What a wild ride for a Sunday night in Montreal! People of all ages showed up for DragonForce, packed tightly at MTelus on Bonfire Night (5th of November), and maintained a party mood for most of the night, from the first band to the last.
I really didn’t know Edge Of Paradise at all before they opened the night. They are a mix of electronic, power metal, and industrial rock, according to their Spotify, but they didn’t tick the box for me on Sunday. They have a great sound, but some elements were missing on stage. The backing tracks had created rumours of lip-synching that had reached my ears before their show, but I can say that those rumours were on very shaky foundations.
Next on stage was the parody metal band Nanowar of Steel. Taking the stage with a tribute to the ’90s comedy great Jim Carrey, the band’s introduction took a solid brown note, talking from their butts a la Ace Ventura, to launch into Uranus. Their lead singer, Potowotominimak, pulled out all the stops and ran with all the props for their set, often changing in between songs while Mr. Baffo took over or grabbed more props to entertain the crowd. For “Call of Cthulhu,” the god mask came out with a huge blow-up of a brick cellphone from the ’90s.
For their third song, Potowotominimak donned a full owl costume to get the crowd enthusiastically flapping their hands to chants of “Barbagianni” for their only song in their native tongue that night. I missed whatever props were used for “Disco Metal,” but during “Norwegian Reggaeton,” there was definitely something happening to an inflatable orca. Nanowar of Steel ended the set with “Valhalleluja,” a tongue-in-cheek ode to Ikea, with Potowotominimak constructing an IKEA Lack table for the majority of the song before throwing it into the crowd towards the mosh pit.
Amaranthe came out fearless, and at moments, I felt like I was looking into the sun with how often their lights went down during the first bit of their set. The sound engineering for their set was very close to studio quality, so it was nice to hear all three vocalists separated on stage. With each vocalist tending to favour a riser, the stage felt a bit cramped, with the DragonForce setup having a large footprint on MTelus’ narrower stage.
The road crew had some time to build anticipation for DragonForce as they reconstructed or unobscured the band’s massive stage props. On either side of the stage, the oversized arcade cabinets with functional screens were unveiled. Confetti cannons were primed, and a fog gun was readied. Their nerd status was already confirmed before they walked on stage to the TRON Legacy end title music on tape. The end of their thundering intro song, “Revolution Deathsquad,” was greeted in Montreal fashion with a cacophonous “Olé, olé, olé” chant, which left the band momentarily speechless before they launched into “Cry Thunder.” Sam Totman and Herman Li played off each other all night, sometimes playing on each other’s guitars, and Marc Hudson brought a chill to the crowd through the fog gun to take a little heat away from his vocals.
At the end of “Heroes of Our Time,” Marc introduced the next song by prefacing it as being inspired by Legends of Zelda, to be precise, “A Link to the Past.” To go along with the inspiration, DragonForce had their own Cuccos, which were launched into the crowd with instructions: “Do not stab the chicken, don’t destroy the chicken. We want to see the chicken on the balcony, and where we played last night, the balcony was higher. We want the chicken back on stage by the end of the song, but we also want to see it in the pit!” Don’t challenge a Montreal crowd like that, as that chicken was on the balcony in about 30 seconds flat. The end of the song was greeted by the first show-halting chant of “Poulet, poulet, poulet,” sung like the earlier “Olé, olé, olé” chants, and the first chicken was safely returned to the stage. At the end of Black Fire, Marc teased the crowd a bit, claiming that most places only get two chickens thrown into the crowd. He added another rule to the release of the chickens, wanting to see them in the circle pit, and then three were unleashed into the crowd. It was ethereal to watch the chickens make it up to the balcony for a minute before being swallowed by a circle pit.
I think the metal world knew immediately after the show, but Montreal local Alissa White-Gluz (former The Agonist/current Arch Enemy singer) made an appearance during the encore to join DragonForce in a mass recorded cover of Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams.” DragonForce followed the cover with another of theirs, which was welcomed with huge roars of “Celine.” After Marc cleared his confusion about the chant sounding like the crowd switched to English “Chicken!” they let the hearts carry on and on, with all the metalheads joining in for the chorus for Celine Dion’s signature Titanic song, “My Heart Will Go On.” Finally, after many hours at MTELUS, the show had to come to an end, with which DragonForce finished with their viral Guitar Hero 3 signature song, “Through The Fire and The Flames.” While the crowd surfers had been active for most of DragonForce’s set, Marc Hudson joined in on the fun, and I noticed during the finale that someone was crowd surfing with a Guitar Hero guitar controller.
The night was a fun spectacle from many places, and I’d like to see another sold-out show at MTELUS, but I’d also be curious if they could pack the Verdun Amphitheatre or maybe even Place Bell. I’m looking forward to DragonForce’s next video, next album, and subsequent visit to Montreal in their promotion cycle.
Review & photos – Ryan RumpelShare this :