First of all, I would like to say a big thank you to Rotten Roots Promotions for putting on the event and allowing me press access to the show, and to Asgaardian Events who very kindly arranged for me to interview Imperial Age (interview post coming soon).
For those who want to see far better quality photos than I could ever produce, please go to Imperfect Photography, who documented the entire night through the camera lens.
I travelled down to Derby by train (which for once was on time), and arrived in the city at about 1.30pm. The hotel was only 5 minutes away, so I stopped off to check in, and then went to find my now traditional pre-gig Wetherspoons. Then it was off to the venue early for another drink and a wait for the interview. Straight after the interview, the doors opened and I received my wristband and pass for press, and got myself back inside the main room ready for the first band of the night.
The Wild Strays kicked off the night with their rock ‘n’ roll sound and gritty vocals. It was only partway through that they said that only two weeks ago they had lost their vocalist and become a three piece, but honestly you wouldn’t have been able to tell. For me, a bit of grit to the vocals accompanying this style of music works. They had a lot of enthusiasm and managed to get the small crowd involved, chanting and singing along. They were a great opening act to get the crowd moving.
Kicking off the symphonic metal was Aonia, who I had not yet had the chance to see. The band owned the stage, and the vocals were incredible. The instrumentals were powerful, and their stage presence was amazing. It was only after the show that I found out Melissa (on the right) had a chest infection, but her vocals were so incredible you would never have known from the performance. Both women have an amazing range and I hope that I get the opportunity to see them again soon. Melissa also very kindly gifted me a copy of their latest album to review after their performance.
Serpentyne were a band I had seen the name of, but never had the chance to listen to them. The music was a mix of symphonic, power, folk, celtic, and even some more traditional music which reminded me of Wardruna and Heilung. The bagpipes for me were a particular highlight, and there were a variety of more traditional folk instruments used. I felt they were maybe a little slow to start, but Serpentyne are another band being added to the increasingly long list of bands that I need to listen to more often and have a browse through their back catalogue.
The main support was Winter’s Edge, another of those bands I had heard of but not listened to, and I am ashamed that I hadn’t before. Again, they had such a fantastic stage presence, and the vocalist’s range was amazing. It went from operatic to growls and mid-range clean vocals too. In what appeared to be a string of setbacks for bands that evening, their usual bassist was not available to play, but their stand in did an incredible job. The music really packed a punch and I definitely want to see them again.
The finale and headliners of the evening, Imperial Age finally took to the stage. Their set started slow, with epic melodic songs, and the pace picked up throughout the set. You could definitely hear the Manowar influence in there, which I was given as part of the description of Imperial Age (a sneak peek from the interview there).Every single band member commanded a big presence on stage. Their movements were perfectly coordinated to the music and the lyrics. The music was uplifting and sorrowful at the same time, and it evoked a large range of emotions. To hear vocals like that live was amazing, both solo and harmonies. They were able to engage the crowd right from the start and as such there was a large amount of crowd participation for what was a smaller crowd than I would have liked to see on a Saturday night show. I was headbanging away throughout the set, albeit not as much as I’d have liked as one of my ear plugs was trying to fall out (always wear ear protection at live shows!). Nevertheless, it was a fantastic live performance and I very much look forward to the opportunity to see them live again.
To top it all off, they were lovely enough to come down by the merch stall to meet everyone and take photos. I was unfortunately wasn’t able to get a photo, but I did thank them for a great show, and I even helped pack down the merch and carry some things to the van. I felt it was the least I could do considering I had had free entry and they were kind enough to take time out to do an interview with me.
If you get the chance to see Imperial Age live, I very much encourage you to do so.