Kamelot are on their biggest ever world tour, and I caught them on their European leg, after already hitting North America by storm. Kamelot were supported by Cellar Darling, who are a great example of incredible folk metal, fronted by Anna Murphy, from one of my favourite folk metal bands, Eluveitie. Although Kamelot have been around since 1991, they have won over a new generation of fans across the globe, with their dark and mystical theatrics. Combined with their innovative mixed of genres, taking inspiration from across the rock and metal sub-genres. Including; prog. rock, melodic power metal, symphonic and doom Metal. Their 2015 album “Haven” already won them #1 on the Billboard Music Charts. But, their new album, “The Shadow Theory”, is pushing even more boundaries not only in terms of musical content but also in terms of symbolism, psychology and emotions.
The blue lighting added to the mystical feel and seemed fitting, since we were in the Electric Ballroom. Then the lights went down as the band entered the stage and excited cheers echoed about the crowd. A single white beam hits each musician as Cellar Darling started to play. They started a slow beat, heads down, and then Anna entered the stage. Her beautiful folk and fantasy singing both contrasted and complimented the heavy metal drums and bass.
They used a different colour scheme for the lighting for each song, to fit the tone. After the first couple of songs, Anna shouted out to the crowd; “Hello London! It’s good to be back! I won’t talk long, because I’m not very good at it. And, I prefer to sing and tell you stories. This one’s about ice and cold, which is fitting right now”! And she did tell many beautiful tales! The song started with a light tempering on the cymbal, building into a light ballad style. But entered into a heavier second half. Anna has a piercingly beautiful voice, as she dropped to her knees and sang and screamed to the depths of hell beneath. Her melodic and lyrical vocals impressively rang out above the pounding drums and electric guitars. Anna switched between singing and playing the Hurdy-gurdy and flute, which added an additional layer of mystical folksy twist.
The lights go out as the crowd claps the next song in. Anna stands with arms out stretched, basking for a moment in the adoration of her fans. “It’s an honour and a pleasure to play here! Come and say hello, we don’t bite, we’re Swiss”! Their last song was a truly heartfelt layered lyrical vocals on top of heavy crashing drums, and ending on an epic drum solo.
When I got to the stage I noticed a lot of big objects on stage covered in material. They weren’t removed during the warm-up act (as you may see in the background of some of the photos – made it tricky getting shots of the drummer!), so I was excited to see what Kamelot had in store for us. And I was not disappointed. The stage design was a dark and mysterious medieval and steampunk masterpiece, fitting their unique brand of music perfectly. Pride of place upon an additional mini stage was a Mad Max style drum kit, which I am still in awe of. I knew Kamelot liked their theatrics, but this was on another level! Combined with Kamelot’s crafted and theatrical entrance, they created an impressive and powerful opening. A couple of songs in, Tommy took center stage and shouted out: “I can tell this is going to be one fantastic night, and it’s only just beginning”! The lights in the smoke became melding hues of blues, purples and reds, into a concoction of psychedelic symphonies. When they announced they were shooting a live video for part of their DVD, the crowd erupted into screams and cheers of excitement. The anticipation and energy was feverish in the room. They got everyone clapping and singing along as they filmed. “Show your horns out there!”, they shouted.
Their set included songs from across their history, playing old classics such as “Karma”. They added in a few songs from their album “Haven”, such as “End of Innocence”, as they hadn’t played in London since it had been released. Finished off with a select few songs from their latest hard-hitting album “The Shadow Theory” such as “Ravenlight”, which was Tommy added was a really personal one to him. The lights went down, with a single spotlight on Tommy, the lead singer. “This song is dedicated to everyone tonight who has lost someone close, it can f***ing suck, but music can help”. They launched into the hauntingly beautiful ballad “Here’s to the Fall” from their award winning “Haven” album. Tommy sung with passion and conviction, you could really see the raw emotions behind it. His deep, dark and powerful vocals were layered with the keyboard.
The lights dimmed, a beam of light in the centre of stage highlights a cloaked woman on her knees praying. As the beat builds up she unveils herself and launches into melodic yet powerful vocals. Crushing both the lyrical vocals as well as the heavy metal roars. After each deafening, battle worthy roars she would swiftly head-bang, swirling her long hair in front.
As much as I love Tommy’s vocals, their instrumental pieces are also beautifully crafted. In one instrumental song, the stage went dark, and then a spotlight hit the drummer. He set a deep pounding beat, and everyone started to clap along. Then a second light hit Oliver on the keyboard, he added a layer of electronic mystery. Including some truly epic drum solos by Jo.
They paused mid-show to celebrate Sean’s, the bassist, birthday! They even brought a cake out on stage for him and got the crowd singing happy birthday to him. It was a really adorable moment, and great to see the human-side of the band. Everyone cheered and clapped, and he seemed genuinely touched. Looked like he had a smashing birthday, as he was stomping about the stage, with the occasional killer kick thrown in, even in his heavy new rocks.
After they exited the stage the crowd kept chanting “Kamelot, Kamelot, Kamelot!”, until they got their encore. The band seemed to have enjoyed the concert as much as the fans, as Tommy shouted out at the end “it’s safe to say Kamelot will be coming back to London”! Kamelot have taken the folk metal world by storm, through cleverly incorporating influences from across the rock and metal sub-cultures. Producing a unique sound that combines beautifully with their lyrical themes of philosophy, medieval and fantasy. Their new album “The Shadow Theory” delves further into psychological themes, tying in emotions and industrial elements. It is reminiscent of their early years, but increased in sophistication of musical skill as well as psychological and artsy elements. I can’t wait to see what they come with next!