Dragonforce at Whelan’s – Review and Photos
Dragonforce at Whelan’s – September 21st, 2014
I walk into the dimly-lit venue and I’m met by crowds of people already taking their places by the stage. Dragonforce are almost like marmite: you either like them or you don’t; and apparently, there are quite a lot of marmite fans! Everyone gets together, grabs their pints and prepare themselves for what is to come, and the first thing to come? Conjuring Fate.
Conjuring Fate is a 5-piece riot from Co. Antrim, who was more than ready to bring the thunder. Almost immediately, the crowd become intrigued by the energy and catchy riffs that now fill the venue. Conjuring Fate is a band that seems very comfortable on stage, and they have no problem getting the crowd involved in their performance. As if they weren’t comfortable enough with tonight’s crowd, one of the two guitarists casually strolls through the crowd while playing. Personal favourites of mine from their set were definitely “Trust No One” and “Mirror Mirror”. I was tremendously impressed by their performance and I couldn’t have picked a more suitable band to support Dragonforce if I tried. If you arrived after their set, you missed out on a top-notch performance. I look forward to seeing what the Northern Ireland musicians do next!
Tonight’s headliners take to the stage and open their set with ‘Defenders’ off of this year’s ‘Maximum Overload’. From the word go, everyone seems determined to shout just that little but louder than everyone else. When I heard that Dragonforce were playing Whelan’s, I was rather surprised. After some thought however, I realised that this was the perfect place for Dragonforce to play; it’s a small, intimate venue that allows for their music to do all the talking, and that’s exactly what it does. Songs like ‘Fury of the Storm’, ‘Three Hammers’, ‘The Game’, ‘Heroes of Our Time’ and ‘Tomorrow’s Kings’ had the crowd screaming at the top of their lungs, banging their fists as hard as they could and head-banging like there was no tomorrow. As the crowd begin to chant their name, the entire band look astounded and just down right ecstatic to be playing for such an enthusiastic bunch of people. It was honestly the first time in a very long time that I saw the band interacting with the crowd as though they had been friends for years; some laughs, some jokes and some teasing. When a band can have fun with their fans, it honestly improves a performance tenfold. During the set, there is an issue with guitars, but this does not phase the band one bit, and they break into a jazz improvisation! Dragonforce are probably some of the most talented musicians/vocalists I have ever seen, and I was left in total awe watching them perform (plus their jazz wasn’t half bad either!). They were a well-oiled machine from the beginning to the end, but unfortunately, the end had to come. They finished their set with ‘Cry Thunder’, but promptly return for an encore of ‘Ring of Fire’ and ‘Through the Fire and the Flames’, the latter creating mass hysteria amongst the crowd.
To say I was impressed is an understatement. Its nights like this I remember why I love metal music as much as I do. It was musically outstanding and a whole lot of fun. Whether you’re a fan of them or not, you can’t deny they put on an incredible live show; and if you haven’t listened to their latest album ‘Maximum Overload’, get on it! After tonight, I certainly do like marmite a lot more than I did before.
Review by Shauna Collins
Photos by Anamaria Meiu