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Born in the late 60's, Chesy hails from a Welsh mining village with a long name and was pretty glad when he got the Hell out of there. He got into Rock/Metal in about 1980, thanks to a TISWAS related incident (Rainbow video for All Night Long) and thankfully has never looked back. Chesy often sang solo in the school choir, but thanks to a puberty related incident his voice is now completely bolloxed, although in his own head Paul thinks he sounds like a blend of Coverdale and Dio (R.I.P). He was brought up on the classics - Deep Purple, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, Rush, Whitesnake and loved melodic rock and the Hair Bands of the 80's. (Nowadays, he has progressed a little and prefers a more technical and/or progressive metal - Dream Theater, Rush, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, Pain Of Salvation, Spock's Beard. He hates Black and Death Metal (can't stand the grunting) but for some unknown reason loves the magnificent Opeth! He wont stop this blog until his beloved FM finally play the likes of the NEC as a headlining act!!!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Firewind - Few Against Many, MoHo Live, Manchester 14/9/12 (with support Leaves Eyes)


It’s been almost 12 months to the day since I last visited this venue, and a lot has changed, a bit of a facelift has occurred, but in essence the venue is still one which pisses me off immensely. Viewing is severely limited, a column to the left, a set of stairs right in the middle, and more importantly, unless you’re standing in the first 2 rows, or if you are below 6ft 10 in height, your view is of the bands heads. Also what’s the point in letting a few people stand on the staircase for a better view for the support act, then remove everyone for the headline act?? Ah well, we are where we are I suppose.

First up was Leaves Eyes. Its been a fair while since I last saw these at the short lived Prog Power festival down in Cheltenham, and not much has changed. Liv Kristine, on closer inspection due to the much smaller venue, looks quite resplendent and somewhat gorgeous. A wisp of a girl with an operatic vocal range which seems a bit off the mark (to me anyway) when hubby (Krull) enters the scene. Its almost like ‘good cop, bad cop’ and I have never fully seen the benefit of this beauty and the beast style approach. To the unconvinced (like me) they do grow on you, and by the end its hard not to like them. The songs weigh heavy from the more recent albums ‘Njord’ and ‘Meredead’, in ‘ To France’, ‘Empty Horizon’, ‘My Destiny’ in which the longest set of locks in Metal got caught in the ceiling (!), and ‘Velvet Heart’. On the evidence heard, Id like a listen of Livs recent solo effort Libertine. I’ve just witnesses the LE stage set up on Facebook today, it’s good enough reason to keep away from Moho as a venue in future!

I admire a band nowadays that commits to a lengthy (well, in today’s terms anyway) 10 day UK & Ireland tour, but I wonder if this comes at a price in terms of fan turnout. It’s been almost a year to the day since Firewind last played the same venue, and the audience seems to flatten out at about 200 people. Perhaps less dates may bring in more people, but what is lacking in venue size and fan numbers is made up for in Firewind’s high energy performance.  The last four albums in my opinion has seen Firewind really turn up the gas, (I still have more of a soft spot for ‘The Premonition’), with the storming ‘Wall Of Sound’ kicking off the melodic power metal set. Bob Katsionis really stands out for me, as this bloke is really talented, complementing the guitar wizardry of Gus G extremely well. When not doing this, he fill in the layers with keys, really creating this ‘Wall of Sound’ (sorry). This time we have Apollo back in the fold after last years gig. Head Up High follows, before the Malmsteen-esque Destination Forever rips into the audience. Albums are good, but live is where certain bands really cut it! This is where Firewind earn their money without a doubt. Their heavier, edgier and angrier sound gives some of the older songs an added edge which the albums didn’t

The second half of the set certainly saw they guys picking up the pace with the exemplary battering of songs like ‘Losing My Mind’, ‘Mercenary Man’, ’Angels Forgive Me’, ‘Glorious’, a great slice of sing-a-long-a power metal, and the anthemic songs ‘I Am The Anger’ and ‘Tyranny’. For an encore, not much changed since last year, with the staples being the awesome and frenetic ‘Into The Fire’, with Kristine joining Apollo for ‘Breaking The Silence’, and finally the song which first attracted me to Firewind, the joyous ‘Falling to Pieces’. Part way into the encore we were treated to a raffle (only Firewind!), whereby the lucky recipient (old geezer who can’t play!) got his mitts on a rather nice PRS. Jammy git!

Once again comrades, I urge you to do see Firewind on this current tour whilst there are still dates left. You will not be disappointed. Plus, how often do you get to stand six feet away from a modern guitar God. Catch them while you can!

Setlist:
Wall of Sound
Head Up High
Destination Forever
Few Against Many
Insanity
World on Fire
Gus G. solo
The Fire and the Fury
Losing My Mind
Mercenary Man
Angels Forgive Me
Glorious
Till the End of Time
I Am The Anger
Tyranny

Into the Fire
(Raffle) !!!
Breaking the Silence
Falling To Pieces

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