My 13th and final gig of 2012 saw Iced Earth back in town with support from Evergrey and two other bands as it turned out. This gig was scheduled for the much larger Electric Ballroom but was hastily switched to the much smaller Underworld down the road. It seems ticket sales weren't all that to fill up the nearly a 1000 capacity Ballroom which is understandable seeing as its close to Christmas as well. Anyway the Underworld is just close by so no biggie. The attendance was actually pretty good with I'd guess 400+ turning out so the floor was pretty packed as well as the balcony and bar sections.
First up were Deadshape Figure. A band who I vaguely recall hearing. They weren't my cuppa and nor most people's I'd guess. They were out of place on this bill playing metalcore or deathcore if you like. The baldheaded frontman was a bit crazy though. he kept leaning right over the front rows and bellowing and leaning right in their faces. I guess trying to win them over with enthusiasm but I don't think it worked. I took a few photos and went to the bar for a Guinness.
I came back for Steel Engraved though. I didn't know a whole deal about this band to be honest. I'm sure I've seen their name here and there though and maybe heard a few songs though I don't recall. They played galloping true metal with wailing vibrato laden vocals. He was quite an entertaining frontman and tried to gee up the crowd but with people not knowing their material it was bit hard going for them. Plus their songs weren't all that catchy at first listen although they got polite applause and quite a few head bangs for their decent riffage. At least they weren't metalcore and fitted in with the main bands!
Next up were Evergrey who I've seen on this very stage a couple of years ago as I recall. I think they were headlining that time but on this occasion they got a 50 minute or so set to their stuff. I heard they changed a lot of members but you couldn't really tell the difference cause they were all tight as hell and with Tom Englund at the front the face of the band remains as recognisable as ever. My fave songs were The Masterplan and Recreation Day and a couple of others too. I think Tom's voice was sometimes buried in the mix but they were real solid and went down well. Evergrey is not really a band that I love any more but its always good to hear their tunes in a live setting.
Leave It Behind Us
Rulers of the Mind
As I Lie Here Bleeding
A Touch of Blessing
Finally it was time for the icy ones to rip the riffs out like there's no tomorrow. This is the second time they've visted London on their mammoth Dystopia World Tour and this time they played even faster and with more aggression than the time before. The new Stu-iced Earth really kills it live, it has to be said, with the newish man on the mic probably the main reason for this new found energy and enthusiasm. Stu's stage banter is also pretty cool as well and he interacts well with the crowd and gets every one on edge and pumped up. The sound was also nigh on perfect with cutting, crunchy riffs bleeding out of the PA and Stu's Halfordesque screams reaching the stratosphere above it all. The best songs for me were Pure Evil, Dark City, The Hunter, Burning Times, I Died For You and the highlight of the night Prophecy plus plenty more on top. My only quip about the setlist was the lack of Stormrider. Please Mr. Schaffer can you play this next time otherwise I'll storm backstage and drag your sorry ass out and make you bloody well play it! Twice! Also last time they played Dante's Inferno but we missed it this time.
So gigs are over for another year and I didn't quite reach last year's total of 20 but I did miss quite a few for various reasons. Must be getting old!
My Own Savior
I Died for You
Motivation of Man
Melancholy (Holy Martyr)
Watching Over Me