The main act is always going to have its work cut out when the support group is fantastic, and with a sloppy performance marred by poor sound quality, Dragonforce failed to make the grade.
That’s not to say they didn’t have their moments. The three-part vocal harmonies on songs such as “Fury of the Storm” were excellent and the drumming was generally immaculate; given the speed of the performances and the liberal use of double-bass drums, this is no mean feat. Herman Li also put in a great effort and I couldn’t find fault with his playing.
However, it was a sign of a band off form when they make an absolute shambles of their second song on the night (“Operation Ground and Pound”). The vocalist, ZP Threat, seemed to miss his notes quite often and Sam Totman was all over the place on guitar; his grimaces during the night indicated that he knew he was screwing up notes, but he didn’t seem to care all that much either. His guitar was out of tune, but that doesn’t really compensate for generally sloppy work.
Tracks from their latest album, Ultra Beatdown, seemed shaky, which is a bad mad considering the time spent putting the album together and the time already spent touring. It may have been an off night but, apart from “Operation Ground and Pound”, their older stuff was much tighter and more consistent. The other exception is probably “My Spirit Will Go On”, where the vocals were off.
There was far too much posing, and it’s cheeky for a guy who spent most of the evening either posing or goofing around with his bandmates (and an off-stage roadie) rather than relating to the crowd to slag said crowd off for being boring. The “bored c**ts with hands in their pockets” were pointed out, but of course they were bored; Dragonforce didn’t take the stage until 10pm, more than 45 minutes after Turisas. When you spend €32 on a gig in Cork, you expect a bit more for your money.
Thankfully the saving grace of the night was Turisas, who did exactly what all support bands should do and used their 30-minute set to grab the audience by the nads and win them over. Their blend of hard metal, folk and warrior theatrics went down a treat, with more and more people arriving as their set progressed. I love this band and hope they come back to Ireland soon.
Here’s what Dragonforce should sound like:
And here’s some Turisas: