Tom Dare is an unashamed power metal fan. Which is why he pretty much creamed himself when Kamelot stopped over in London for the sole UK date of their 2010 European tour.
Kamelot are one of those bands frequently clumped in with those acts sometimes referred to as “Euro metal”- probably they’re on SPV (for now), they’ve got a vocally gymnastic singer and they use keyboards. The large crowd queuing to get into Koko tonight have clearly not heard that Euro metal is unfashionable, and good on them- what’s more metal than bucking the trend, after all?
Opening act, Adagio, pleasantly fail to live up to their namesake, and instead play at great speed and with zest. These Frenchmen’s brand of symphonic prog metal fits nicely with Kamelot’s own style, and the band do well enough in front of a crowd that largely appear to have never heard of them. They seem to make some friends in spite of this, and have more horns being thrown by the end of the set than at the start.
Leaves’ Eyes are slightly out of keeping with the mood tonight, being darker and incorporating extreme vocals into their sound. The music underpinning the vocals is good enough, if a touch generic, not too many of the men in the crowd were paying much attention – largely because of lead vocalist Liv Krull. Her voice is genuinely excellent, carrying easily over the volume of everything going on behind her, displaying power and beauty in equal measure. Of course, the fact that having something exceptionally nice to look at on stage – something of a novelty at a metal gig, after all – means practically every eye in the room is on her.
The fear with a band like Kamelot is whether all the musical components will come across in a live setting. The symphonic aspects and operatic vocals would be easy to drown out with the double bass drum kicks and rapid guitar attack. Thankfully, the sound technicians earn their wages tonight in a big way – the sound is tip-top. The drums are strong without being overwhelming, the keyboards shine, the guitar work all comes across as it brilliantly as it is played – and then there is Roy Khan.
Watch the first part of Kamelot’s 2010 tour v-log:
Tonight Khan, Kamelot’s singer, is the consummate frontman. When he is on stage, your eyes simply do not leave him. He does not so much perform the songs as he plays a character, changing his performance to perfectly replicate the tone of the song, and you are riveted by his presence. His voice, which on record is excellent, is even better tonight – powerful and with great range of emotion, delivering every syllable and every note like it is all he lives for. When the instrumental passages and guitar solos take centre stage, Khan ghosts into the wings and allows his bandmates the limelight- and it is only then that you notice how energetic and engaging they themselves are. You will rarely see a band so clearly loving what they are doing as Kamelot, and it translates to the audience emphatically.
It can be difficult to gauge how a power metal band is being received – usually there is no moshing and little headbanging going on, but tonight there is no doubt whatsoever as to how much the crowd are enjoying it. It seems as if every person in every corner of Koko’s theatre-like hall knows every word to every song, and is singing it straight back at the band; the rapid and anthemic ‘Center Of The Universe’ is as rapturously received as the slow ballad ‘Wander’ which follows it.
Watch the trailer for Kamelot’s 2010 European tour:
The two new songs from their upcoming album (‘The Great Pandemonium’ and ‘Hunter’s Season’) sound highly promising and are well received. Even the interludes – the keyboard solo after ‘When The Lights Are Down’ and the brilliant, evocative belly dance before ‘Rule The World’, to name just two – are cheered uproariously. By the time the show comes to an end with the magnificent ‘March Of Mephisto’ the crowd suddenly realise the band has been on for nearly two hours, and that they could have kept going for two more without getting tired of what they were experiencing.
After the last song, Khan held up a banner someone in the crowd had thrown on the stage. It had the band’s name on it and a quote from the title track of their last album, Ghost Opera. It read “Let The Music Fill The Night”. And oh, it most certainly did.
Kamelot @ London Koko setlist:
The Great Pandemonium
The Human Stain
Center Of The Universe
The Pendulous Fall
When The Lights Are Down
Rule The World
Un Assassino Molto Silenzio
The Black Halo
March Of Mephisto