Dream Evil / Falconer / Shadowkeep
27 September 2003
The Underworld, London

I`m going to break with the usual format of the live reviews for this one for two main reasons. Firstly. amazingly the day before this gig I had a phone call from Power Play magazine to say I had been promoted from runner-up to winner of their Dream Evil competition and I and a friend would get to spend the day with the band. Secondly, so well were we treated that I was more than slightly drunk by the time Dream Evil hit the stage!

Our day started around 2.30pm when we met Donna from Century Media Records at the venue. After a drink and a chat in the bar with Donna, Dream Evil arrive from their hotel and we`re introduced. We get to have a brief chat with Fredrik Nordström and Gus G who tell us it`s the first visit to the UK for the entire band tonight. Gus spots my Death Angel shirt and notes he`ll be back in November with Mystic Prophecy supporting them, and of course I confirm we already have the tickets. However, top of the agenda was to feed the band and soon they head off with plates in hand.

Next was time for sound check so we all head down into the Underworld where assorted members of Falconer, Shadowkeep and Descent are already moving gear around. Johan and I take a position near the back with pints in hand to watch proceedings. Sound checks for the most part tend to be quite dull until the whole band are set up and you get a private rendition of some songs. Made Of Metal was played through and Johan informs me a lot of amusing things in Swedish are being said during the microphone checks.

Having completed the sound check we opt not to stay for the Falconer sound check and head back up to the bar. By this point Glenn Butler of Power Play magazine has arrived and we enjoy a good few more pints and discussion about all things metal.

The venue doors were now opening so we head down and join Dream Evil backstage. The whole band are very welcoming to our invasion and are more than happy to pose for ridiculous photos as can be seen in the photo gallery. More beers are drunk and much hilarity occurs.

Eventually we decide that we ought to check out Shadowkeep and arrive for the tail end of their set. There are not many bands around still playing this American style power metal that legends such as Crimson Glory and Helstar used to play. Shadowkeep are certainly doing no harm to this tradition and it honestly feels like we`ve gone in a time-warp back to the late 80s. New vocalist Ronnie Stixx reminds me in stature of the late-great Carl Albert of Vicious Rumors and he also has the lungs to match on material such as Dark Tower. Having only caught two songs it`s difficult to be objective but I did enjoy what I heard and look forward to catching more when they support Symphony X next month.

Falconer I confess are just not my cup of tea and whilst they do appear more competent tonight than their set at Sweden Rock, again they do nothing for me. Having said that there are a great number of people purchasing their t-shirts tonight.

Back stage again, Dream Evil are preparing for their set with Gus G and Peter Stålfors busily warming fingers up on their respective guitars and bass. Niklas Isfeldt comically grasps his arm round me and sings something in Swedish which Johan tells me was a traditional nursery rhyme song. Snowy Shaw and Fredrik Nordström are donning eye liner and we cheekily take photos so their fans can see what really happens back stage, which was swiftly met with a middle finger salute from Fredrik.

At this point it`s fair to say I`m pretty drunk and it seems like a good idea to walk on to the currently empty stage with Johan`s camera and get the crowd to wave for a picture. I think I shouted "Scream for me Camden!" and the results are in the gallery, have a look for yourself and thanks for being so loud.

Finally Dream Evil take the stage to Made Of Metal and a packed Underworld greets them like true metal heroes. Things are a little blurry though I do remember them playing Chasing The Dragon, Children Of The Night and The Chosen One. I`m told the sound wasn`t at its best but I do know the performance certainly was. The band seems to be loving every minute of it with grins from ear to ear, great metal posing and an equally receptive crowd reaction. With the aid of our backstage arm bands we were able to clamber up stage right and get some great on-stage shots. Concerned that Glenn from Power Play should have another picture of me with the band it now seems reasonable to perform a stage dive. Surfing on top of the crowd I position myself facing Glenn and give him a wave before the crowd politely place me back on stage!

We meet back up with Glenn in the photographer`s area to enjoy the rest of the set which closes fittingly with The End. I can`t believe anybody left tonight disappointed and Dream Evil prove they are indeed Made of Metal!

After we congratulate the band on their performance and Johan tells me I spent the next half hour wandering round telling everyone I hadn`t yet received my competition "goodies". I might add thanks to Andy at Century Media for rectifying this situation afterwards.

Thanks to Dream Evil, Power Play and Century Media for their respective parts in what was an unforgettable day out.