Saturday night in good old London town saw many a gig, but the one I was interested in was set to be a merry affair of four bands, one stage and a raucous crowd. So off to Shepherd’s Bush I headed and first up was Cavorts. Due to their stage time being a short time after doors opened, there was not much of crowd to begin with, and though this increased a fair amount during the set, it was not what I would call packed until later in the evening. I hadn’t heard of this band until tonight – and neither had one of my neighbouring gig goers from his questioning. However, this was the same gig goer who was later wooping when the band finished their set. As you would expect from a line-up such as tonight’s show, this was an entertaining band. Not in the same way as the later bands, more in your face and basic; the way it is when you go see a band in a pub – raw and loud. And the drumming….loud, heavy and just how I like it. The crowd agreed as they won over those watching and even broke out the first pit of the night. Not bad at all for the early start.
Up next was The Defiled. This was the third time I had seen The Defiled this year and I have not got tired of it yet. They are without a doubt a very entertaining band and this is proved yet again within minutes of the band members coming onto the stage. The AvD comes onto the stage, jager in hand, clearly ready to rock and their song ‘Call to Arms’ brings the brutality right on. It’s one of my favourites and one I could watch live any night of the week. As usual with this band there is so much to watch as they interact well on stage with the intent of entertaining….even throwing a bit of gymnastics this time. What’s clear is that this band are heading for big things, which is even clearer after hearing ‘The Ressurectionists’ from their upcoming new album, because if this song if anything to go by it’s going to be a good ‘un; in the same style, but with a darker undertone.
In The Land Of Fools
Call To Arms
As I Drowned
After The Defiled left the stage in ‘yeah, we’re done’ fashion, there was another very quick stage change before Alestorm. Which was just as well as by now the crowd were thoroughly warmed up and ready for action. So I suppose it was a damn good job Alestorm were up next as this is another band that are great live. Now what can I say about Alestorm? Well for those who may not have heard of them they are a pirate metal band, meaning they sing pirate inspired songs such as ‘Rum’, ‘Wenches and Mead’, etc, and well, they like to take over – the stage I mean. Though perhaps ‘take over’ are not the words as they are welcomed with open arms from the crowd, including myself. This is another band I have seen a few times and again, I will never get tired of watching them live, nor listening to their songs. They are pure entertainment, from the way they interact with the crowd, with each other, and with their songs; it was definitely and Alestorm party. Well, it certainly was at the front with the first couple of rows swaying pirate style.
There were many amusing highlights of this set, one being during ‘The Sunk’n Norwegian’ when I noticed that the keyboard stand had a drinks holder (nothing short of appropriate), when a photographer was told off for taking a photo of the set list because it was a secret and it would ruin the surprise (naughty, naughty). But my favourite, and I can’t believe I’m typing this, was when the lead singer Christopher Bowes blew his nose and jokingly asked the crowd who wanted the snot ridden tissue, only to be accepted by a man in the front row. Yeah, there were a few of us, Christopher included who were thinking ‘really?!?’ but no, he held his hand out with intent to the comments of ‘you’re a fucking manky bastard’. Yes….yes you are! Now I understand holding your hands out at the end of a set to catch a plectrum or drum stick, but tissues? Urgh!
Despite playing ten song’s, their set seemed to go by far too quickly and it was no time at all till we were told there was only one minute left for their last song, which happened to be ‘Rum’, and which also happened to sound just as good sped up to finish on time. By this time the floor was rammed and I had been squished at the barrier for quite some time, as everyone had moved forward to witness the mighty Alestorm. Though if I thought my tiny frame couldn’t be made to fit into any smaller area, who should come onto the stage but tonight’s headliners; Dragonforce. With the fresh surge forward I was definitely one squished reviewer.
The Sunk’n Norwegian
Wenches and Mead
Nancy the Tavern Wench
Captain Morgan’s Revenge
This was the second time I had seen Dragonforce, and my memory of the first time proved to be true; they are easily one of the best bands I have seen with regards to the way they interact with the crowd. They always look happy to be exactly where they are and are intent on having everyone involved in the fun. Yet again I was confused with where to look, as the band members move about the stage incessantly, interacting with each other and the crowd throughout. I’m sure I missed many a good moment but there is only so much I can focus on at a time. This is one of the things I go to gigs for – to see a band thoroughly enjoying themselves and at ease with the crowd and, well, just being entertaining!
There is also something different about the band I saw that night, an intangible, change which is hard to explain, but they just seemed better, more entertaining….just more. I definitely enjoyed tonight more (not to diminish that first gig at all) because the energy and high spirits coming from the stage was simply infectious. They clearly work well together as a band. There were a few technical problems at the start of the set with us going a fair way into one song without hearing any vocals, but this didn’t really diminish anything for those present. Despite this little wobble, the set was worthy of a much larger stage, and credit needs to go to the lighting guys for what was a brilliant show.
As I said earlier there is so much to see with this band and one thing you will know if you know anything about this band at all, is that the guitar work is, well, rather impressive indeed and even better live. I’m glad that my guitar playing skills are nothing short of appalling because otherwise I think I would weep with jealously watching this set. As it was I had to settle for the lovely catching flies look of open-mouthed admiration. These guys play hard and fast and yet still manage to move about the stage wise ease as if they were playing the most basic of guitar riffs. They even get together towards the end of the set to help play each other’s guitars, which is just showing off ……oh, ok, I’m jealous ha ha. As was the theme for this evening, before I knew it their set was over which was insane as it only felt like 5 minutes since I’d got there. But sadly, it was indeed the end of the night and what a night!
This was a great gig and I know everyone there agreed. Top work by each band that night; Cavorts, The Defiled, Alestorm and Dragonforce – I salute you \m/. Now come back to London and do that all over again!
Die by the Sword
Operation Ground and Pound
Fields of despair
Through the Fire