Dream Theater - Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, Fri 3 Feb 2012 (3 stars)

American prog-metallers overcome venue with hooks and virtuosity

Dream Theater, Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, Fri 3 Feb

First things first: seated venues aren’t really best friends with metal music, are they. Tonight’s gig is at the Clyde Auditorium, complete with lukewarm pastel furnishings and besuited ushers, torch in hand. It’s more aligned with Britain’s Got Talent auditions than bustling metal soirees, so hard cheese then to tonight’s support act – down-tuned dynamos Periphery – whose impressive slabs of tech-metal get lost somewhere in the vacuous space between stage and stalls.

Bums on seats makes for a dour atmosphere – but headliners Dream Theater thankfully don’t quite have the same problem; they are the godfathers of grandiose progressive metal, and rightly so, with a 25 plus-year career and a back-catalogue beaming with not only their famed musicianship but also with cuts of genuine songwriting majesty. That dichotomy is prevalent here tonight – there’s as many hook-driven choruses from the American prog-metallers as there are spasmodic guitar-keyboard gymnastics – with tracks like ‘Outcry’ and ‘Breaking All Illusions’ proving to be rousing feats of musical chutzpah. There are some sniffs of cheese – and the sound of seats reacquainting with their owners – when this band veer towards inert balladry, but hey, they’ve just set fire to fretboards and drum soloed for five minutes – they deserve a bit of downtime now and again, right?

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