CONCERT REVIEW: Dragonforce – Amaranthe – NanowaR of Steel – Edge of Paradise Live at the Majestic Theatre

It was a calm, brisk Thursday night when a line outside of Detroit’s Majestic Theatre started to form. No one wanted to pay for a coat check so the breeze bit through the gathering crowd’s black hoodies until the doors opened. The chill was worth it since Grammy-nominated power metal pros, Dragonforce, were in town. This band is on a North American headlining tour promoting their upcoming album and they brought along a varied group of special guests with them.

The night opened with California’s Edge of Paradise. The rock band from LA played with pep and got the very full music hall warmed up. Yet each number was chock-full of backing tracks with so much reverb that it was hard to distinguish what was live and what wasn’t. The over-saturation made the opener’s songs all sound the same. They had limited room on stage and they moved about awkwardly as they hashed out their well-intentioned, yet forgettable set. Everyone still aptly applauded and then the night completely shifted gears.

Nanowar of Steel is an act full of the absurd and a large portion of the audience was present just to witness their comedy. They had infectious high spirits as they kicked things off with “Uranus”. Their fans hollered with delight at the catchy, cheery tunes that contained everything from heavy riffs to disco beats. The Italian outfit’s charm and charisma won over most of the skeptics and everyone enjoyed the costumes of Cthulhu and a barn owl. Going from a band that took themselves way too seriously to these guys who were parodying metal music was a refreshing change of pace. Their set ended with singer Potowotominimak assembling an Ikea table which was then crowd surfed through the theatre. There is a place for a chuckle in metal and Nanowar of Steel is a band that can pull it off.

Sweden’s own Amaranthe took over the stage next. Their set opened with a flurry of sound as the six-piece kicked into their lively song, “Fearless”. Each member displayed a big smile and were received with joyous cheers from the onlookers. Known for tossing multiple genres in the blender, the band banged out tunes that flirted with everything from pop to metalcore. Having three dedicated vocalists is unique. They each held their own by having individual appeal and skill. The whole band could be in a shampoo commercial as their long locks dramatically swept across the stage in time with their fun, festive, and robust numbers. They bantered with each other and with the crowd in a genuine and good-natured way. “Pvp” is one of theirs that was the anthem for Sweden’s E-Sports World Cup team and they gifted us with playing it live for the first time. They also performed some material from their new album coming out early next year. The set was filled with busy, energetic pieces that captured the band’s versatility, theatrics, and know-how. Faces were beaming as the small horde of good-looking Swedes took their final bow.

The packed room exclaimed loudly as the lights dimmed for the headliners of the evening. Dragonforce jumped right into ‘Revolution Deathsquad’ and bombarded the historic venue with colorful, constructed chaos. The strobes danced as the two founding members stood on top of large, prop arcade machines playing with vivacious proficiency. The guitar work from Herman Li and Sam Totman fired fiercely the feel-good songs this speedy, power metal act is known for. Their live debut of “Ashes of the Dawn” had everyone boogieing down. Just a few minutes into the set and the crowd was already chanting “Dragonforce ” as loud as they could. There was a genial nonchalance about the band as they gushed about Zelda and Skyrim that worked well with their hyper sound.

Singer Marc Hudson made up for his expressionless face with his larger-than-life vocals. He easily hit the high notes with exactitude and knew how to holler out the choruses with flawless rigor. It was a powerful presentation when four of the members all belted out parts because it gave the songs a battle cry vibe. The set list had an impressive range which included their newest number, “Power of the Triforce ” and “Black Fire” off their first album. Their fantastical drama and eighty’s themes had fans dancing more than moshing. Watching Li’s and Totman’s fingers fly as they masterfully performed their craft proved they are real guitar heroes. Inflatable dragons came to life during the end of the set and the over-the-top spectacle made the high energy performance one to remember. Li is a busy bee on stage and everyone gasped as the rockstar briefly fell. Yet the man’s dexterity goes beyond his playing because he got back up with a smile on his face. The evening ended on a high note with the hit, “Through the Fire and Flame”. The nostalgia high had everyone happy and all were pleasantly pleased as the merry show came to an end.


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