DragonForce in Birmingham, November 2019

DragonForce, 6 November 2019, O2 Institute Birmingham, UK

The night started with an instrumental set by McRocklin & Hutch. Some will remember Thomas “McRocklin” McLaughlin as the child guitar prodigy in the 90s. He started playing guitar at the age of 4 (!) and performed with Zakk Wylde, Steve Lukather and Steve Vai, who later became Thomas’s mentor.

Now, over two decades later McRocklin is back on the guitar scene and has teamed up with producer Tim Hutchinson, creating a shreadwave band McRocklin & Hutch.

Next on stage were Lovebites. Energetic power metal riffs maybe are not exactly what’s expected from a Japanese all girls band, but these ladies certainly know how to rock! All dolled up in white dresses and heels and all smiles they were visibly excited to play at the birthplace of heavy metal.

Named after a Halestorm song the three year young band has already appeared at several leading European festivals and in 2018 have won Metal Hammer Golden Gods Award for Best New Band.

Brits Dragonforce are known for spectacular live shows and this time in Birmingham was no different! With laser beams floating around the high ceiling of the venue followed by an explosion of confetti and CO2 clouds the band hit the stage and the set started with “Highway to Oblivion” from their latest release Extreme Power Metal, which came out on 27 September 2019.

Before taking the fans down the memory lane with “Black Fire” from the band’s 2003 debut album Valley of the Damned, we were treated to an instrumental section where McRocklin returns on stage to duel with guitarist Herman Li.

Dragonforce frontman Mark Hudson was continuously chatting to the crowd between songs and for “Cry Thunder” the invite came to sing along as there are only two words that needed to be remembered.

On the crowd’s demand the band returned on stage for an encore with a cover of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” and Mark joked that there will not be any other time one could see people moshing to this song. The moshpit was growing and getting wilder and as the evening was finishing with “Through the Fire and Flames.” To make the finale even more epic a sea of streamers were shot high in the air combined with a smoke display.

Fantasy themed lyrics accompanied with some high speed fretboard wizardry and the show celebrating video game music – that was definitely a great night and a fun performance to watch.


  • Highway to Oblivion
  • Fury of the Storm
  • The last Dragonborn
  • Ashes of the Dawn
  • Heart Demolition
  • Black Fire
  • Razorblade Meltdown
  • Cry Thunder
  • Rememberance Day
  • Valley of the Damned


  • My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion cover)
  • Through the Fire and Flames








Metalhead travel junkie and a geek.

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