Saturday June 2nd bore witness to American/German/Swedish symphonic metal band Kamelot’s first show ever in Taiwan. Their date in Taipei was the last stop for the ‘Thorns over Asia’ leg of their album release tour ‘Silverthorn World Tour 2013’. The gig was scheduled to take place at the Y17 (Taipei Youth Activity Center) with two supporting acts comprising local power-symphonic metal bands Minstrel and Nocturne Moonrise.
The venue for the date was the 10th floor of the Y17 building, a place that might seem to be an unusual choice for a metal show, but that nevertheless has already hosted bands of the caliber of Epica and Cradle of Filth. The place was suitable in terms of size and feel, and the number of attendees also aided in creating a sense of closeness to the bands.
Minstrel was in charge of opening the night. This Taipei band was formed in 2011 and released their first album Departure for Daydream Orbit this year. They put on a thunderous show with good hints of J-Power Metal influence. Their lyrics are in both English and Chinese, and their flowery stage outfits do vary from the usually black dominated wardrobe and the all dark imagery of metal.
Nocturne Moonrise’s turn marked the final prelude to the headlining act. Their music is a blend of symphonic-melodic-power metal, and in contrast to the first band, they presented a more European Metal influence with a touch of J-Power Metal flavour. Their choruses were very catchy and Mei Ying provided perfect vocal accompaniment. Their set was an ideal transition from the opening acts and the headliners.
Due to technical issues, the event was delayed thus shortening the supporting bands’ sets to roughly 20 minutes each. Nevertheless, both bands still managed to provide a good warm up. They complemented the headlining act while still putting their own signature on their respective performances.
Kamelot opened their show with ‘Rule The World’, a preamble that clearly stated their purpose for that night, and which they did.
To begin with, I was really worried that they will focus on their newest album Silverthorn while relegating the old material to mere memories of a past era. However, they did not. Their set was quite balanced, covering a mix of their material from Karma onwards.
Next, as a Kamelot fan I originally shared the same concerns as many other fans regarding new singer Tommy Karevik’s ability to take on the role and fill Khan’s place. On this matter I concur with the general favorable commentary from the fanbase so far. He performed Kamelot’s classic material quite perfectly and he clearly set himself apart as the new Kamelot vocalist.
In terms of stage presence, Kamelot definitely are charismatic performers. Karevik constantly interacted with the audience and encouraged singalongs. Guitarist Thomas Youngblood and bassist Sean Tibbetts were very dynamic, moving around, headbanging to their tunes (Tibbetts epic braids deserve their own show), and engaging with the people closest to the stage. Drummer Casey Grillo and keyboardist Oliver Palotai also got their share of the spotlight despite mobility constraints and wowed the crowd during their solo time. Then, halfway through the show, the band removed the A and B sectors divide and brought the audience closer to them at the front.
As many already know, Alissa White-Gluz from The Agonist is the guest female singer for this tour. While she remained on the sidelines for the most part of the show, she was the main focus during Jolee’s and the guttural parts. She had a dramatic presence and changed costumes a few times, which added to the production value of the performance.
In regard to the little details that I need to nitpick about, I felt that the main let down of the night was that they did not play ‘The Haunting’ especially because I was looking forward to seeing White-Gluz doing Margerite’s part in that song. Also, the band’s water breaks could have been a little more subtle, particularly Tommy’s who drifted to the sides many times in between solos.
‘March of Mephisto’ marked the end of the show. This song has an epic feel and it was a perfect conclusion for a night of amazing power-symphonic metal. I loved the fact that Alissa did both Margerite’s and Mephisto’s part, and could not ask for more after that. Thus Kamelot’s first ever show in Taiwan ended in high spirits, they bid us ‘Farewell’ and prepared to march to their next stop Down Under.