Being the old lightweight that I am, going to two metal gigs in 2 days was a real test on my stamina and my ears but I came through it ok in the end. First of all on Friday night I saw the rearranged Astral Doors gig from April. It was a long while waiting but it was worth the wait. Unfortunately for the band I'd guess less than a 100 people turned out but they still rocked hard. Patrik Johannsson is one of my favourite singers in the rock and metal style and having seen AD as support a few years ago I looked forward to seeing them play a full set.
The support band was Stuka Squadron. Their album is cheesy but quite good. Live they looked a bit funny but they play quite well but the singer's voice is just average.
Soon enough the AD guys set up their gear and the tall and angular Dio sound alike Mr Johannsson was soon in full voice. They played many of their best tunes from throughout their career and many new songs as well. The one song that I missed hearing is Raiders of the Ark. One of my fave AD songs. However the best song of the night was the truly awe inspiring Evil Is Forever. They played for around 75 minutes and the sparse crowd was thoroughly entertained. A plus point was being in the front row and enjoying the band's cool performance. I hope to see them again one day and that they weren't too disappointed by the lack of attendance and will return soon.
The following day I was at the Dragonforce show at the Shepherd's Bush Empire. To say that it was packed would be an understatement. The place was heaving! It's funny cause a Dragonforce show attracts all sorts of people and not just metalheads. Normal non metal people seem to like the band somehow as well as usual metalheads from a wide age range from young kids to 60 and 70 year olds! It's really quite bizarre. First we had some support bands to suffer/enjoy depending on your point of view! Cavorts is a band I've never heard of. Modern metalcore or just modern metal if you like but not my thing at all. The Defiled are a modern glammy metalcore band that are quite big but they are just not my thing. Pass. Second support were Alestorm who i saw suporting Sabaton. They were far better then than tonight. The sound didn't help them being far too mushy and bassy. Their jiggy happy pirate songs are quite cool on record however I was a touch bored by them live on this occasion.
Finally it was time to see how new boy Marc Hudson would fare as Dragonforce front man in a live setting. Well to be honest it wasn't his night at all but mainly due to technical issues which rendered his vocals almost inaudible on plentiful occasions and the fact that ZP just sounded better on the old songs than Marc did as I recall. However the lad did good and the best song of the night with ease was Cry Thunder sung spectacularly well by Marc. Unfortunately some of the songs blurred into one another they were played so fast and this was one of the least enjoyable Dragonforce shows that I've seen and I've seen a few. I guess it could be that they are just too popular now and something is missing from the live show though I still enjoy them a lot on record. I'll think twice about seeing them live again though.
Here are the photos from the AD show however I couldn't take even one decent picture from the Dragonforce show it was so packed out and I was far away from the stage as well.