Gig Review: Firewind, Cathouse, Glasgow, 11th September 2011

Although ‘Days Of Defiance’ was released in October of last year, Gus G’s absence while touring with Ozzy Osbourne has meant that Firewind had to postpone any major touring plans in support of their latest record. Here and now, on the road on their headlining UK tour, the band seems to be ecstatic to finally share their latest material with their fans after such a long wait.

I think it is safe to say that entering the Cathouse that the crowd was split three-ways: The stand out Wolf fans, Firewind fans and Ozzy Osbourne fans who came to check out what Gus did in his spare time.

Armed with stand-in vocalist Mats Leven (Therion, Yngwie Malmsteen), who just happened to be celebrating his birthday, the European power metal wizards wasted no time kicking into gear with ‘The Ark Of Lies’ and Mats proved himself to be a perfect fit for the band in the absence of vocalist Apollo Papathanasio. The only aspect missing from Mats performance, compared to Apollo, was his activity and liveliness on stage but faced with the task of winning over a crowd, who may have never even knew that he was standing in, his vocal performance was impeccable.

Playing songs from their six album catalogue, they made sure this gig was for every fan of the band. Gus G shredded his way throughout the set like we have come to expect from him and he was continually challenged and pushed forward by Bob Katsionis who attempts to rival his blistering solos on the keyboard. The connection between Bob and Gus seems to be a special one and it shows on stage very well as they grin from ear to ear and enjoy giving their all as Petros drives home each song.

While Firewind is Gus G’s band, the three instrumentals that shaped their set, allowed the other members to take a step forward and stand in the limelight to perform for the fans, which I believe was a great move by Gus. This is his band, he formed the band and he is the only person to live on through all of the line-up changes but as he will likely know, many people were there to very possibly just see him perform. While he took advantage of centre stage for his own solos, most of the time Gus stood back on stage and allowed the other members to step forward and to be recognised for their roles. It felt like he was trying to show the small crowd that he didn’t get where he is today without help and this is his way of acknowledging it by giving them the centre stage for the majority of the set.

Although it took them a while to get on the road in support of ‘Days Of Defiance’, Firewind couldn’t look any happier than they did performing hits from across their catalogue in Glasgow. With a new album already in the works, armed with a vision to try do something new and make them stand out from the pack, it won’t be long until we see Firewind building up to bigger and greater things. It comes as no surprise that the crowd felt that it was split three ways with Ozzy fans turning up but Firewind made this work in their favour by delivering a strong set that is sure to win people over.

Rating – 8


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Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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