DRAGONFORCE + Black Majesty
The Gaelic Club, Sydney; 17th May 2006
It was close to seven pm when I entered Oliver`s car near Utopia Records as we headed towards The Gaelic Club. Zyklon - Disintegrate was blasting out of my iPod Mini as we approached The Gaelic Club. The line was huge. It stretched out for hundreds of meters down two blocks. It was a sight to see, unimaginable for such an event as it hasn`t been advertised much at all. It was easily longer than we saw at The Haunted/Exodus gig earlier in the year. As we were looking for parking we decided to head back to the UTS side of Central Station where we found parking on previous occasions without much hassle.
A Quick stopover at MacDonald`s allowed us to fill up on some nutrients and had set us on our merry way. By the time we came back to the Gaelic Club the line had halved and it was a short wait before we got in. A lot of familiar faces next to us were waiting in line anxious to get in. The two younger chaps behind us were a tad annoying by asking us if we were here for DRAGONFORCE and whether we had purchased tickets in advance. It turned out that the show had sold out according to the people at the door meaning that there were nearly eight hundred patrons in attendance.
Once we entered the venue we realized that our prospects of getting near the front looked very bleak and unlikely. Honestly, I could not remember the last time the Gaelic Club was so cramped, that the only place where you could move somewhat was in the area near the entrance door. The bar was overcrowded, as was the merchandise table, so we said good bye to good ole ale and t-shirts (providing that there were still some left), and instead tried to somehow fight our way to the front center of the venue. Had we realized that the upper level was all ages we would have most probably settled there, but I`ll blame that failure on the lack of enthusiasm due to my old age and the grinding pain of my dentures. We were successful in getting to our desired position, but only after unfortunately stepping on some people and accidentally pushing others out of the way. Sorry! I know that this would have been even more annoying to those few as Black Majesty had already started blasting on stage and we wanted to lose no time by making our way near there.
From the onset, by playing very impressive Euro power metal, Black Majesty showed no signs of nerves and gave a highly accomplished performance displaying to everyone why they are regarded as one of the leading bands in Australia. Their latest CD `Silent Company` was released and quickly followed up by tours across Europe with Edguy and Hammerfall. Now that they are back in Australia after the extensive touring the melodic lads from Melbourne are here on a much deserved home tour with the mighty UK extreme power metallers Dragonforce who are playing here for the very first time. Pavel Konvalinkaon was quite impressive on the drums for Black Majesty as were the two guitarists. Pavel had it all, light showcasing his magnificent drums, fanned wind in his hair and thumping blasts that echoed far and high. His sound was killer as he demonstrated his accuracy and speed making the music sound even heavier than it was. Steve Janevski and Hanny Mohamed on guitars executed blistering solos and the crowd appreciated it with their basic chanting. John Cavaliere, the lead singer didn`t spend too much time chatting with the crowd between songs (even making it as simple as saying - visit www.BLACKMAJESTY.com) as he gave one of the top performances to date.
The cheese of the night belonged to the bass player Mark Kelson and his glowing guitar. Far from your typical piece of equipment it sure made up for the lack of lights at the venue (the gig should have been held somewhere decent like at The Metro). To be fair, his bass did look cool. In fact so cool that I comically said to Oli `I bet it plays for him as well`. They performed `Firestorm`, `Silent Company` and `New Horizons` to name a few and some of the classics like `Sands Of Time`, `Guardian` and `Fall OF The Reich`. The crowd wanted an encore from the band but I can`t remember if it came or not, what followed next almost had me in tears… DRAGONFORCE!!!!
The area outside was literally empty as the venue regained its capacity in anticipation that Dragonforce would storm out shortly. Suddenly the background music vanished and then after a short pause SLAYER - Raining Blood ripped through the speakers provoking unified singing and exciting the crowds. This was the final tease before the main, planned act of the night stood tall in front of everyone. A lot of gigs we go to end up being one dimensional with only a handful of bands successfully winning the crowds involvement and dedicated participation. Dragonforce proved to be the reigning kings of entertainment. Edguy and Dungeon are the other two comparable acts who I can remember being very fun on stage.
Although, before the gig I said that I was only paying the fare to see Herman Li execute his solos at a frantic pace and see Sam Totman, the c*nt (you had to be there for the joke), drink alcohol during those solos, I was pleasantly brought down to earth. The front part of the stage was elevated for those two fellows to jump off and they did so throughout the night in a synchronized fashion. Every single member of Dragonforce was impressive. When Vadim Pruzhanov, the keyboard player, tore up the roof with his riveting solo I was sold. In fact I`d sell my favourite Picasso painting to see that mastery live again. During the onslaught he put one of his keyboards over his left shoulder (similar to Jimmy Hendrix) and kept on playing the Clockwork Orange theme, The PacMan tune as well as The Simpsons theme. The crowd went ballistic as he was joined by Herman and the rest of the force.
ZP was constantly trying to involve the crowds into participating even managing to split them up down the middle into the left and right side to find out which could scream louder. I think we won from the left (Herman`s side) against the right (Sam`s side). The poor mute kiddies on the first level were barely even in it. The band played for well over two hours which for us was a first at The Gaelic Club and a very welcomed surprise. From the songs performed `Through the Fire and Flames`, `Operation Ground and Pound` and `Valley Of The Damned` were my favorites. `Trail Of Broken Hearts` was simply amazing drawing out lighters throughout the venue. ZP has an amazing voice displaying a great range and plenty of feel even after all that screaming at the crowds for not being loud enough, but I think he might have had a tad too much to drink. They ended up playing almost every song in their catalogue but left their best "Valley of the Damned" for last. Herman definitely was the calmest amongst them and showed us why he is so respected among the metal community.
Fury of the Storm
Operation Ground and Pound
Fields Of Despair
Trail Of Broken Hearts
Dawn Over a New World
Keyboard Solo (AUDIO available)
Soldiers Of The Wasteland
My Spirit Will Go On
Through The Fire and Flames
Heart of a Dragon
Valley Of The Damned