German power metal band Edguy have been around for twenty years, and following the release of their ninth studio album ‘Age Of The Joker’ last year, they are now on a world tour in support of it. Having started the European leg in July 2011 and playing the 70,000 Tons Of Metal festival in January in the Cayman Islands, tonight they play the second of only three UK dates at Birmingham’s HMV Institute Library.
First up was Birmingham’s progressive power metal band, Dakesis and the venue is quite full already. When frontman/ guitarist Wayne Dorman announces that they’rere from Birmingham, the Home of Metal, this is met with huge cheers from the audience. After asking if the crowd are looking forward to Edguy (huge cheers) and Voodoo Six (slightly less louder cheers!), the fast-paced harmony guitars from frontman Wayne and guitarist Matt Jones, keyboards from Gemma Lawler and driving drumming from Adam Harris, and bassist Amie Chatterley’s vocals win the crowd over. Matt has a chance to show his expertise with an extended guitar solo towards the end of the set, and then he interlocks with Wayne and they play each other’s guitars! Their set included ‘Valhalla’ (the first song they wrote) and ‘Wings Of Steel’ which was clearly a crowd favourite. This was a great performance and although they may not have sounded as tight as experienced touring musicians, tonight they marked themselves out as a band to watch out for in future.
Having previously seen Voodoo Six last year as a support for Michael Monroe, I was a bit surprised to see a classic rock-style band playing with two power metal bands. But nevertheless, they played an enthusiastic set and seemed quite well received by the crowd. There are clear blues influences in the melodic guitar work of Chris Jones and Matt Pearce, but also hints of grunge in Luke Purdie’s vocals. The powerful bass lines from Tony Newton and Joe Lazarus’s drum beats keep the heads banging, with guitar solos soaring above the groove. Their set included songs such as ‘Take Aim’ from their 2010 album ‘Fluke?’ and a newer track ‘Stop’ from their latest album ‘Falling Knives’, all of which went down very well with the crowd. They put in a good solid performance and although sandwiched between two harder power metal bands, they still won over the audience and maybe even made some new fans.
As the stage goes black for Edguy, circus music plays over the PA system. Then the band take to the stage and kick off with ‘Nobody’s Hero’ and ‘The Arcane Guild’, both from current album Age Of The Joker and then taking us back to 2001 with ‘Tears Of A Mandrake.’ Band frontman Tobias Sammet takes a moment to interact with the crowd and explains about how much he is enjoying being in England and an anecdote about an interesting train journey – now that’s rock ‘n roll! After announcing that they plan to include a song about England on their next album, the next song, ‘Rock Of Cashel’, is introduced as being about Ireland with Tobias encouraging tap dancing, to which the crowd oblige! ‘Robin Hood,’ the single from Age Of The Joker, was a highly anticipated track and the band did not fail to deliver, guiytarists Jens Ludwig and Dirk Sauer being on top form and pulling off complex solos whilst running around the stage.
During the instrumental interlude, Tobias makes a joke about its resemblance to an Iron Maiden-style musical passage, imitating Bruce Dickinson’s trademark ‘scream for me Birmingham!’ before Felix Bohnke gets to show off his impressive stickwork in a drum solo. The band returns and continue with ‘Ministry Of Saints’, Tobias commenting on guitarist’s faces when they solo as an indication on how difficult it is, and apparently it’s the same as when having sex (according to Tobias hacking Jens’ webcam in his room). After the commercial ballad, ‘Save Me’, Tobias announces a song that was written the previous night on the tour bus, one that he hopes could be become a big hit one day. Including the first verse of ‘The Trooper’ by Iron Maiden in the song may not go down so well with Maiden fans… ‘Superheroes’ closes the set and the crowd calls for more. The (Ed)guys come back on stage and treat us to the classic ‘Vain Glory Opera’. After promises of returning to the UK and thanking us all, they finish on ‘King Of Fools’.
Edguy played a great show in Birmingham that evening, one that was entertaining and put a smile on everybody’s faces. If there could be one area of criticism, I would say the inclusion of more older songs would have been welcome, such as from Hellfire Club, but I guess they can’t please everybody all of the time. Hopefully they will include some more when they return, and they did promise to be back!
Setlist: Nobody’s Hero, The Arcane Guild, Tears Of A Mandrake, Rock Of Cashel, Lavatory Love Machine, Robin Hood, Drum Solo, Ministry Of Saints, Save Me, Babylon, Superheroes
Encore: Vain Glory Opera, King Of Fools
And you can see all of Krish’s photos here: