It does say something about the appeal of Dragonforce that they’re able to sell out a venue even with Opeth playing the same city on the same night, but with support coming from Neonfly the band closed their mammoth 20 date Maximum Overdrive world tour in style at London’s Bush Hall.
Neonfly play a suitably vibrant brand of power metal with flashy solos, great riffs, fun songs and the energetic antics of frontman Willy Norton. When not dancing away and singing the high falsettos he was high fiving the audience down the front and bantering away with the crowd between songs in as excited a manner as you’ve ever seen a musician. Showcasing several new songs from their upcoming album amongst songs from their 2011 debut Outshine the Sun, and ending with the great Morning Star their set was a heck of a lot of fun and a fantastic way to open the show.
Dragonforce were the band everyone was here to see however and from the start the crowd went crazy with a mad crush down the front and a moshpit in the middle of the venue. A problem with Marc’s microphone left him all but inaudible for opener Defenders, but a replacement found for the brilliant Fury of the Storm left us able to hear his powerful voice in all it’s glory. The trademark lightning fast solos of Herman Li and Sam Totman were typically incredible as always from the fretboard wizards, both playing right at the front of the stage and all but amidst the crowd, with keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov getting in on it too, coming down the front from time to time for his sweeping keytar solos. The band gave it everything as the last show of the tour to a sold out crowd, and when fan favourites Black Winter Night and Heroes of our Time were aired in a set that perhaps had too much weighting towards the new material, the front few rows exploded in a mad crush.
An encore of the cover Ring of Fire had Marc demanding the fitting circle pit while the inevitable Through the Fire and the Flames took the crowd excitement from mad to insane, with the moshpits, crowd surfing and stage diving galore – Marc crowd surfing himself through the song. Saving the best to last though, Valley of the Damned was the classic given all the energy demanded of the last song of a long tour, leaving every single person in the room having a great time.
They’ve got their detractors, and Maximum Overload was hardly the best of albums, but there’s no denying that they’re one of the most fun metal bands you could go and see. Fantastic.