Falconer / Dragonland
17 July 2009
Camden Underworld, London

There was a healthy turnout in the Camden Underworld for this evening of Swedish power metal. First up was the band I was mainly here to see, Dragonland. The band have evolved over their four studio albums from straight ahead euro power metal to include progressive elements. This has been most noticeable on the band’s last album Astronomy, from which more than half the set is drawn.

Antimatter opened the set impressively with Jonas Heidgert soaring to reach the high notes and, on this particular song, throwing in the occasional gruff vocal. Supernova followed and it was at this point I noticed that they were playing with only one guitarist. Olof Mörck acquitted himself well and with the keyboards of Elias Holmlid filling out the sound, Dragonland’s sound wasn’t lacking.

A fast song was promised and Contact obliged, coming on like a cross between Power Quest and Pagan’s Mind. Pleasing fans of the older material, The Shores Of Our Land allowed the chance for a brief Lei Lei Lei sing-along, with Heidgert surveying the crowd questioning “Are you drinking beer in England?”.

As the set progressed Dragonland seemed to feed of the positive response and grow in confidence. Heidgert joked “You can really make some noise here. Please don’t do that during songs as we can’t hear ourselves!”.

The set peaked with Astronomy and the more sophisticated recent material certainly impressed. Though it was a cover of Limahl’s The Never Ending Story that leaves the crowd grinning as the Swedes departed. It’s just a shame they didn’t arrange any merchandise as there was certainly a demand.

Dragonland set list:
Antimatter / Supernova / Contact / The Shores Of Our Land / As Madness Took Me / Cassiopeia / Forever Walking Alone / Astronomy / The Never Ending Story

I have to confess that Falconer do very little for me and nothing changed based on tonight’s performance. The fans of the band were treated to spot on renditions of the band’s material, however the performance was completely lacking in energy.

Singer Mathias Blad is the most unlikely metal frontman. Trained in musical theatre, Blad has appeared in Sweden in the likes of Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair. It’s no surprise therefore that his vocal accurately replicated recorded work. However, the acting side of his stage skills are not employed and Blad simply stands in front of his microphone stand singing. Well I guess that’s what he’s there for and as noted he does that well.

Falconer is the essentially Stefan Weinerhall’s band and the bald guitar player seemed to be enjoying this rare opportunity to perform his folk tinged compositions live. However the jovial easy going atmosphere was somewhat interrupted when a fight broke out in front of the stage and the offender had to be wrestled out of the venue by a bouncer.

Back on stage the Falconer fans had demanded an encore and having run out of rehearsed songs, the band decided to play Upon The Grave Of Guilt once more. One for the fans I think this performance.

Falconer set list:
Field Of Sorrow / Tower Of The Queen / Wings Of Serenity / Vargaskall / Quest For The Crown / Man Of The Hour / Catch The Shadows / Himmel Så Trind / Upon The Grave Of Guilt / Boiling Led / Mindtraveller / Clarion Call / Upon The Grave Of Guilt