Unbelievably it's now been over three years since vocalist ZP Theart left power metal giants DragonForce. Following a year away from the music business, he returned with a new band named I Am I and unleashed an impressive debut album in the shape of 'Event Horizon'. Tonight I Am I are set to take to the stage at The Railway in Ipswich.
It's a relatively warm evening considering that the nights are drawing in and homes across the country have been debating turning the heating on over the past few days. It's also Friday night so what better way to kick the weekend off than head to the pub, after all that's exactly what The Railway is. There is a shocking lack of live music venues in this town, especially considering its excellent transport links.
The Railway is one venue that is stepping up and trying to fill this void. Sadly its small size holds it back from becoming a regular touring stop for most decent sized bands. However they are building a local fan base and have some established names coming this autumn. I truly hope that this venue can build a reputation that sees more and more reputable acts booked.
One issue that the venue needs to address is its promotional skills. The show tonight hasn't been well advertised and is unfortunately thinly attended. A star name such as Theart's and the £5 ticket price should have a place like this sold out. Alas not tonight and when Essex's Kaine finally take to the stage over an hour after the advertised door time, the venue is still relatively empty.
Kaine are a very young band who show they have potential, but also prove that they are far from the finished product. They are not helped by the nonexistent crowd, but they play on. They are clearly influenced by classic metal and in particular Iron Maiden, which is not bad thing in my books. Their dual guitar sound is impressive but needs work. In my opinion they need to hit the road and play as many shows as they possibly can, and in doing so become a much tighter outfit.
For the £5 entrance fee tonight you get three bands, which works out at great value. Next on the corner stage are High Wycombe five-piece The Wild Lies, who so I'm told feature Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith's son on bass guitar. Metal is certainly the theme of the night, but each band clearly have their roots in different metal genres. The Wild Lies are more glam than the Maiden/Metallica thrash of Kaine, but are just as hard hitting. It's a solid performance from a group of musicians that are clearly more polished as a unit and who are further on their musical journey.
As you would expect most people are here tonight for I Am I. Thankfully by now there are more people in the audience, if still on the thin side. As I touched on earlier ZP Theart decided to step away from music for a year following his acrimonious departure from DragonForce. It's a year that obviously taught him a lot and helped him discover a lot about himself. On stage tonight Theart is clearly a happy man, a happy man on a mission to bring his music to life on stage.
I Am I have undergone a series of line-up changes in their short life, but are hopefully now settled. Certainly tonight the band appear to be a well oiled machine, pumping out tracks from the debut album 'Event Horizon'. Theart is interactive with the crowd tonight and helps create a great atmosphere in the venue. He leads his band mates through a stream of 'Event Horizon' tracks starting with album opener the brilliant 'This Is My Life'.
'Event Horizon' is a very strong debut for I Am I and one of its best songs 'In The Air Tonight' that follows. 'Event Horizon' encapsulates a number of musical genres but keeping with the theme of the night they are all rooted in metal. Of course power metal is a strong influence of I Am I's song writing as you would expect given Thearts former experiences, but I Am I are far from a one trick pony and their music will appeal to more than just fans of Thearts former band. 'Event Horizon' was written with guitarist Jacob Ziemba and this is a song writing partnership with great potential.
Theart, Ziemba and co then smash through 'Dust 2 Dust', 'Cross The Line', 'Wasted Wonders' and the fantastic 'Stay A While'. The crowd are up for it tonight as well and despite being relatively low on numbers, those here make up for it in spirits. The performance continues with 'Pave The Way' and 'Kiss Of Judas', before a magical moment in any I Am I set, a cover of John Farnham's 'You're The Voice' which incites a huge sing-a-long.
In finishing with single 'Silent Genocide', I Am I have done exactly what they set out to do. They have delivered an entertaining night of top music and sent the crowd home happy. Things are looking bright for I Am I with new music not far away and a loyal fan base already building up. This is definitely a band worth keeping an eye on. This will also hopefully be the first of many rocking nights for me at The Railway.