First Avenue attendees were in for a real treat this past Monday. It’s becoming sort of a pattern for musicians lately to decorate their shows with some version of “we’re finally touring on material that we recorded 2 years ago”, but for these bands, it was extra special – Dragonforce & Firewind had both been on tour on new albums in 2020 and the very next show that they were supposed to play before things shut down: Minneapolis, First Avenue. Suffice to say, from both musician and performer, there was a font energy and anticipation on show.
First up for the evening were Boston’s Seven Spires, kicking the night off with a bang. Though a relatively young band, Seven Spires have accomplished quite a bit in their short tenure (I mean, they’re on a Dragonforce tour bill, so kind of hard to argue!). The charisma of frontwoman Adrienne Cowan is undeniable as she wildly careens between monstrous growls and beautiful crooning choruses. Made even better was Firewind’s Herbie Langhans joining them on stage for a live rendition of Lightbringer, from their recent album Gods of Debauchery.
Second up was Austria’s Visions of Atlantis. Featuring dual vocalists, pirate hats (and at one point, a Timberwolves hat) and a massive flag, the Atlantis themed band’s back and forth between frontpeople Clémentine Delauney and Michele Guaitoli is truly a sight to behold Not (nearly) a moment goes by on stage that these two aren’t trading unbelievable belts of energy, perfectly contrasting each other as they sing through their operatically orchestrated pieces. For the final song of their set, Guaitoli brings out an enormous pirate flag to wave as the crowd is encouraged to cheer along to the chorus of the final song.
Third up was legendary metal band Firewind, fronted by equally as legendary guitarist Gus G, of really his own fame (but at one time, of Ozzy Osbourne fame). While each musician in this band is remarkably talented, even live you can tell that this is the Gus show as he frequently takes center stage to demonstrate his elite shredding musicianship. New-ish vocalist Herbie Langhans compliments the mountains of shred with a seasoned stage presence, flying across it like a devil possessed, while Gus in the background is flying across the fretboard (and at one point, doing so with a guitar that appears to be on fire and spewing out plumes of smoke).
Finally – the main event – Dragonforce. With a set featuring an enormous dragon drumkit and two arcade cabinets soaring into the air and displaying video game footage throughout the show, Dragonforce aim to present as larger than life – and they are. Herman Li and Sam Totman begin the set on top of the aforementioned arcade cabinets as vocalist Marc Hudson gets the crowd going, followed almost immediately with a concussive cannon blast of confetti, covering the crowd – and that’s all the first song. Things only get more mad from here, with (at various points) a banjo-guitar duel to the theme of Farming Simulator and Hudson climbing upon one of the arcade cabinets to play a rendition of Castlevania. Dragonforce played for well over an hour, closing out the night with classic like Valley of the Damned and (of course) ending the night with Through the Fire and the Flames.
Visions of Atlantis