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AAA Music | 2 March 2021

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DragonForce + Neonfly – Live @ The Waterfront

| On 13, Oct 2014

Dragonforce

Friday 10th October, Norwich

Imagine Beowulf with sweep-picking and you’ll start to understand Neonfly. The band was back in Norwich on Friday night, for the first time since touring with Magnum over summer. The cold Waterfront crowd was witness to a raucous display of adventure style power metal that had them warmed up and ready to face DragonForce flames.

Neonfly have all the best qualities of any eccentric metal band, making every gig a proper performance with theatrics in the form of feathers, leather, dreadlocks and tribal entry music, which had some crowd members mistakenly singing the Lion King theme (though under green light the band do strikingly resemble Scar and the hyenas). Neonfly are led by the charismatic frontman Willy Norton who not only had the crowd chanting, head banging, and roaring with laughter over the course of the evening, but also got some fans lining up to have their genitals signed after the show – surely a good sign.

The setlist was a mixture of songs from Outside The Sun and the forthcoming Strangers in Paradise, which is set for release on December 1st. Most popular amongst fans was ‘A Gift To Remember’, otherwise known as “our debut song, off our debut album, that has a debut music video”. Neonfly specialise in fast guitar solos, blasting drumbeats and wailing vocals – everything a DragonForce fan could want. The catalogue of songs was diverse and featured a three song metal mix of ‘Spitting Blood’, ‘The Ornament’ and ‘The Remnants’. The band were well rehearsed and energetic on stage, running and jumping around with guitars soloing together, unsurprisingly the Norwich crowd went wild for Neonfly who now have a troop of hairy fans excitedly awaiting the next appearance.

Neon Fly - Photo by: Jo Moolenschot

Neon Fly – Photo by: Jo Moolenschot

DragonForce are currently celebrating their fifteenth year together with the recent release of their newest album Maximum Overload showing they have no inclination to slow down. The band unleashed their extensive seven album catalogue managing to service every fans wishes with a compilation of songs that varied from their first album Valley of the Damned, to Ultra Beatdown as well as performing an earsplittingly wealth of tracks from Maximum Overload.

Singer Marc Hudson introduced the Norwich crowd to the band’s newest member and drummer Gee Anzalone who initiated the boss level masterpiece ‘The Game’. Anzalone is incredibly comfortable on the 15+ piece kit and looked at home amongst the five other talented musicians. Guitarist Herman Li as usual was the outright star of the show. Li is an impressive performer, with solos nothing short of mind blowing; the crowd spent the entire gig on tip-toe, craning to watch his fingers, hands, tongue and hip work the blue neon fret board of his guitar in ridiculous ways.

The band were clearly happy to please the fans, playing the requested ‘Symphony of the Night’ and the manic cover ‘Ring of Fire’. The highlight of the set was ‘Cry Thunder’ just before the encore, which had the whole crowd chanting with fists in the air. DragonForce blew the minds of the under 25s with a show stopping finale of ‘Through the Fire and the Flames‘ (on expert) which had every head in the audience moving in crazed disorder, while some people whipped out button mashing air guitars. If anyone was yet to be enthralled by the furious speedmetal of DragonForce this song either converted them or simply burnt them alive.

Speed picking, sweep picking and every possible kind of face-melting solo took place, the night was a masterclass in  power metal – oh and there was a keytar, what’s not to love.

Jon Horvath

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