Dragonforce & Pythia – HMV Institute, Birmingham, 18/04/2012

Tonight’s gig was the Dragonforce album launch party and was described as an intimate gig.  They weren’t kidding either – the venue was the Temple room at the HMV Institute, on the top floor of the venue and being a tiny room with a capacity of just 300.
Long before the doors opened a queue formed outside the venue with Dragonforce fans all keen to get a good spot near the front, and by the time Pythia take to the stage the venue is packed out.

The usual photo pit has been scrapped to make a bit more space for the crowd, which made it hard for the photographers but meant the fans were inches away from the band – particularly as Pythia had to set their drumkit up in front of Dragonforces gear so there was no room to move on the stage.
Despite the lack of space, Pythia play hard and fast tonight, with guitarist Ross alternating between headbanging like crazt and trying not to fall off the stage as he’s got a tiny bit of space to play in between the edge of the stage and the drumkit.  Tonight Pythia have a stand-in Bass player who does a good job, but lurks near the back of the stage out of the light.  The crowd are clearly impressed with Pythia judging by the amount of applause and cheers.  During “Cry of our nation” Emily gets the crowd clapping in time and amazingly gets the vast majority of the crowd clapping along – an impressive reaction given that the fans are here for Dragonforce and in most cases its their first time seeing Pythia.
After Pythia’s set we had a slow changeover – lack of a backstage exit meant they had to clear their kit off the stage by carrying it through part of the crowd and out of the main entrance which obviously slowed things.

At the first sign of a Dragonforce member coming onto the stage from the dressing room, the crowd erupted into huge cheers – this was definitely a crowd of people who were planning to enjoy the show tonight.  Tonight is the first chance for Birmingham fans to hear new Dragonforce singer Marc Hudson play live although the album will have given them an idea of what to expect.
Dragonforce were definitely on form tonight and having a great time on stage.  The band members regularly moved around and swapped places to give everyone a good view, and there was plenty of interacting with the crowd as they stepped onto the crowd barrier just in front of the stage.  Musically they sounded great too, and Marc Hudson really put in a great performance with the vocals sounding excellent.
Having seen them recently at the 100 club and not having been very impressed, I was pleasantly surprised tonight – without the appallingly bad sound that they had at the 100 club, they sounded much better and the differences between the songs were far more obvious – it just shows how important good sound is at a gig.
The crowd were loving the show and plenty of them visited the merch stand (which slightly bizarrely only had T-shirts and not copies of the new album).

A great set from both bands.

Pythia setlist:

Betray my heart
Kissing the knife
Just a lie
Army of the damned
Cry of our nation

Dragonforce setlist:

Die by the sword
Operation Ground And Pound
Cry thunder
Heroes of our time
Soldiers of the wasteland
Fallen world
Holding on
Fury Of The Storm
Through the Fire and Flames
Valley of the damned

Dragonforce photos:
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Pythia photos

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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.
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