I Am I + Achilla + Primitai @ O2 Academy 2, Birmingham – 27 May 2012

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Review and Photos by Krish Mistry

Coming on stage to a relatively small audience (barely a hundred people), Achilla, a four piece with members Hungary, Italy and Greece, almost didn’t make it tonight. With guitarist Daniele Panza unable to make it, they almost had to call off their show, but fortunately for us, Jamie Stungo was able to step in and show off his impressive skills and round out Achilla’s gothic/symphonic sound to its full effect and give impressive frontwoman Martamaria’s harsh style/screaming vocals the platform they need, particularly in opener ‘Wild Flower’ (recently showcased on a cover mount CD with PowerPlay magazine). Though there were a few enthusiastic fans in the crowd and they closed their set with an impressive cover of the Tears For Fears song, ‘Shout’, the band seemed to struggle to capture the audience. A shame as they really have something to offer…

When Primitai take to the stage and frontman Guy Miller kicks off with an energetic performance, interacting with guitarists Nick Saxby and Srdjan Bilic, moving around the stage and even jumping off the stage twice to get closer to the crowd and encourage them to come forward and join in. The two guitarists along with bassist Jamie Lordcastle form a human pyramid – something you don’t see very often! Including songs from their two albums, Through The Gates Of Hell and The Line Of Fire, their performance was enough to warm the crowd up and ensure that many will be looking forward to seeing them play in future.

Finally, it’s time for I Am I, ZP Theart’s new band since his departure from DragonForce in 2010. The introductory music plays and ZP Theart comes on stage to huge cheers as they start with ‘This Is My Life’, a track which has been available on their website for some time, and one that would be familiar to everyone in attendance. Due to delays with their album, it’s one of only two songs that people would have heard before, but the crowd are enthusiastic and are soon getting into the music and enjoying the new tracks. ZP asks people to move in closer to the stage so he can see them all, and soon gets the crowd participating, their fists in the air and joining in with the songs.

The musical style is different to DragonForce, it is not as fast, and more inspired from traditional heavy metal and hard rock. There is more emphasis on vocals rather than furious drumming and complex guitar work – although we still get some solos thrown in – but the voice is still immediately recognisable and people who have heard DragonForce songs before will make the connection. With Jacob Ziemba on guitar, Neil Salmon on bass and Paul Clark Jr on drums, they all put on a relatively flawless performance with few signs that this is their first live show. For the encore, they played a cover of Queen’s ‘The Show Must Go On’ before ending with the track that everybody had been waiting for (from the music video available online), ‘Silent Genocide’.

ZP seems genuinely happy to be back on stage with his new band, with a smile on his face throughout and giving all ticket holders a free commemorative t-shirt for the show. I Am I are definitely a band on the rise, and with their next performance to be on the main stage at Bloodstock festival, they are bound to blow a lot of people away.

Setlist: This Is My Life, In The Air Tonight, Inside Of Me, Cross The Line, See You Again, King In Ruins, Stay A While, Wasted Wonders, Dust To Dust, Kiss Of Judas, Pave The Way

Encore: The Show Must Go On, Silent Genocide

And you can see more of Krish’s shots from the show here: