It’s kind of apt that Thomas McRocklin was born the year that the Monsters Of Rock came into being. By the time the event was established he had become a child prodigy featuring on a TV programme about the event. Fast forward some three and a bit decades and McRocklin has teamed up with a synth wizard by the name of Hutch. The music the pair make is somewhere between electro rock and 80s metal. It’s silky smooth with the six strings singing rather than shredding. This is the kind of music that other musicians will love. It’s a fine wine of sound rather than a shot of JD. McRocklin And Hutch may not have the bite of showstoppers but they give the crowd a very fine opening set.
Lovebites are on a bit of a roll right now. They’re popping out new music at a pace that is positively speedy. They’re Golden Gods winners too (best new band) and they have found an adoring fan base in the UK. The thing most obvious about the Japanese quintet is that they can play, actually they would pretty much marmalise any other act out there if there was ever such a thing as a band off. Their music is highly reminiscent of classic Iron Maiden right down to the vocal pitch, the songs and delivery though is more akin to J-Rock meets Halestorm. These girls know how to work an audience, they are refreshingly and obviously very happy just being up on stage and that rubs off on the crowd. There’s much talk of where the new acts are that will step up to fill the gaps left when the old bands have gone. Lovebites are sticking their collective hands up as candidates. They’re one of those bands that you just feel have just gotten started.
When you get a laser show and giant arcade games ushering in a headliner it gets you ready for something special. Quite often with acts they flatter to deceive, but not Dragonforce, they actually make the pyro confetti intro look somehow normal. It’s a typically well polished show at the Roadmender. It’s a packed crowd willing Herman Li and Sam Totman on to ever escalating guitar insanity while Marc Hudson is busy conducting the show and using a pyro/dry ice gun on the fans. Dragondforce never blow hot and then cold, they always deliver a great show and tonight is no exception. We’re treated to some of those little special moments too, like the supports joining the band for a kind of power metal hoedown featuring a banjo of all things. There’s a big nod towards Skyrim with ‘Last Of The Dragonborn’ and a finale that includes a wonderfully rocked up version of Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’. We may be entering the first flourishes of winter but Dragonforce have turned up the heat here in Northampton, showing just why they are so well regarded. They depart as they arrived, in a flurry of chaos, smoke and chanting happy fans.