DragonForce/Power Quest – Manchester, Sound Control – 8 October 2017 Print E-mail
Written by DJ Astrocreep   
Saturday, 21 October 2017 04:00

With only two bands on the line up, Power Quest had a job on their hands to both sell themselves to the audience and sufficiently warm the crowd up from nothing for headliners DragonForce. By the time they take to their stage after their intro music, the majority of the 500-strong lock out crowd are in pllce, waiting to soak up the delights to come.


It's clear at the off that a large amount of those present are here solely for DragonForce, getting a treat of another top quality power metal band. During the first song, there is a bit of foot tapping, head nodding and such, but few who seem to know the music so well. By the time the second song starts, the room is now full to the brim, and it's clear that Power Quest are starting to grab the attention of people, as half of the crowd are now getting into the sway of things, be that clapping, singing or nodding along.




It's clear from the opening couple of songs quite what influence Sam (DragonForce guitarist/songwriter) has had on Power Quest during his time there, as some of the riffs do sound somewhat familiar without actually being copied from any DragonForce songs. One thing that is noticeable is the bass, which is more akin to that you would expect from a punk band - by no means a bad thing!


By the end of their six-song set, the crowd seem very taken with Power Quest, so it looks like jobs well done - the crowd are suitably warmed out, and I daresay Power Quest have rightfully picked up more fans than they started the night with.


So, it's time for the headline act now, and the title track from the new album 'Reaching Into Infinity' blares out of the tannoys, warning any fans that have ventured downstairs to smoke or the like that it's time to run back up.




DragonForce open with ‘Ashes Of The Dawn, from their new album, and it's obvious that around half the crowd have already been listening to the album, as heads are bobbing, people are singing along and grabbing the air, as few genres other than power metal rarely seem to do! Others that don't know it still seem interested in it, as the looks on their faces is much more of interest than boredom or such.


Next on to a fan favourite in ‘Operation: Ground and Pound’, and from the start there are air guitars being ferociously strummed, even more air grabbing then before from the audience, whlist the band belt along at full pace. It's a feat for something as technical as the likes of DragonForce to have as many intricacies in their playing as they do, whilst still having that uplifting and fun feeling their music seems to exude - even more so live than their recordings can offer. Even with this, each note is well played, with an almost ferocity that only a talented band can manage.


The set continues in a similar vein to the first two, with the crowd not all knowing the newer songs, but everyone loving the old favourites. The newer songs do not seem to detract from the atmosphere any, but hold the interest of everyone, regardless of their level of knowledge of it.




The gutar and drum solos give singer Marc a well-earned break to lubricate his vocal chords for a moment or two, as the musicians take their turn to enthrall the crowd, playing their own renditions of the ‘Street Fighter’, ‘Super Mario Bros. 2’ and ‘Sonic The Hedgehog - Green Hill Zone’ themes, which seem to hit just the spot with the crowd.


A recurring theme throughout the set is the shouts of “DragonForce” from the crowd between each song - showing their appreciation in the crowded room, despite the at times almost overpowering heat of the venue. This is noted by singer Marc, who throws out a couple of his own water bottles to people, and the venue places many plastic cups of free water at the end of the bar for people to help themselves to.


Between songs, at times barely heard above the baying crowd, the vocalist interacts at leisure with the crowd - including getting the whole band sign a fish for someone - whilst remarking that even he found it pretty funny that they paused the gig for a minute whilst everyone signed this fish for someone! Add in to this Marc also taking a photo of himself on someone's phone, to send to the person's partner, and it's clear that he is in his element too, as people enjoy the bits of stage bravado he produces in the gaps. His mention of Liverpool is met with a loud chorus of boos and I chuckle to myself, as he had asked for precisely that from me just after our interview had finished earlier.




The main set finishes with ‘Cry Thunder’, the band splitting the audience in half, to get them singing off against each other, before pulling up a young lad on stage to have a go at singing the chorus along with the band - yet another example of the kind of interaction that has everyone feeling like they are part of everything, and vital to that inclusive feeling needed for a real live performance.


With the crowd beckoning for “six more songs”, Marc comes back on stage before the rest, telling the crowd that as much as they would like to, six songs is a bit too much for them to play as an encore - especially when three of theirs is more like six of everyone else’s, which is met with a cheer and a laugh. Back on come the band, before launching into the title track of ‘Valley Of The Damned’, before going on to a rather good heavy metal twist to the song ‘Ring Of Fire’, popularised by Johnny Cash. This left the song everyone had been waiting for, and finally it's time for “That Guitar Hero Song”, as the band launch into ‘Through The Fire And The Flames’. This has the usual delights of the guitarists playing each others' guitars during the song


Overall, this was a highly enjoyable gig, which left everyone going home happy. The newer recruits in Marc on vocals and Gee on drums fit in very well, and it doesn't seem like the band have lost any of their impetus from the days of 'that song' propelling them more into the limelight - more like they feed off it and still use it to propel themselves onwards and upwards. Venue staff were friendly and helpful, the PA system and acoustics are always top notch and the lighting and sound are well controlled and trouble free as always. Another great night in a great venue!


PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Shot By Simmons (taken at Sheffield Corporation). You can view our full gallery of photographs HERE.


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