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Firewind - The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton 18.02.2017

So, this was my first time in The Slade Rooms. My first impressions were, it has a good layout; the bars in a separate room, which meant you are not screaming your order at the bar staff! Haha. The event room had a great vibe, merch tables to the left as you walk in and the stage directly in front. The room was filling up and it was not long before the first act ‘Vicious Nature’ came thundering on stage!! It was great to see a well-run show, there was no hanging around, you had enough time to grab a drink and then the band was firing up!

Andy Pyke (Vocals) instantly brought an energy to the stage, engaging the audience and literally warming the room up for the following acts! VN brought some old-school Thrash to the room, solid songs with some catchy hooks. I really enjoyed watching these guys and a worthy opener to the show, a great start to the night!

‘Scar Of The Sun’ also hailing from the lands of Firewind (Greece), were second on… Opening with a sample track intro, the band then ignited into life! Epic, powerful, melodic riffs and some awesome guitar work by Greg Eleftheriou. SOTS were a very interesting band, quite a lot of Progressive elements to their music (Which I am a big fan of) keeping the sound quite current and modern. A super tight band that you can’t help but nod your head to.

‘Manimal’ a Swedish Metal band entered the stage… All I will say is… They have gained a new fan! I have been listening to their album ‘Trapped In The Shadows’ while editing the photos from the show, which is awesome! Their music has a core of Power Metal/Modern Thrash, which complimented their support for Firewind. All band members were competent and engaging with the audience showing real showmanship to their performance, all wearing face paint which made them memorable. One song that stood out was ‘Trapped In The Shadows’ which opens with an epic falsetto scream by front man Samuel Nyman! It was one of those “Hell yeah” \m/ moments, the song has an awesome riff too! Well worth checking these guys out.

Now for ‘Firewind’. I had seen them back around 2010, since then they’ve acquired a new drummer a very recently a new singer. The Tour ‘IMMORTALS’ marks their release of their 8th studio album. The lights were dim, the audience were in suspense and the sample track started… Slowly figures started to immerge on the stage and the band exploded into action, opening with a track from their new album. Their performance was flawless (Bar some technical glitches out of their control), you don’t really appreciate Gus G until you see him live! Man that guy can shred with pin point accuracy and was the highlight of the show for me. The new drummer (since I'd last seen them) put on a solid and powerful performance. Their new singer Henning Basse has a great set of lungs on him! Great control through the range and hitting the high notes, maintaining a very authentic Firewind sound. About 2/3rds of the way through the set the band left the stage leaving only Bob Katsionis on the stage, who performed a wicked keyboard solo, before being joined by Gus and the band. Firewind played an encore of 3 songs including one of my Firewind favourites ‘Tyranny’ which the crowed had the pleasure of singing along to.

The Slade Rooms as a venue was quite good, credit to the guys on the sound, it was spot on! All instruments sat nice in the mix and the system had enough thump that you felt it!

There were 2 things that let the venue down for me… Stage height, even an extra foot would make a big difference, after taking the photos in the pit, I went and stood in the audience, I am 5’ 11” and I could barely see much of the people on stage, unless I was to push my way to the front. Also the pillars meant if you were watching from the side it would cut visibility to the far side of the stage. The other comment would be the lighting, especially from a photography point of view, stronger lights at the front of the stage and a bit more variation throughout the set would be good. Overall, I think it is a great venue, but if I was going to watch a band I was particularly fond of I would make sure I got in early and secured a place at the front. The event went seamlessly, transitions were quick and the support acts were great! I thoroughly enjoyed this gig!

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