CONCERT REVIEW: DRAGONFORCE Slays the Knitting Factory (Boise)


Power metal is a genre that is not for everyone, and that is a sad reality. While I somewhat understand, I also think people are missing out on something truly special. Dragonforce has been on my bucket list for many years, so when my son, who has a new love for concerts, said he was a fan, I knew this was the concert to break that ridiculous streak.

On November 16th, 2023 at The Knitting Factory in Boise, Idaho, we experienced one of the most energetic, entertaining, and at times hilarious, shows I have seen in my 41 years, almost 30 of them being an avid concert-goer. The crowd interaction and eccentric showmanship made the evening go really quickly, and with four bands, that can be a difficult thing to achieve.

First, Edge of Paradise began the night to warm up the crowd. They had a neon theme with a pink platform for the vocalist, Margarita Monet, to stand on. She also wore a green sash around her waist that glowed throughout the performance. The lead guitarist, Dave Bates, had a shoulder piece that had green lasers that blasted through it and showed through the crowd and ceiling. Later, Monet had a shoulder piece on that had white lights shining within it. They put on a great show with the drummer, Jamie Moreno, wearing sunglasses and showing a lot of energy. Monet had beautiful, clear vocals and it rang through the building. The bassist, Kenny Lockwood, was the unsung hero as I watched him throw some difficult notes down. The rhythm guitarist, David Ruiz, was high-intensity. They were extremely enjoyable.

Next up was Nanowar of Steel, which I was thrilled to see. Their sound check was even funny, as one made bizarre sounds into the mic, and the other barked. They began with the mic held up to one of the vocalist’s derriere, Mr. Baffo, as his hind end started to “talk” to the crowd. Hijinks all through the set all the way from their costumes to the crowd interaction, to the performance. The other vocalist, Potowotominimak, would come out almost every song in a new mask or outfit. When they played, The Call of Cthulhu”, he had a Cthulhu mask on and a giant old-time cell phone to create the dialing part of the song. Another time he came out in a full owl costume while they played, “II Cacciatore Della Notte”, as they taught the crowd to flap along to the song. I forgot to take notes during the set because I was so highly entertained. They ended their time with, “Norwegian Reggaeton”. Guitarist, Mohammad Abdul, Bassist, Gattopanceri666, and drummer, Uinona Raider, were engaging and hilarious. I mean, just look at these names, you know they are going to be a good time.

Third was Amaranthe. I knew only a little about this band and had listened to some of their music, but I still didn’t really know what to expect. I was surprised to see three different vocalists, and wondered how they would share the stage, but quickly saw how smoothly they shifted on the three platforms set up for them. The female vocalist, Elize Ryd, had an incredible range and stage presence. The clean male vocalist, Nils Molin, had a lot of energy, and the harsh male vocalist, Mikael Sehlin, had high intensity and was very enjoyable to watch. They moved together and apart as if they were some sort of hydra, it was fascinating. While Olaf Morck (guitar, synth, keyboards), Johan Andreasson (bass), and Morten Lower Sorenson (drums), were killing it and creating the very important musical aspect of the set, they were a fluid act and complimented each other incredibly well.

By the time Dragonforce was to enter, I felt a little sorry for them since all three bands prior really brought it and were so entertaining and engaging, that I didn’t know if they would be able to follow them all up. I quickly realized how silly it was to think this as Dragonforce started, and reminded me why this show was sold out. I cannot remember the last time I was this entertained from the very minute a band started until they took their final bows for the night. From the light show to the confetti randomly popping out, to the smoke show, it was nonstop surprises. They had two video game consoles on the sides of the stage and had random games playing on them during the night. These consoles also had large platforms on them that each member took turns on. Their stage presence is unmatched and their sound is huge. Vocalist Marc Hudson has some incredible force behind his voice live, which I was unsure of prior to how this vocal style would sound in person. Guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman were not only, obviously, insanely talented and amazing to watch, but they are so funny too. They each took turns razzing each other as if they were bored or were so unimpressed with each other’s playing. I laughed the entire way through while also picking my jaw up off of the floor from their insane skills. Gee Anzalone (drums), had this glorious setup and just killed it the whole time. Alicia Vigil, (bass), smiled throughout as she hammered through song after song, I love seeing a band really enjoy what they do. Usually, one or two members will keep my attention in bands and I will have to remind myself to watch other members to gain a full perspective, but I found myself easily switching from member to member because they are all so captivating. They also brought out these chickens they had the crowd throw around, which was rather comedic to watch. They played “Cry Thunder”, “The Last Dragonborn”, “Black Fire”, and many more. They came out for their encore with two giant dragon heads and threw themselves into their version of Celine Dion’s, “My Heart Will Go On”.

I will do everything in my “power”, yes pun intended, to not miss Dragonforce any time they come here in the future. It was well worth the money and the time. I encourage you to see them as soon as you can if they come near you.

Here are some incredible shots our photographer Katarzyna Cepek shot from the night.










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