May 12, 2015 Kamelot & Dragonforce captivate sold out NYC crowd 4-29-15
Power Metal juggernauts united when Tampa, Florida’s Kamelot and England’s Dragonforce announced back in September 2014 they would be teaming up for a Spring 2015 North American Tour. Beginning their twenty-seven date journey on April 28th in Philadelphia, PA, after opening night in Baltimore, MD was re-scheduled due to turmoil in the city, the two bands found themselves in New York City on Wednesday, April 29th, for the second official show of the tour. With Dragonforce supporting their latest album, Maximum Overload (2014), and Kamelot with their recently released Haven, thirsty metalheads could only dream of such a pairing as they quickly sold out Webster Hall’s Marlin Room. With the weather finally breaking into Spring on the East Coast, a line built up outside the hall as everyone was eager to partake in the wizardry of this stellar double dose.
Up first to the platform were the highly respected Metal veterans, Dragonforce. Formed in 1999 in London, England, Dragonforce have released six studio albums, including the aforementioned latest, Maximum Overload, via Metal Blade Records. No strangers to Metal, they have been featured in video games such as, Brutal Legend and Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, and nominated for a Grammy in years past. Settling in with vocalist Marc Hudson since 2011, Dragonforce is completed by Herman Li (guitar/backing vocals) and Sam Totman (guitar/backing vocals), Frédéric Leclercq (bass/ backing vocals), Vadim Pruzhanov (keyboards, and latest member Gee Anzalone (drums), who joined up shortly after their last recording based on recommendation by the former, Dave Mackintosh. Bringing along their own strong following, this would kick off Dragonforce’s world tour. When asked about the decision to begin in North America, Lin stated, “It’s always a problem where to start a World Tour, and as we started the last touring cycle in North America, we started this one in the UK, but then there was another factor, we wanted to go out touring in North America with a superb band, so when the call came from Kamelot for us to join them on their tour we didn’t hesitate! This will be a fantastic tour and a fantastic evening for the fans.” Judging by the hum of excitement coming from the room filled with fans sporting Dragonforce and Kamelot t-shirts, many would agree.
Kicking it off with their trademark rapid guitar solos from the classic “Fury of the Storm” off of their second studio album, Sonic Firestorm (2004), the crowd was immediately fired up. Hudson’s voice radiated across the room while the rest of the band were seizing the moment with deviant smiles as they performed. The immense energy soared throughout, leaving off with an eighties and Helloween remnance. Hudson’s professionalism and dedication was shown introducing each song before they played. Li and Totman’s unison guitar shredding captivated the crowd, especially during “Operation Ground and Pound” off of their third studio album, Inhuman Rampage (2006). Pruzhanov even picked up the Keytar during “Valley of the Damned” from their 2003 debut studio album of the same name.
With a heavy hand in Maximum Overload, the band played on with such tracks as “Three Hammers,” “The Game,” and their personal favorite, “Symphony of the Night.” It was an unforgettable evening, especially with their energy and unified jumping choreography. One of their biggest surprises was hearing the Merle Kilgore cover, the track most famously known by Johnny Cash, “Ring of Fire.” Playing for nearly an hour straight, the fans were left feeling nothing but pure satisfaction as they closed out with their most famous track, “Through the Fire and Flames,” from Inhuman Rampage. Both Li and Hudson walked through the crowd and stood by the bar, pumping out every last bit of energy that they had. It was a remarkable and intimate closing to a night Dragonforce fans will never forget. Dragonforce will be releasing a new live DVD this July. Hopefully all can look forward to picking this up, but in the meantime, they can catch the band in living color while on tour.
After a short wait, the house lights ceased, and fans rushed as close as possible to the stage to see Kamelot. Founded in 1992, this Symphonic Power Metal band has become an influential musical sensation over the course of their journey, in large part due to the hard work and dedication of founding guitarist Thomas Youngblood. Over the course of eleven studio albums, Youngblood has pushed the band’s dark, creative envelope and led the group to the top of Metal charts, despite the ever changing lineup. Bringing back original bassist Sean Tibbetts, since 2009, after a seventeen year departure, Kamelot is balanced with drummer Casey Grillo, keyboardist Oliver Palota, and Sweden’s Tommy Karevik on lead vocals. Marking their first visit to New York City since their last headlining show in September of 2013, they came armed with a brand spanking new album to unleash on their followers.
Opening the night with “When the Lights are Down” from their acclaimed seventh studio album, The Black Halo, Tibbetts embraced the crowd while throwing his long, blond dreadlocks around as he owned the bass. Newest member, Karevik, who has been with Kamelot since 2012, conquered the mic as his pristine vocals were flawless. Although Karevik has only been with the band for two albums, he has fit in perfectly. Metalheads cheered during “The Great Pandemonium” from Poetry for the Poisoned (2010). Karevik was so grateful that at one point he announced to the audience how much he loves them and he would perform live for his fans every night if he could.
Moving along in the set, Kamelot introduced “Veil of Elysium” as its live premiere. The instrumentation began heavy, strong, and left a great opening for Karevik’s theatrical vocals. “My Confession,” from Silverthorn (2012), flew in shortly after before their Power and Symphonic Metal components glistened during “Center of the Universe.” The mix between Palotai’s electronic melodies and Youngblood’s guitar riffs resonated through the room. The pace slowed down as fans waved their cell phones in the air during the emotionally driven track of “Song for Jolee.” “Karma” picked up the pace as the crowd continued to bang their heads, thereafter, Grillo plowed away with a sublime five minute drum solo. Another surprise, fans were given the premiere of “Revolution” as it fired in with a vengeance. The fierce pace carried on with “Torn” and, finally, the premiere of “Insomnia.”
When “Veritas” began, it was a glorified moment showcasing Grillo, Tibbetts, and special guest Linnéa Vikström on backing vocals who moved to the front of the stage. Vikström is an unofficial member of the Symphonic Metal band Therion, and daughter of the band’s lead vocalist, Thomas Vikström. It was after Palotai’s keyboard solo when the remarkable track “Forever” followed, captivating the crowd to the point that Youngblood grabbed a fan’s cellphone to shoot the audience just before his solo. With fans singing along, every single person in the room, including Kamelot, were completely enthralled in the music.
The night still felt young for Kamelot fans as they chanted for the band to reappear on stage. A brisk moment later, Kamelot returned for their encore, commencing with “Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife).” Karevik and Vikström took the spotlight during their duet. From The Black Halo (2005), Kamelot charged through the infamous “March of Mephisto,” ending in pure satisfaction for fans.
Overall, Kamelot took their headlining spot at Webster Hall and made it a show their longtime fans will never forget. Touching on a variety areas in their discography, the band left no stone unturned. After their final North American performance in Orlando, Florida at the House of Blues on May 23rd, they will be heading over to Europe to tour throughout the Summer and Fall.