Man oh man, this is one I had on my radar for months, since before A&GS moved from Dallas back to Philly. The almighty DRAGONFORCE was in town supporting KAMELOT at The Trocadero (The Troc to those of us in the know), someplace I hadn’t been since the 90’s but always had fond memories of. And on this night the staff was utterly fantastic (we’ll get into that some more in our TESTAMENT/EXODUS piece later) and set the overall tone for a great night of metal. With the extremely talented Kyra Howell shooting her first gig with us, and Inquisitor of Dagon writing up the KAMELOT side of things I was more than ready. Starting off with “Fury of the Storm” from sophomore album Sonic Firestorm and then blasting us with new tune “Three Hammers” followed by “Operation Ground and Pound” we then were hit over the head by “The Game” also from the new record Maximum Overload.
This is the second to feature vocalist Marc Hudson and quite frankly he is a much better fit for this band than ZP Theart. His voice is fuller and he was lively and animated throughout the set. “Cry Thunder” from Hudson’s first effort The Power Within was an absolute show-stopper, by the way. The twin guitar acrobatics of Herman Li and Sam Totman coupled with the rhythm section jackhammering of bassist Frédéric Leclercq and drummer Gee Anzalone created a mini-tornado onstage and during the final tune “Through the Fire and Flames” keyboardist/keytarist Vadim Pruzhanov climbed his way up to the balcony to rock his balls off as well as ours.
When it was over I was pretty stunned, not only at the technical prowess of the band but at how much fun their set was. I was kind of worried it would be all tech and no Wow Factor, but I couldn’t have ben more wrong. DRAGONFORCE is an absolute must-see live, so I encourage you to do so. And now I’ll let Inquisitor tell you all about KAMELOT and take us home…
After the explosively entertaining DRAGONFORCE, I wasn’t sure what to expect from KAMELOT. Put shortly, was taken aback in the best way by their performance. For whatever reason, I was expecting the band to stiffly remain in one spot and take themselves very seriously – at least more seriously than DRAGONFORCE did.
Alas, quite to my surprise, every member of the band was as animated as one would expect, and there was a similar light-hearted air that kept everyone interesting to watch.
Before the show, there was one name I kept hearing from all the fans outside the venue. You know the one I’m talking about. I sensed some trepidation from the fans who loved the material and weren’t sure if “the new guy” was up to the task. Well, Tommy Karevik must be employed at the Swedish postal service, because he delivered above and beyond what anyone could have expected. As someone who got into the band through their previous release Silverthorn, I had a healthy respect for the man already, but he dominated the stage that night in a way that reminded me of seeing Matt Barlow or Joakim from SABATON.
Blasting off with fan favorite “When The Lights Go Down”, KAMELOT immediately had the entire crowd’s full attention, only stopping to introduce themselves before third song “The Great Pandemonium”. Every member of the band distinguished themselves in some way during the night, whether it was the showmanship and short, tasteful solo of bass player Sean Tibbetts, or the longer-form solos taken by keyboardist Oliver Palotai and drummer Casey Grillo. Guest vocalist Linnéa Vikström was almost invisible in the background due to the bright light display, but made herself heard during the appropriate female vocal parts that KAMELOT is well known for, stepping forward to center stage for “Veritas” and the encore as well.
Tommy pulled his signature “invisible volume knob” routine before “Torn”, amping up a crowd that was already impressively loud and engaged throughout the entirety of the show. There was even a quite healthy pit going on for several of the songs. Newer songs from the catalog fit in perfectly with the old material, even though Tommy at one point asked us to sing along to a song from the new album Haven which to my knowledge had not been released or played before, although I still saw people going with it as though they knew the words.
Being familiar with less than half of KAMELOT’s total studio output at the time, I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much, but between the crowd’s obvious familiarity with the songs, the exceptional sound that night, and the theatrical nature of the music perfectly lending itself to the live show, it was nearly a perfect concert experience.
LIVE REVIEW: THE MAESTRO/INQUISITOR OF DAGON
LIVE PHOTOS: KYRA HOWELL PHOTOGRAPHY