Support Acts: Gus G, Skarlett Riot.
Four years ago, Progressive/Symphonic Power Metallers Kamelot witnessed the departure from their ranks of Roy Khan – their charismatic and imposing frontman who, during his fourteen year tenure with the band, helped bring to life the best material this combo has to offer.
Finding and acquiring the services of Tommy Karevik, one of the few singers out there capable of filling Khan’s shoes, was nothing less than a divine gift for Kamelot and it is with this most capable of Swedes behind the mike that the band embarked upon a short UK stint – one that found them perform a short but excellent set at London’s O2 Islington Academy on the evening of the 14th of March.
Having interviewed Kamelot’s natural leader I missed Skarlett Riot so I made my way to the venue in time to see Gus G and his ‘hired guns’ storm the average sized stage of the O2 Islington Academy for what would undoubtedly have been a very impressive performance, had the sound reached the quality standards normally associated with this venue. Kicking off with “My Will Be Done”, the opening composition of his latest solo album, Gus proved quite early on in the band’s set why he was handpicked by Ozzy Osbourne as his latest guitarist.
Heavy riffs and flamboyant solos are provided in abundance during “Eyes Wide Open” and “Blame It On Me” while the decision to invite Kelly Sundown Carpenter on this tour enabled the Greek shredder to perform for us Firewind’s much loved “World On Fire”, “The Fire And The Fury”.
While the three and a half minute “Terrified” found the six string wizard performing at maximum speed, the follow-up “Long Way Down” was a much mellower affair, performed with the assistance of Skarlett Riot’s frontwoman Chloe Drinkwater.
A dynamic rendition of “Redemption” brought power and passion back to the show while the groove-laden monster “I Am The Fire” provided Gus G with one last opportunity to flex his impressive muscles and stun us with his amazing skills.
Years of touring the UK have enabled Kamelot to establish a numerous and pretty loyal fan base this side of the pond, so it should not come at all as a surprise to anyone that tickets for tonight’s performance were sold out a long, long time ago.
It only took twenty five minutes for the road crew to prepare the stage for Thomas Youngblood and Co, during which time the crowd’s excitement and anticipation had reached boiling point – a situation defused trough the introduction of the dynamic dark opus “Sacrimony (Angel Of Afterlife)”.
Heavier in feel and with a sound worthy of its intensity, “When The Lights Are Down” found the perfectly choreographed quintet working every inch of the stage while the main rhythmical pattern of “The Great Pandemonium” enabled the crowd to move to the tunes of this great composition, much to the band’s delight.
Positioning himself on a slightly raised platform at the very front of the stage, Tommy Karevik proved that he really knows how to work an audience by gaining a great reaction from the packed venue during the performance of both “Veritas” and “Center Of The Universe”, while Gus G is invited on stage to perform with the band his amazing solos during the follow up “Hunter’s Season”.
“Song For Jolee” is a beautifully crafted emotional ballad that moved a certain part of the audience almost to tears, while the riff-laden “Rule The World” sounded much more dynamic in a live setting through audience participation.
With a strict ten o clock curfew looming, the decision to sacrifice a song for the purpose of a drum solo may be questionable, however, skinsman Casey Grillo makes a pretty decent job in keeping the crowd’s interest going while both “Ghost Opera” and “Torn” are performed with surgical precision by the band.
Following another short solo, this time by keyboardist Oliver Palotai, the band’s main set concluded with a stunning performance of the all time classic “Forever”. The band’s exit from the stage is very short and upon his return on stage, a clearly moved Thomas Youngblood stated openly and unequivocally that the show had been the band’s best ever performance in London – and I certainly would agree.
Festivities continued with the live premiere of “Veil Of Elysium”, a stunning composition from the band’s upcoming album “Haven” and the show concluded in glorious fashion with a killer rendition of “March Of Mephisto”.
Even though I was certainly pleased to have witnessed a Kamelot performance in such an intimate environment, I believe that the choice of the O2 Islington Academy for the purposes of this show was far from wise.
Twenty four years and eleven (counting “Haven”) studio albums since their inception, Kamelot have performed in some of the most prestigious venues across the globe so, when they return to London for the purposes of promoting their latest opus later this year, one can only hope that it will be either the Koko or the Forum that will be their venue.
As far as the O2 Islington Academy performance, this was a short but absolutely delightful set performed by one of the most professional, passionate and unique sounding bands the Symphonic/Power Metal scene has to offer.
Not at all bad for Saturday night entertainment…
Review and photos by Yiannis (John) Stefanis
Gus G Set List:
- “My Will Be Done”
- “Eyes Wide Open”
- “Blame It On Me”
- “Summer Days”
- “World On Fire (Firewind song)”
- “The Fire And The Fury (Firewind song)”
- “Long Way Down” (feat. Chloe Drinkwater)
- “I Am The Fire”
Kamelot Set List:
- “Sacrimony (Angel Of Afterlife)”
- “When The Lights Are Down”
- “The Great Pandemonium”
- “Center Of The Universe”
- “Hunter’s Season (feat. Gus G)”
- “Song For Jolee”
- “Rule The World”
- “Drum Solo”
- “Ghost Opera”
- “Keyboard Solo”
- “The Human Stain”
- “Veil Of Elysium”
- “March Of Mephisto”
In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)
Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)
THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)
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