I was very excited when I first saw the announcement for this tour for a number of reasons. This would be my 4th time covering DragonForce who always puts on a great show. But for the first time in over 6 years, Swedish power metalers Amaranthe return to the US. And making their first appearance in the US is Nanowar of Steel. From Wikipedia, “Nanowar of Steel is an Italian comedy metal band. Their name is a pun on the metal bands Manowar and Rhapsody of Fire, and represents their tendency to satirize “true metal”, the primary focus of their music”.
And a treat for me, Edge of Paradise returns to Denver for the second time this year.
I headed down to the Summit Music Hall a couple of hours early to meet Margarita Monet, lead singer for Edge of Paradise. There were fans already lining up for the show and you could hear the bands doing sound checks inside the venue. It was a pleasure spending some time with Margarita, she has a heart of gold and truly appreciates her fans. After the band's set, Margarita took the time to sign a couple of pictures for me.
By the time the doors opened, the line waiting to get in was around the block. Starting the evening off was Edge of Paradise, as they made their way onto the stage the packed Summit Music Hall crowd let out a deafening roar. So many times the opening acts perform to smaller crowds starting shows, but this was not the case this night. Edge of Paradise opened their set with, “Soldiers of Danger” from their new album, Hologram, and the power from the band resonated throughout the venue. Margarita was dressed in a silver and black bodysuit with a colorful cape.. Lead singer Dave Bates had a black vest with green lasers that shot out from the back of the vest.
As the band moved through their set list which was mostly from their new album, Margarita’s beautiful and powerful voice echoed throughout the venue. This is a band that has honed their skills together and produce a powerful sound that you will feel throughout your body. The band finished their set with “Basilisk” from the new album and as the band took their bows, the crowd roared in appreciation for a great set and setting the tone for this night of music. I can see them headlining in the future.
Edge of Paradise are:
Margarita Monet - vocals
Dave Bates - lead guitar
David Ruiz - rhythm guitar
Kenny Lockwood - bass
Jamie Moreno - drums
Soldiers of Danger
This is Personal
I was not familiar with Nanowar of Steel until this tour was announced. As I will do when it comes to bands I am not familiar with, I look for videos by them to watch and get an idea what they may be like on stage. I watched two videos and I was laughing my heart out! But what I saw and heard on stage this night was hilarious!
As Nanowar of Steel members walked out onto stage, one singer was dressed in an orange tutu, sliver shirt, purple wig with a 3 day old dark beard. Another in a leopard skin bodysuit, hat with little devil horns in front and sunglasses. Are you getting the picture here! (see photo gallery)
The band started their set with the song, ”Uranus” from their 2018 album, Stairway to Valhalla and let the fun begin! I am trying to photograph these guys and I am laughing at the lyrics and their stage antics. The crowd in the Summit was laughing and hollering along with me and sometimes at me.
Then lead singer, Potowotominimak real name, Carlo Alberto Fiaschi, disappears from the stage and returns wearing a Cthulhu mask and a large blow up of a cell phone for the song, “The Call of Cthulhu”. The next song was about a barn owl, sure enough, Potowotominimak returns to the stage in a full owl costume dancing around the stage. Then he comes down inside the pit and mixes with the crowd. Oh, and let's not forget the song, “Disco Metal”. And finally a song dedicated to IKEA, “Valhalleluja”. Yup, Potowotominimak was at it again. This time pulls out a wooden board and then the legs and puts a table together and sends it out into the crowd. It was safely returned to the stage.
As Nanowar of Steel said goodnight, the roar from the crowd was deafening. I hope these guys return to the US in the near future, what a fun and crazy set!
Nanowar of Steel members:
Potowotominimak (Carlo Alberto Fiaschi) - lead vocals
Mr. Baffo (Raffaello Venditti) - co-lead vocals, miscellaneous sound effects
Mohammed Abdul (Valerio Storch) - guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
Gattopanceri666 (Edoardo Carlesi) - bass
Uinona Raider (Alessandro Milone) - drums, backing vocals
The Call of Cthulhu
Il cacciatore della notte
The long awaited return of Amaranthe was about to happen. I was turned on to this band many years ago with the video for the song, “The Nexus”. The idea of three singers excited me. Thanks to Margarita from Edge of Paradise, she helped me get a couple of pictures signed by Elize Ryd of Amaranthe I took years ago. Later I was able to get a picture with Elize as well.
The members of Amaranthe made their way to the stage and the Summit crowd welcomed them with a heart felt deafening roar. Starting their set with the song “Fearless” the crowd was cheering and when Elize Ryd came out wearing a black long sleeve top with silver and gold sequins, a silver belt and a long black dress, the crowd welcomed her with a rousing cheer.
To listen to Elize Ryd and Nils Molin harmonize so effortlessly and with the newest member, Mikael Sehlin with his deep harsh vocals blending right into each song is amazing to hear live. Mikael has not been with the band very long but you wouldn’t know it with how easily he blends in with everyone. With the amazing vocals comes the amazing musicianship of Olof Mörck on guitars, Johan Andreassen on bass and the power behind the drums, Morten Løwe Sørensen. Together, they are like a well oiled machine flowing through their music and exciting those who not only hear them, but witness them live!
he interaction between the band members on stage and with the audience only adds to the enjoyment of their live shows. At one point, Elize leaned toward me sticking out her tongue and throwing up the horns into my camera. Their setlist was a mix of old and new and in my opinion it was a great mix of their songs, and I believe the crowd felt the same way by their reactions to each song. “Viral” from 2020, “Hunger” from 2011, and from their upcoming 2024 new album, The Catalyst, “Damnation Flame”. And I got to hear “The Nexus” from 2013.
Closing out their amazing night of music, they chose a great song in 2014’s, “Drop Dead Cynical”. Their fans and I would have loved to hear more by the roaring applause and cheering from the fans. Another great set of music and there’s one more band to go.
Olof Mörck – guitars, keyboards, synthesizers
Elize Ryd – female clean vocals
Morten Løwe Sørensen – drums
Johan Andreassen – bass
Nils Molin – male clean vocals
Mikael Sehlin – harsh vocals
Hunger Hunger from
Drop Dead Cynical
With the familiar looking stage set with the giant video game towers on either side of the stage along with drummer Gee Anzalone’s drum kit with the cymbals lined around the set, a tape of the “TRON Legacy” starts. Dragonforce takes the stage and opens their set with, “Revolution Deathsquad” from their 2005 album, Inhuman Rampage to the screaming and cheering crowd. With drummer Gee Anzalone working his magic on the drums, Herman Li and Sam Totman are perched high on top of the video towers pouring out the power from their guitars as Alicia Vigil stands in front of one of towers letting her fingers add to the outpouring of power from her bass. Vocalist Marc Hudson steps in between and adds his strength to the music with his vocals and DragonForce was just beginning their show! When DragonForce takes over the stage, they make sure their fans are along for a great night of sight and sound.
(A quick note. Alicia Vigil started with DragonForce in 2020 as their touring bassist. I covered that tour in March of that year. In February of 2022 while Herman and Sam were live on Twitch and Alicia joined them live and Herman asked her if she wanted to join the band full time, a very excited Alicia said, “Hell Yeah”! And what an addition she has been!)
Moving off the towers to the front of the stage Heman and Sam joined the others and stepped back in time to 2012 with, “Cry Thunder” then onto, “Heroes of Our Time” from 2008. The band's stage presence is so much fun to witness. Heman and Sam seem to be always on the move, from standing on a riser in front of the stage to moving about and interacting with their fans. Marc then pulled out the CO2 gun and sprayed those up close to the stage which was cooling for me. Alicia may seem to be a little reserved but don’t let that fool ya, her base beats stay right there with Herman’s and Sam’s. The band then played a new song from their upcoming new album, Warp Speed Warriors to be released on March 15th 2024, “Power of the Triforce” to the delight of the crowd.
Well, it is very rare to witness this but, there was an issue with the power and so there was a short break. So the band decided to have a chugging contest. Herman fixed it up and Sam, Marc and Billy chugged a beer, Alicia a double shot of whiskey. Gee doesn't drink, so Baffo from Nanowar chugged Gee's beer. The break wasn’t too long and the band took in stride and interacted with the crowd a bit.
Power was back and the band jumped right in with 2019’s “The Last Dragonborn” followed by 2004’s “Fury of the Storm”. When the band finished this song, they took a moment and all of them took a shot. Then they continued on with their set. Oh but wait, it was time to throw the stuffed chicken around the venue. Yes folks, singer Marv Hudson asked everyone if they would please return the stuffed chicken undamaged. The last one ended up in pieces. So with an explosion of green confetti Marc threw the chicken into the crowd and it made its way around the venue including the balcony where I was taking more photographs of the show and it landed in my hands. So I launched it back into the crowd below and it ended up back on stage in one piece.
DragonForce closed out one of the most entertaining nights at a concert I ever had the pleasure of covering with 2005's “Through the Fire and Flames”.
I knew that this day was going to be a fun day but, It went way beyond my expectations and will be locked in my memory bank forever! Thanks to all the bands for an amazing day and show, and to friends that were there and new friends I made. This 72 year old slept very well that night.
Marc Hudson – lead vocals
Herman Li – guitar, backing vocals
Sam Totman - guitar
Alicia Vigil – bass, backing vocals
Gee Anzalone – drums, percussion, backing vocals
TRON Legacy (End Titles) @Tape
Heroes of Our Time
Power of the Triforce
Soldiers of the Wasteland
The Last Dragonborn
Fury of the Storm
Valley of the Damned
Highway to Oblivion
Wildest Dreams @Cover
My Heart Will Go On @Cover
Through the Fire and Flames