Dragonforce -- Fargo, ND -- April 21st, 2009
Okay, this is a bit tardy but I just discovered this forum a few days ago. I saw Dragonforce in Fargo ND with Daath and Cynic supporting. I went to the show more as a social thing then anything else (went with my brother); I'm something of a Cynic fan but wasn't really familiar with Daath or Dragonforce. I wound up becoming a Dragonforce fan.
Daath, like so many other modern metal groups, would probably be a good band if they fired Cookie Monster and got a singer. They could play, and their songs seemed competently constructed. Debit points for the idiotic concert intro sequence; they seem to get dumber with every concert I attend. A poor soundmix didn't help their cause. I couldn't tell you the setlist.
Cynic was incredibly disappointing. To be fair it was probably at least in part due to an abysmal soundmix, but that wasn't all of it. The whole band seemed nervous, shaky, and unsure of themselves. They didn't even attempt to be entertaining, and the singer's confused babble between songs just made things worse. They'd probably do better playing the college circuit. Setlist was:
The Space For This
The Unknown Guest
King Of Those Who Know
The Integral Birth
Dragonforce was amazing. The performance was tight and powerful, the mix was acceptable, and the singer (I don't know his name) was singing very high notes with aplomb. These guys were also incredibly entertaining. What a bunch of goofballs; you find yourself constantly craning your neck because you don't know who's going to do something totally weird next, and where. As a guitarist I found myself humbled; half this stuff I doubt I could pull off without considerable practice. Setlist was (This comes from another audience member; I wasn't familiar with any of their songs before the show):
Heroes Of Our Time
Operation Ground And Pound
Reasons To Live
Heart Of A Dragon
The Warrior Inside
Keyboard/Guitar Solo (the ONLY solo spot I've ever actually liked)
Soldiers Of The Wasteland
The Last Journey Home
Strike Of The Ninja
Valley Of The Damned
Through The Fire And The Flames
All three bands were technically competent, but technical competence is not everything as Cynic amply demonstrated. Dragonforce was a bit of an education; I'd avoided listening to their music because I'd assumed that being a modern act they would feature Cookie Monster on vocals and therefore be unlistenable. I actually quite like them now; not brilliant but definitely entertaining. My biggest single complaint about the whole thing was the mix. The sound was really pretty bad for the opening acts, and just this side of acceptable for Dragonforce. They particularly had a problem keeping the vocals up in the mix. As a former pro soundman I can tell them the solution: turn it down a bit. They're running everything way too hot for the size venues they're playing. Overall this didn't ruin the show. I had a good time.