Kamelot at the Button Factory – Review & Photos
It’s been 6 long years since Kamelot last performed in Dublin, and in that time, they have recruited a new vocalist and released two (soon-to-be three) new albums. A sizeable crowd, many sporting brand new band merchandise, have congregated in the Button Factory to experience their symphonic power metal in the flesh. The giant backdrop bearing artwork from their 2012 release Silverthorn hangs behind a rather large keyboard and an elaborate drum kit also featuring gothic styled artwork on the twin bass drums.
The show starts with an extended recorded intro, as band members slowly take their places onstage one by one; Keyboardist Oliver Palotai is first out, followed closely by bassist and founding member Sean Tibbetts. Drummer Casey Grillo takes his throne before guitarist Thomas Youngblood leads “New blood” singer Tommy Karevik to his centre-stage podium. Proceedings begin proper with ‘Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)’ from the last album, prompting hoots and hollers from the audience. A predominantly red glow illuminates the stage, highlighted with dazzling spotlights and strobes, making the strictly enforced ban on camera flashes and mobile phone lights surprising.
Dressed neatly all in black, Kamelot are remarkably well-preened compared to most metal bands, and Swedish-born Karevik is particularly clean-cut and fresh-faced even compared to his slightly senior bandmates. From the start he gets the lion’s share of attention from the front-row female fans, and he is more than happy to reciprocate, regularly reaching out to touch their hands and make individual eye contact.
Kamelot’s penchant for pretty girls extends from their album art and backdrop to the leather-clad blonde providing backup vocals tonight. She features prominently in many of their tracks, dueting with Karevik on tracks such as ‘Sacrimony’ and ‘Veritas’ and her range of soft melodies to guttural growls is an ear-opener. The introduction of the Kamelot classic ‘Centre of the Universe’ from the 2003 album Epica is met with cheers and applause from the crowd, but despite attempts to encourage them to sing along, participation is poor.
Bassist Tibbetts is particularly active and energetic, whipping his lengthy braids around and interacting with the fans from the edge of the stage. He and guitarist Youngblood trade places and fool around throughout the show, and all members of the band appear to be thoroughly enjoying their performance and the reactions from the crowd. The choice of setlist is mostly up-tempo, except for ‘Song for Jolee’ when Karevik announces that they are “gonna slow it down a bit”, and delivers his heart-felt dramatic lyrics, sat on the edge of the podium, serenading the girls before him. The tempo picks up again immediately with ‘Rule the World’ from their 2007 release Ghost Opera, followed by a drum solo which is long enough to entertain but not to over-stay its welcome.
The setlist features mostly tracks from Silverthorn and Ghost Opera, but disappointingly lacks any sneak live previews of their forthcoming eleventh studio album Haven, which is due for European release on May 8th 2015. After a quick “goodnight” and a brief break backstage, Tibbetts returns alone to the front of the stage to “conduct” the cheers of the crowd, building the excitement before the band return for an explosive encore of ‘My Confession’ and ‘March of Mephisto’. Kamelot prove that they are a band that can deliver a solid live performance that is sure to entertain all; even those unfamiliar with their studio albums, and many would say that the energy and atmosphere of the live setting improves on their already highly stylised sound. “I think we have to come back to Dublin” declares Karevik; and we think so too.
Photos by Olga Kuzmenko