Live Photos and Gig Review Credit: Margarita Khartanovich (Photographer/Live Gig reporter
It’s been 3 years since Kamelot included Finland in their European tour. Last time they played exactly the same venue was in April 2010, with lead vocals performed by Roy Khan. Perhaps, it was for the better that they ignored Finland that time – Kamelot was coming through a sort of transition phase during those years. They had to choose a replacement for Roy Khan, which is always not an easy matter, especially for a band with a successful music career of twenty years. Funny thing is that Kamelot founder and guitarist Thomas Youngblood hired another Scandinavian (if you remember, Roy is Norwegian) for this role – Tommy Karevik (who is Swedish). Finland approves! Plus, Tommy is 10 years younger than Roy, which also plays in favour of the band and stands for Thomas’s way-shaping surname “Youngblood”.
Behind the choice of the support bands for Silverthorn Over Europe 2013 there is also a story. Finland is a part of it again! By an odd coincidence Nightwish, the band that Kamelot joined on their Northern American tour in 2012, experienced trouble with the lead singer too and had to borrow Kamelot’s guest-vocalists Elize Ryd and Alissa White-Gluz to perform on stage. After some time ReVamp’s Floor Jansen became a new frontwoman of Nightwish. And guess who joined Kamelot on the current tour – ReVamp (Holland)! Tommy and Floor even sing a few Kamelot’s songs together at the end of the show, which is one of the tour’s highlights, no doubt.
I don’t fully understand the choice of another support band – Tellus Requiem (Norway). From the first to the last notes, the band tried its hardest to impress the metalheads in Pakkahuone Hall but the Finns remained pretty much incredulous and quiet, being enlivened only when Ben Rodgers (vocals) shouted “Are you ready for Kamelot tonight?” Well, they had only half an hour, and they are a young band that started in a tiny country in 2007, some might remark. But gosh, they were so boring! It was not that they didn’t play well: they followed all the rules of power metal as a genre. The lead guitar was great, and the vocals – quite talented. And they’ve got the happiest drummer in the world!
As for the bass player, Ivar “The Beast” Hagen Bøe, he is a good musician but not much of a team player. He fell into a trance after and during each headbanging and didn’t notice when Stig Nergård (guitar) came up to him to throw a bit of a show and left ignored and embarrassed. The keyboards seemed a bit clumsy too, although Anders Berg Sundbø compensated it with his long hair, impressive headbanging and growling. “Let me hear you, Tampere!” was Ben’s other attempt to cheer the audience up. Literally two people only responded with loud shouts. This whole situation reminded me of a school band that practices a lot to perform in front of the classmates but that lacks experience, stage confidence, band integrity, and the vision of themselves on their musical path. The crowd feels it immediately – it can’t adore and worship out of pity. It’s like a wolf or a bear – you should show your superiority. You should lead and excite it, entertain it to its heart’s content, to its full orgasmic satisfaction. Otherwise, it will tear you to pieces.
The ReVamp band are definitely skillful and experienced entertainers, with Floor Jansen having a charisma big enough for a couple of bands. Even though she has such a huge responsibility as a lead singer in legendary Nightwish, she doesn’t want to give up on ReVamp. There was a bunch of ReVamp fans wearing the band’s merch in Pakkahuone, which is a very good sign for a support band performing for 45 min only. “Thank you for supporting us so much. It’s wonderful to be here. No reason to explain why”, Floor addressed to the crowd. ReVamp was met with a truly warm reception; the Finns seemed to know the band (at least its frontwoman) and appreciate its music. Floor greeted them in Finnish and added that she had started to learn the language. She said she wanted to turn to the Finnish government with a request of making the Finnish language easier. The audience cheered to the echo.
“Wild Card” is the new album that ReVamp is promoting in this tour. The banner on the background depicts an evil looking woman holding a torn-out bleeding heart in her hand. Sounds normal enough for a metal band. The surprising part was the sound of the band: powerful, integral and at the same time very diverse. Ruben Wijga (keyboard) experiments with mixing genres, and if you are attentive, you can hear a number of unexpected indie music invasions. And Floor, she is absolutely remarkable. She feels at ease on stage, making both the band members and the audience feel comfortable too – they all are her friends. Floor’s voice is like an orchestra in itself, with such a wide range: from classic rock to soft jazz, from opera to growling. She knows how to entertain and excite the Finns. She leaves the stage (to be back there again in an hour) with the words: “It was fucking awesome! Have a great night with Kamelot!” The crowd cheers to the echo again – in half an hour Kamelot will start the show.
Already on my way to the venue I noticed huge tour buses parked next to the building and thought: “Wow, this is going to be big!” And it was. Kamelot has brought its own lighting equipment, banners and curtains (will tell you later), music instruments (keep in mind, there were three bands!), stage machinery and merch stands. It has been truly stated that when a band is rich, they either want a symphonic orchestra to play with them on tours or they go crazy about the show gimmicks – all sorts of lights, moving stage objects, special effects, etc. Kamelot is the case of the latter, which is great – the orchestra just wouldn’t fit in Pakkahuone. As a side note, the venue’s capacity is 1 500 people, and it was not sold out. Maybe it’s a Finnish thing – it’s the land of metal music, and it’s fucking everywhere. The Finns simply don’t cope with guaranteeing each metal show a sold out. My other theory is that Kamelot is not heavy enough for them. “Happy metal” (as some journalists call Kamelot’s style) is for happy Finnish headbangers, who are a drop in the sea of gloom.
Let’s move onto the show finally. If I start from the very beginning, then I should tell you about the curtain, a white transparent curtain closing the stage and bothering all the photographers milling about it. How on earth to take pictures with that something hanging in front of the musicians? Then we heard the intro playing, and the curtain got illuminated with hundreds of colourful flecks – that was a light show. The curtain fell, and the musicians rushed onto the stage to the song “Torn”. All relieved, the photographers ran to the stage too. And there was another obstacle – the additional stage platform with a smaller platform on top of it. “Not my day” – could be read in the eyes of a middle-aged guy with a camera squeezing between the “goddammit platform” and the fans’ stretched out arms. Basically, the stage extensions were for the band members to add the feel of a grand dynamic event going on. Thomas Youngblood, Sean Tibbetts and Tommy Karevik were always on the move during those one-hour and a half.
The background banner was exactly the new album cover: a beautiful nineteenth-century haunted girl surrounded by black ravens. “Can I hear you?” “Sing with me!” “Are you still out there?” were the phrases Tommy addressed to the audience with. After a few Kamelot’s classics (Ghost Opera, The Great Pandemonium, Soul Society), he presented a song from a new album called “Song for Jolee”: “It’s time to slow down to a song with a tragic story behind it.” The fans put their lighters and mobile phones up in the air. Blue snowflake-shaped lights started running along the venue’s ceiling. So, what’s the story? As you know, the album Silverthorn has a lyrical concept. In one of the interviews, Thomas explained: “It’s the story of a young girl who dies in the arms of her two twin brothers, taking the three siblings’ big secret to her grave. The songs on Silverthorn talk about despair, a sense of guilt and the pursuit of truth”.
The show continued with an impressive drum solo performed by Casey “The Animal” Grillo as Tommy introduced him. Lit with white light on the background of bright yellow rays, Casey demonstrated his music mastership with an element of mysticism – his shadow was reflected on the walls of the old warehouse a.k.a. Pakkahuone Hall. He enjoyed a massive support from the audience. Tommy connected with the crowd brilliantly too. “You, girls and guys, are fucking loud”, he shouted after Casey’s solo and added: “I have a magical invisible volume-up. I will count to three in Finnish. And you will have to make noise, louder with each count. Are you ready?” The audience appreciated the game and screamed at the top of their lungs, especially “the beer section” (the venue was divided in two zones, alcohol-free and not). After a few more songs and a keyboard solo by Oliver Palotai, Kamelot played “Forever” and left the stage. It was time for encore.
Sean Tibbetts opened the encore part of the show with his masterful bass solo. These few minutes when a musician finds himself alone with the audience are a great reminder that it is all about music! It’s not the lights or moving platforms. Yes, the crowd will always want bread and entertainment. But music is not a mere entertainment – you can appreciate it, taste it. And those solos, they are the real taste of Kamelot. Then there was the highlight of the evening – The Haunting (Somewhere in Time) featuring Floor Jansen. That was fantastic! And the show ended when Tommy jumped on top of the platform (that was on top of that “goddammit platform”) and got lifted up with an army flag unveiling at the same time, all to the closing song – March of Mephisto.
The last thing to add would be that Tommy Karevik, who is still a full-time firefighter in Sweden by the way, is the right frontman for Kamelot. He contributes to the band not only with his soft vocals with a wide range and variety but also with his energy, charm, and a great ability to stay natural and confident during the show though manipulating the audience very skillfully. Perhaps, that’s what any “long-running” band needs – young blood. Isn’t it true, Thomas Youngblood?
2. Ghost Opera
3. The Great Pandemonium
5. Soul Society
6. Song for Jolee
7. Drum Solo
8. When the Lights are Down
9. Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)
10. Rule the World
11. Eden Echo
12. My Confession
13. Keyboard Solo
15. Bass Solo
17. The Haunting (Somewhere in Time) – with Floor Jansen
18. March of Mephisto
Red – solos; Green – Sliverthorn Album
1. The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown: On the Sideline
2. The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown: The Limbic System
3. Head Up High
4. Wild Card
5. Kill Me with Silence
6. Sweet Curse
8. Distorted Lullabies
9. In Sickness ‘Till Death Do Us Part: Disdain
10. The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown: Neurasthenia
11. In Sickness ‘Till Death Do Us Part: Disgraced
12. Wolf and Dog
Symphonic metal band Kamelot have started their European tour which features support from Revamp which is led by currently announced permanent Nightwish singer Floor Jansen.
Kamelot’s founder and guitarist Thomas Youngblood states “I first met ReVamp singer Floor Jansen while we were touring the states in late 2012 (with Nightwish). We kept in touch and discussed the idea of ReVamp touring Europe with us. We are stoked to have them on board and this lineup is sure to make Symphonic Metal Fans very happy, get ready for some amazing nights!”. Kamelot is touring in support of their latest chartbusting album Silverthorn, and have been all over the globe during the last 2 years. ReVamp has released their second album »Wild Card« on August 23 via Nuclear Blast. ReVamp singer Floor Jansen adds “ReVamp is very exited to tour with Kamelot in Europe. The combination of the music both bands bring will be fantastic and will surely enchant! We can’t wait for November!!!
KAMELOT SILVERTHORN OVER EUROPE 2013 TOUR
Special Guests ReVamp
03. Nov GER -Cologne, Essigfabrik
06. Nov FIN -Tampere, Pakkahuone
07. Nov FIN -Helsinki, Nosturi
08. Nov SWE -Stockholm, Klubben
09. Nov NOR -Oslo, Rockefeller Music Hall
11. Nov GER -Hamburg, Knust
12. Nov GER -Bochum, Matrix
13. Nov BEL -Genk, Rondpunt 26
15. Nov NED -Tilburg, O13
16. Nov CHE -Lausanne, Les Docks
17. Nov CHE -Pratteln, Z7 Konzertfabrik
18. Nov GER -Frankfurt, Batschkapp
19. Nov GER -Munich, Backstage Halle
21. Nov ITA -Trieste, Teatro Miela
22. Nov SVK -Bratislava, Majestic Music Club
23. Nov CZE -Zlín, Winter Masters of Rock