The first band of the night was Blackguard, a melodic death metal band who take to the stage in front of a very small audience due to their early stage time coming on shortly after the doors opened. They’re an odd choice of band for this bill and despite their best efforts just feel out of place and struggle to really win the crowd over. It’s not through lavck of trying though – the band put in a very good and energetic performance – drummer Justine Ethier is just as animated as the other band members (possibly even more so) and with her almost exaggerated arm movements as she plays she does remind me of Animal from the muppet show – a great energetic drummer. I enjoyed their set but think that on a dfferent bill they’d have got a much better reception.
Next up were Norwegian band Triosphere, a band I last saw at the Metal Female Voices Festival in Belgium a year ago. Vocal duties are handled by Ida Haukland who also plays the bass. Her vocal style is traditional heavy rock/metal rather than for example a more classical style as favoured by Xandria singer Manuella Kraller. Triosphere have a bigger crowd than Blackguard but its becoming clear that tonight’s gig is far from sold out – probably down to the huge number of top quality shows on in London that week meaning fans had difficult choices over which to attend. The band put in an excellent performance – I thoroughly enjoyed them and hope we see them back in the UK before too long.
Next came Xandria. They’d come close to overshadowing the headliner’s performances at MFVF just a fortnight before this gig with their stunning performance, so I was really looking forward to seeing them again, and they didn’t disappoint. The sound tonight wasn’t particularly good which took the edge off their set but thankfully it wasn’t bad enough to spoil things. Manuella is a great frontwoman – she’s got one hell of a good voice but more importantly is highly skilled at getting the crowd involved, singing or clapping along, and that really makes the atmosphere so much better at a gig. Their set tonight is made up entirely of songs from their latest album (Neverworlds end), and they go down extremely well – they’ve clearly made some new fans tonight.
Tonight’s headliner is Kamelot, playing the UK for the first time with their new singer Tommy Karevik. Sadly tonight’s show is their only UK show on the current tour, but we can hope they come back for a proper UK tour soon.
New singer Tommy Karevik sounds great and is also very good as a frontman, getting the crowd involved with ease. The whole band are on form tonight and put in an excellent performance.
Kamelot’s backing singer once again in this tour is Elize Ryd, better known as the female singer from Amaranthe. Tonight she performs mainly backing vocals but does join Tommy Karevik to share the lead vocal duties on a couple of songs, venturing to the front of the stage as she duets with him. In “The great Pandemonium” she joins Tommy at the front of the stage dressed in a white cape looking like a snow queen. Again for “Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)” Elize comes to the front to sing.
When a setlist contains a keyboard solo, a drum solo and a bass solo your heart usually sinks – solo’s are rarely the most exciting part of a set, but I was pleasantly surprised – the bass and drum solos were kept to a sensible length and worked very well, and the keyboard solo was excellent.
Blood On My Hands
The Dream Is Still Alive
The Lost Elysion
Rule the World
The Great Pandemonium
Center of the Universe
The Human Stain
Song for Jolee
When the Lights are Down
Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)
March of Mephisto
To see more photos of the gig, try these links…