DRAGONFORCE are undoubtedly one of the hottest prospects on the current metal scene, they even make a dozen or so references to flames, fire and all sorts of conflagrations throughout their track listings.
And as if to take the analogy even further they had local support act Fireland as part of the current tour!
So why then no pyrotechnics or flamethrowers when Dragonforce come on or leave stage? I know the Mandella Hall isn’t the biggest venue in the world, but a couple of flash pots….
But when the ‘force touched down on stage for the November Belfast dates there was incendiary playing (that’s enough about flames! – Editor) and energy emanating from the stage to keep the fans happy.
Of course all the favourites were trotted out (with the exception of …Lifetime on Thursday night), and of course the between song banter was as clichéd and funny as ever, but this is well into a year of touring the Inhuman Rampage album.
It took about halfway through the set for the band to warm-up to their full live potential, seemingly when Sam and Herman’s beer intake had reached a certain level.
At times ZP seemed at a loss what to do when the harmony solos were widdling away at stage front, though as the set wore on this was less evident as he took to engaging with the front rows more and more.
The emerging star of the band is now Frederic, the French bassist, who was a slightly peripheral figure when they played Belfast earlier this year. We here at Belfast Metalheads Reunited have been searching in vain for the exact translation for it, but unable to find it, suffice to say he had a ‘Merde munching grin’ on his bake!
As usual everyone cheered when Vladim did his keyboard solo, but it was almost identical in every note to last time, including The Simpsons theme tune flourish. It is the one aspect of Dragonforce’s live set that has a nasty niff of naff Euro-metal.
Vladim needs to re-evaluate his sound before the next album – we humbly suggest a crash course in John Lord, Colin Towns and Darren Wharton vibes!
The ‘Force set was rounded off with Through the Fire and the Flames (more bloody fire references) and, after the obligatory pause, a return for Valley.
Hilarity ensued as Sam tried to remain standing, and failed miserably to show off his bass prowess when swapping axes with Frederic, while the band rounded off a fine show.
However, there were a few gripes (apart from Vladim’s solo and lack of pyros). The set, and some of the banter, is too familiar now. It’s a sign of being on the road for a year, and a sign that they need to get back to the studio now.
Also, what was the point of bringing the trampolines out for 30 seconds? Just to say ‘We had trampolines?’ Might work in bigger venues, but not here.
The final gripe was the asshole with attitude, bad hair and worse clothes. It’s a metal show dude, people bump into each other, don’t get pissed at people about it, and if you want to fight at a concert, go to a spide gig or a skinhead get together, but come back to a metal gig with that attitude again and your ass will be kicked. There were a lot of people looking for you at WASP to say, ah hem, ‘hello!’
Apart from those minor gripes – great show and hurry back Dragonforce with new material and a refreshed set.