Friday, 21 November 2014

Threshold Live Report at the Islington Academy

I believe this is my second time seeing Threshold live. The first time with the wonderful singer Mac who sadly passed away of course and now the second time with the returning singer Damian Wilson. I had been looking forward to this gig quite a lot as I love the new album immensely and was dying to hear how the new songs sounded live and boy did they sound good. But more on Threshold later. There were two support bands to get through one of which I've never heard and the second only fleetingly on youtube.

First up were Greeks The Silent Wedding. They play a sort of slightly melancholy version of prog metal with crooning vocals and slow to mid paced songs with lots of keyboard flourishes. Obviously I didn't know their songs and it was hard to gauge how they went down but I guess they were ok but not really anything special. The best song of their set was actually a pretty cool and faithful cover of Savatage's Gutter Ballet. Very nicely done and any band that covers Savatage is cool although their own material needs a bit of work to make it more catchy as it tends to meander along without much excitement. Not too bad overall though.

Next up were Italian power metallers Overtures. I've heard a song or two on youtube from these guys and they were decent but nothing that made me go wow. However I must admit that they put on a very decent live show and have an engaging front man who interacts well with the crowd. His constant pleas for the crowd to boo Overtures and cheer Threshold was funny shit. The band sounded pretty spot on and maybe I should give them the time of day with their album to see if it can impress me. The singer definitely sounded very good live although somewhat accented. he did hit some seriously high notes throughout an the rest of his band mates were very impressive. In the end it's all about the songs and I'm not quite sure if Overtures have a brilliant and majestic enough arsenal to impress the power metal hordes out there but they sure made a decent fist of things last night and were a more more than able main support to Threshold although a different kind of style altogether.

Finally at 9.30 or so it was time for the English kings of Prog to take to the stage with a very live wire Damian Wilson at the helm. The guy was on acid all night it seems! He was literally everywhere and he spent a god portion of the set down on the main floor in the crowd. Speaking of the crowd the Islington Academy was probably only half full but that's still around 300 or so which is not too bad at all for an unfashionable prog metal band. The band started with the catchy Slipstream and straight away sound tighter than a chicken's backside. the sound was super crisp and Damian's clean vocals came booming out of the PA with great effect. This was a very supportive and partisan crowd with a lot of singing and it seems Threshold fans are a very loyal bunch and I was surprised how much adoration they actually receive after each song and the amount of singing that goes on as well.

The band continued with The Hours before we got to hear more of the newer songs which I had been hoping for. Ground Control was amazing and very melodic. Both guitarist Groom and Morton were riffing and soloing like bona fide stars of the metal underground. Unforgiven was the first new song aired and was awesome as I suspected it would be in the live setting. Damian's vocals were truly superb on that one. Couple of older songs were aired which I was less familiar with so personally there was a slight mid set lull before Coda, Lost in Your Memory and Watch Tower on the Moon brought things back up to date with brilliant melodic intent.

The epic Pilot in the Sky of Dreams was started by Damian on the main floor as can be seen in my video. Another epic followed that with the amazing song The Box from the new album one of my favourite tracks and was sung to perfection by Damian. Mission Profile ended the main set in catchier melodic fashion before the band returned for a final encore of Ashes having played a near enough 90 minute set and gone past the curfew even.

Even at the end Damian jumped over the ledge and into the crowd to accept the applause and back slaps and took photos with the fans. The guy really puts everything out for the fans and respects the people that come to see his band play. To be honest Threshold were amazing last night and even better than when I saw them with Mac who was a far more reserved and less enthusiastic guy than the madcap Damian. He stole the show with a wonderful performance from start to finish. His vocals were superbly clear and his overall sparks of enthusiasm make the Threshold live experience something to treasure and to look forward to again and again.

The Hours
Liberty, Complacency, Dependency
Ground Control
Siege of Baghdad
Part of the Chaos
Lost in Your Memory
Watchtower on the Moon
Pilot in the Sky of Dreams
Mission Profile
The Box


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