Venue: The Brickyard, CarlisleDate: 23 September 2014
This was an event I had been looking for forward to for a while, despite the fact that ever since seeing these guys for the first time in 2006, i've had to travel at least an hour to go and see them. At the start of 2014 I made the move away from Carlisle to Newcastle, so what do Dragonforce do? They decided to go and play Carlisle, I could have screamed at them for that. Anyhow, on to the night.
The anticipation for this event was high, even halfway down the road in the queue before the doors opened, I was just glad it wasn't very cold. Dragonforce have made me wait in colder weather before. This is the first time that power metal and indeed the mighty machines of Dragonforce and Neonfly have rolled into the 'great' border city of Carlisle.
It was clear that with this being a sold out show, it'd be a night to remember. As we got inside and made all our purchases (shirts or beer), the excitement grew, the time became close for it was nearly time for Neonfly to take to the stage.
The lights went down and the music went quiet, ten minutes ahead of schedule, which was pretty great. Time to take a deep breathe, as the band blasted into their first track 'Ship with no Sales'. It was clear from the off that the Brickyard hasn't sounded this great in ages. Willie looks unnoticeable these days with a little more hair than I remember, but was easily noticed by his jumping around. His voice was as great as it always is and the guitarists gave as much energy, putting some great head-banging and windmill head-banging in as they played.
The night was full of greats off 'Outshine the Sun' with 'Gift to Remember' and 'The Enemy' following suit, then the band showed off their energy by playing "three songs in a row", which we were told and asked if we could handle it.
It was great to hear 'The Ornament' get played and between two other great tracks of 'Spitting Blood' and 'The Revenant'. As the set came to a close the band moved to newer material of their newer album set to be released in December, all throughout not loosing any of their energy.
New guitarist Andy Midgeley has done well fitting into the shoes in such a short period of time and indeed didn't look out of place. Set closer 'Morning Star' took us back to familiar territory and the sing-a-long kept us suitably warmed up for more and for the headliner.
The Brickyard was well and truly full up by the time Dragonforce took to the stage and when they came on it was easy to realise they aren't the band I saw on the 'Power Within' tour. Blasting out the gates with 'Defenders', it was clear to see Marc has grown a lot of confidence and vocally is much better. The airing of 'Fury of the Storm' took us back, but is always a pleasure to hear. Easily more comfortable on these tracks than he used to be, but especially his own tracks like 'Three Hammers', which came next. An anthem, easily the whole band took to with some backing vocals throughout coming from the as always energetic and slightly crazy guitars of Herman, Sam and Fred. Various gestures and conversation assumed throughout songs with the crowd, which showed they are a band that enjoy what they are doing.
A showcase of old and new kept everyone happy with a rare airing of 'Black Winter Night', which was fantastic to hear and yes, it kept me happy. The middle of the set took to showcase the newer tracks with a string of songs including 'Symphony of the Night', 'Seasons', 'The Game' and 'Cry Thunder', which was broken up by 'Heroes of our Time', proving that the new era is here, but the old songs will still get a say.
When the band returned they dived into an unexpected encore song of 'Ring of Fire', (I knew it would be there, I just wasn't sure where), which was well received like any other Dragonforce track. After this it was the final and very predictable track of 'Through the fire and the Flames', which as expected, incited the pit to be reopened.
Welcome to the new Dragonforce who just keep improving, especially with the new drummer, who keeps quiet and does his job well. All in all a great night and I look forward to seeing them again next time, whichever part of the country that will be in!
Special Guest Reviewer: Chris Pickard
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