It’s the week before St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin and while the last vestiges of winter cling to shackles of the city centre streets the crowd gathered around the corner of the Button Factory seems impervious to the biting cold. Tonight sees the return of the Americo-pean power metal act Kamelot. It’s been 6 years since their last show on Irish shores and with new singer Tommy Karevik now at the helm, the Irish faithful are ready to embrace once again their symphonic manifestations.
Opening the evening is (almost) local act Stormzone. Stalwarts of the Irish scene for many a year, their classic heavy metal is always warmly received on both sides of the border. They are a band that live to be on stage. As well as being solid musicians, each one of the lads is a consummate showman that interacts and encourages those watching to be part of the experience. Frontman Harv always comes across as a larger than life figure and his vocal deliver is never questioned. He mentions that playing a headline show would mean a longer set. Maybe there are plans afoot? Included towards the end of their 30 minute slot is ‘The Pass Loning’ which is the one of the strongest songs they have ever written. Their performance this evening is generously welcomed by the growing audience.
Kamelot‘s Silverthorn tour has rolled into Dublin and that’s very clear from the monstrous backdrop that adorns the wall behind. As the intro rolls over the crowd, the band appear from darkness and open the show with ‘Sacrimony’. Original Bassist Sean Tibbetts is like a man possessed from the off as he covers every inch of the stage. It’s like he is challenging all boundaries between himself and the crowd as his plaited hair whips the front row faces. Karevik is a complete contrast at the start, almost panther-like as he nestles atop the up-lit riser front and centre, which becomes his pulpit for the evening. It’s a roaring start that pounds into ‘Ghost Opera’ and leaves many with no illusion that the ghost of Khan has well and truly been laid to rest. Karevik is akin to the lead character in a horror movie. Swathed in red light he assumes the persona of the song and effortlessly delivers an immaculate vocal. There are minor sound issues with the microphone and from time to time his voice gets lost in the mix. Thankfully, moments like this are few and far between. Linnéa Vikström, the backing singer and co-vocalist is striking and intense. She shines on every opportunity afforded her especially on ‘Sacrimony’ with a soaring soprano piece followed by a deliciously harsh and scouring rough vocal.
Kamelot is a powerful live band on all fronts. Whether it’s Thomas Youngblood tearing a solo from the fretboard, Casey Grillo pummelling the backbeat or Oliver Palotai orchestrating the symphony on keyboards, as a unit they are tighter than a panzer battalion setting off for conflict. The respite for the evening is given during ‘Song For Jolee’. Karevik seats himself on his riser and serenades the audience with one of the highlights of the show. Momentum is given a good old kick in the arse with the almighty ‘Rule The World’ and for the rest of the evening (drum solo aside) Kamelot are relentless. The singer’s interaction with the fans is second to none. Everyone in front of him is sung to like they are the only person in the room. It’s a quality only the best frontmen have and his eloquence and charm endears him closer to the hearts of the fans. From the reaction tonight, ‘Falling Like Fahrenheit’ is destined to be in their setlist for many years to come. Karevik’s “Magic Volume Knob” is turned to three with some fun audience participation which while a bit cheesy, is good fun and works to wind the crowd up a little more before the final numbers. Closing with ‘My Confession’ and a blistering ‘March Of Mephisto’, Kamelot’s return to Dublin is nothing short of sensational and at the death they promise not to leave it so long again.
I’ll close my review with this small observation, a snapshot of the evening. At one point during ‘Karma’ Karevik approaches the edge of the stage, reaches out and holds the hand of a young fan in the front row. She sings the words fervoursly back to him and after he releases her he returns to the centre. What he doesn’t see is the sheer joy that remains with this girl as tears stream down her face. When music has the power to reach that deep into the emotions it is such a powerful part of our lives. Kamelot, Dublin thanks you.
With new album Haven on the horizon, 2015 will see Kamelot go from strength to strength.
Kudos also to DME Promotions for continuing to make special evenings like this a reality for the Irish metal community.
Center of the Universe
Song for Jolee
Rule The World
Falling Like Fahrenheit
Lights Go Down
March Of Mephisto
All photos by Down The Barrel Photography[flickrapi user=”planet mosh” get=”photoset” id=”72157650915006389″ size=”z” count=”100″]