Never seen the cult American prog metal legends before so I thought let me give them a shot. I used to own and like Parallels but I've never fully been able to really get into this band for some reason. It just never clicked with me and even the latest album which everyone sings the praises of never managed to float my boat in the end though it does sound very good indeed. But I gave them a good chance to see if things may change in the live setting.
There was a support band called The Riven with a nice young blond lady at the front. The bass sounded like Maiden but the music has a blues pop/rock flavour. Not bad but nothing really for me to get excited about and check more of. It's always nice to watch a pretty, young blond gal head banging and dancing though!
Fates W, after quite a long time of waiting around, finally took their positions and launched into the opening cut From The Roof Tops. You could immediately tell these guys were seasoned pros as they played so tight and skillfuly. The mastery on their respective instruments was there for all to see. Life in Still Water was particularly catchy and well received from the surprisingly busy Underworld. Special mention for the crowd actually which topped 300 no doubt. I was expecting about 150 die hard progsters but I guess it being a Friday night helped and the crowd was very healthy indeed.
Even Ray commented from the stage that the band was very pleased with the crowd and that it was more than double the last time they played this same venue ten years back. It seems their stock is rising a bit. Their material is played with quite a lot of emotion and mood or darkness shall we say compared to other prog metal bands who go for technical wankery etc. These guys know how to pace and create mood whilst still showing off their skills. Front man Ray Alder was in fine voice and I guess that has something to do with giving up smoking as was pointed out to me by a friend at the gig.
Not being fully aware of what song is what slightly dampens one's enjoyment of a gig but with Fates Warning you can just wallow in the atmospheres they create and the somewhat stop start riffage which they sometimes employ. I couldn't point out highlights but the skill and performance level of the band is very good no doubt. I just can't personally connect with any of the tunes in any big way which is my problem I guess. I can't fault the band's skills or delivery but I guess their material doesn't quite have the catchiness that I'm really looking for in my metal music.
The band played for around 90 minutes and gave their devoted followers their money's worth that's for sure. FW will probably always remain a cult prog metal band but you can't deny so many decades worth of experience and musical skill. I've seen them once now so that will be it with me and FW. I'll leave them to their appreciative and vociferous fan base...
From the Rooftops
Life in Still Water
A Pleasant Shade of Gray, Part III
A Handful of Doubt
The Light and Shade of Things
A Pleasant Shade of Gray, Part IX
A Pleasant Shade of Gray, Part XI
The Ivory Gate of Dreams: VII. Acquiescence
The Eleventh Hour
Point of View