A great triple package featuring the finest exponents of power Metal old and new was to be found on this Friday night at the Camden Underworld. Due to the venue now hosting club nights for the Camden trendsetters, the doors were open at 6pm which, annoyingly, meant I didn't have time for my pre-gig tipple upstairs in the Worlds End bar, where I could have talk nonsense to anyone who dared to listen.
Opening act NeonFly certainly got the message out to their loyal fans, because the venue was already packed when they hit the stage at 6.45pm. I've seen this band learn their craft over the last couple of years, and they're certainly becoming a tight, polished act. Promoting their recently released debut 'Outshine The Sun', NeonFly brightened up the Underworld with some nifty melodic Metalized rock. 'Ship With No Sails' just oozes class.
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New singer Willy Norton looked a whole lot more confident onstage than he has before, so much so that he threw himself into the audience at one stage, although he found it a bit more difficult getting back onstage, so he just sang whilst in the crowd. There was some exhilirating guitar work on 'Morning Star', which gave way to a frantic 'I Think I Saw A UFO'. It's still early days but watch NeonFly take off to the skies.
Starting life as a thrash band way back in 1999, Italian rockers Arthemis now play some damn fine, bloody good straightforward heavy Metal. The band, who have now made Londonium their second home, have made a lot of friends by doing the groundwork at festivals such as Bloodstock, HRH and Hammerfest. Tonight, they were playing their offical debut gig in the capital (although they did do a secret gig in the Crobar last year).
Playing a set consisting of tracks mainly from their new, sixth album 'Heroes', the band certainly got a hero's welcome. Singer Fabio Dessi knew how to get the crowd worked up, and Andrea Martongelli played some fluid Mustaine guitar work. 'Home', '7 Days' and 'Vortex' were all crowd pleasers, as was a surprising cover of Deep Purple's 'Burn', which showed where the band's influences really lie. Mama mia, they'll soon be riding chariots made of steel.
This was the opening night of the UK tour for this package and, by now, both support bands were mingling in the crowd along with members past and present of Power Quest and DragonForce. The Underworld had a party vibe and the beer was going down swimmingly.
Freedom Call only played down the road at the Purple Turtle last year and made a fine return promoting their new live DVD 'Live In Hellvetia' (that's 'Switzerland' to you and me mate). From the off, frontman and guitarist Chris Bay was in a fine mood, cracking jokes and not taking things too seriously, proving that ze Germans do have a sense of humour after all. One thing Freedom Call did take seriously, though, was their set of cracking tunes with many anthems with singalong choruses, which got my arms in the air and was beer-swillingly good fun.
Bay almost dug a hole for himself when he spoke to a fan down the front from Poland who had wanted a request, which was not met. Bay unwittingly dedicated 'Metal Invasion' to the Polish fan. It was not intended - we are all brothers in Metal. A highly enjoyable set.
This was an excellent night out. Freedom Called with a shot glass of Jack Daniels. Power Metal to the people.
Andrea of Arthemis
We Are One
Hunting High And Low
Out Of The Ruins
A Perfect Day
Land Of Light
Scars On Scars
Ship With No Sails
I Think I Saw A UFO