Firestorm’s supporting slots

Supporting international act Metal Church last weekend is just the start of big things to come in the next three to six months for local power thrash band Firestorm. An upcoming opportunity awaiting the four-piece will come in February when they’ll play the biggest show yet in their two-and-a-half-year career, supporting German power metal band Blind Guardian at Lion Arts Factory in Adelaide.

“As far as our genre of music, [Blind Guardian] are the pinnacle,” Firestorm guitarist Tom Jovanovic told the Barrier Truth of his favourite band he’s seen live three times – including in Germany!

“They’re still headlining shows, they’ve been around for 30, 40 years playing the style of music that they have. They’re the guys who pretty much paved the way for us. If you’re a fan of Blind Guardian, you’re an ultimate fan. You will bleed for this band.”

This trip down under for Blind Guardian – which includes dates in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney – will be the first time they’ll play to an Adelaide crowd. For Firestorm, it’s another chance to have their music seen by others, having beaten out many fellow bands to be included on the lineup.

“[For] us to be on the first [Adelaide date] with them is a big deal. It’s sort of like trusting us to open the show and the warmup for them and trusting in what we do. It’s a big nod,” Firestorm drummer Ash Meadows said.

“To put it in perspective for the people that aren’t into metal and into Blind Guardian, essentially for us, this is the same opportunity it would be for a local pop singer that writes their own music to go and support Christina Aguilera in Melbourne. It’s on that scope within our musical genre.”

“It’s crazy. It just goes to show that it doesn’t really matter where you are, because anyone can write their own song, but you got to have a real passion to write your own song and sit there and critique it and go, ‘Can it be better? Should it be better?’ and do your art the best you can and then get on the road.

“We beat out a lot of bands. Adelaide is a wealth of bands. There’s hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of bands. Good bands too. We beat them out. The scope of it is actually quite massive for a little band from Broken Hill.”

Firestorm’s vocalist Bilyara Bates said the promoter of the show reached out to them directly having seen their set during the Wacken Metal Battle Australian finals in Sydney in May.

“The promoter had seen us perform, and then when they knew that Blind Guardian was going to Adelaide and they knew that we were just down the road – aka 500km – they actually inboxed us and said, ‘would you guys be interested in this?’. The fact that the promoter actually came to us, and we didn’t have to humbug them was absolutely amazing. It’s very surreal”, Bilyara said.

Ash – who’s also the Promotor at Lead Heavy Productions – says it’s opportunities like this that he and his bandmates hope young up-and-coming musicians see as a possibility to succeed in the scene and spur them on to create their own music.

“Unless you’re in a cover band in Broken Hill, your options are pretty limited to where you can play. What we’re hoping to do by getting out and doing all these Firestorm shows is to inspire the next lot of kids coming up,” he says.

“The other thing that’s been nice and also quite surprising, is there’s a couple of our old friends who are our age who used to play back when we were teenagers [who] have picked up their instruments again and started playing.”

Tom added, “We’ve got a bit of knowledge up our sleeves. We’ve been kicking around musically for about 20, 30 years. We can offer a lot of assistance. If anyone wants to reach out to Lead Heavy, any young people out there and stuff like that, we can certainly help them out and potentially provide opportunities for them to perform as well”.

Firestorm will also be supporting former Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di’Anno in January, and after playing with Blind Guardian, will be holding an EP release party at The Palace Hotel in March, with many more tight-lipped announcements expected to be confirmed in the new year.

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