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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

A View From The Back Of The Room: Power Quest, Fury & Malum Sky

Power Quest, Fury, Malum Sky, Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff

Cardiff city centre is always chaotic when there is a major sporting or music event in our city. For those of you that have never been to Cardiff, everything is very centralised, the international stadium sits squarely in the city centre surrounded by shops, roads and houses. So when a large events such as the UEFA Champions league or the recent World Heavyweight Title Match take place and the stadium is packed to capacity the rest of the city is put into lock down meaning it can be very difficult for any other bands or indeed punters to make their way into the Capital. Luckily the train services worked perfectly for us already on our way during the road closing phase so we arrived in the centre reasonably quickly, as we alighted the train the magnitude of this event set in.

The streets were lined with people crowds formed outside every pub, club and restaurant with many people already at least 5 pints in (this was probably 6pm), we snaked our way through the streets and finally came to the relative safety of Womanby Street and Fuel. Milling around outside catching up with friends we chatted to members of Power Quest and Fury about the chaos, with Fury suffering the most due to the traffic into the city and the lack of parking meaning they had to drag their equipment about 2 miles to the venue. Still there was no time to wait as the gig started in earnest and in a flash the opening band were on the stage.

The opening band for this show was Cardiff Metal 2 The Masses 2017 winners Malum Sky (7) who did seem to be a curious addition to the bill, their Tool influenced progressive metal was at odds with the other two bands power/traditional metal style, still with a faithful crowd behind them they ploughed through their set with the technical precision that saw them win this year's M2TM.

With a quick change over and soundcheck Fury (8) took to the stage and kicked things off with their epic Lost In Space, this gig was somewhat transitional for the band at it served as my first viewing of new guitarist Anthony Difford (formerly of Reacher) who ably took charge on the lead guitar slotting in perfectly bringing a thrashier edge to the riffs, letting drummer Alasdair blast away. Singer/guitarist JJ was in fine voice throughout and also pulled some great frontman moves for a change when his amp decided to cut out leaving his guitar swinging around his neck.

The Fuel show was also the penultimate gig (for a while at least) for founding Fury bassist Martin Trail who is in demand for both The Cult Classics and Steve Grimmet's Grim Reaper. With Martin they have a really class act, he is great guy to chat to, a superb bass player and a real highlight to watch with his boundless energy, he will be missed by those of us that have followed Fury from the beginning. Their set was short but exciting getting the crowd singing along with When The Hammer Falls and their always welcomed cover of Drunken Sailor, Fury always manage to warm a crowd beautifully which you can see for yourselves on their up-coming co-headline tour with Dakesis.

As the room filled the hardcore made their way to the front and Power Quest (8) took to the stage, having seen them have the crowd eating out their hand when supporting Dragonforce a mere fortnight ago the chance to see them play and extended set was treat for the Power Metal faithful. Like with The Globe the stage was cramped so frontman Ashley Edison wasn't given much room to conduct his metal choir at the front of the stage and guitarists Glynn and Andy couldn't move around like they would have on a bigger stage but at least they weren't relegated to the corner like Steve Williams and Paul Finnie.

With the music this good though you can forgive the lack of movement they played a career spanning set with Lords Of Tomorrow setting the ball rolling through Face The Raven then the triumphant Kings And Glory and the trashy Cemetery Gates all featured in the set. Steve Willams' keyboards drove the songs especially on the slower tracks and the always brilliant The Magic Never Dies. It was terrific set from Power Quest let down a little by the acoustics in the venue meaning that ear splitting vocals of Ashley were a little low in the mix making it all a little muddy, still a strong set from the British power metal veterans, lets hope we see more of them in 2018!

Epilogue: After the gig we popped over to one of our favourite locals The City Arms just as the boxing had finished and we witnessed the wildness of the crowd firsthand. Absolute madness unfolded outside the windows of the pub, like a scene from a  Zombie movie (apt for Halloween weekend) so kudos to the City Arms (and Fuel) for not chasing a quick buck and letting all and sundry into the venue to exacerbate the trouble that was already brewing, they took the other route of turning everyone not regular away. There's a reason why I prefer music over sport and also this served as another plus point for Womanby Street surviving, it has a camaraderie that stands above everything else.     

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