingham, Template (Sold Out)
Tuesday September 30 – Brighton, The Haunt
Wednesday October 1 – Southampton, Joiners (Sold Out)
Thursday October 2 – Plymouth, The Hub
Friday October 3 – Bridgend, Hobo’s (Sold Out)
Saturday October 4 – Bristol, Thekla (Sold Out)
Tuesday October 7 – Leeds, Brudgenell (Sold Out)
Wednesday October 8 – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
Thursday October 9 – Colchester, Arts Centre (Sold Out)
Friday October 10 – Norwich, Waterfront

Support on all remaining dates comes from Neonfly.

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About Mark Ashby

no longer planetmosh staff