Live | Kamelot – Mainstage Brabanthallen – ‘s-Hertogenbosch [NL]
18 March 2023
Last Friday, 17 March, modern, symphonic metal royalty Kamelot released their very strong new 13th studio album `The Awakening’. The band is currently on tour in Europe and they are supported by the relatively young bands League of Distortion, Eleine and Myrath to warm up the audience. Tonight, this symphonic metal packed takes the stage in Mainstage Brabanthallen, `s-Hertogenbosch [NL] and it also means for Kamelot a debut in a venue with a larger capacity and wider and deeper stage, than the pop podia they played in The Netherlands so far. Singer Tommy Karevik mentions later on during the show that The Netherlands is like a second home for the band. It is definitely reflected a large turnout of enthusiastic and dedicated fans present, although Mainstage isn’t completely sold out.
LEAGUE OF DISTORTION
Having four bands on the bill and with a curfew of 23:00 pm, the schedule is tight and changeovers are very fast organized. Doors are open 18:00 pm and first band League of Distortion starts 18:40 pm exact. League of Distortion is a new young band from Germany, who released its self-titled debut end November of last year. An album that sounds refreshing, yet dark, highly energetic, alternative and pleasantly different. The songs have hooks and stickiness, dynamic synth beats and heavy guitars and I also immediately was very much impressed by the vocal expression and quality of singer Anna Brunner.
On stage, Anna has a cool and edgy appearance and despite the problems with her in-ear in the beginning (not hearing herself), her raspy, alternative sounding vocal performance is good right from the start. During the playing time of 30 minutes, Anna [who is supported by three solid playing bandmates] does everything in her power to get the audience on board. I am happy to see that the tracks ,,My Revenge’’, ,,Solitary Confinement’’, ,,Rebel By Choice’’ are getting a big part of the crowd going, but a lot of them don’t exactly know how to response to the new age distorted metal track ,,It Hurts So Good’’.
The anthem ,,Wolf Or Lamb’’ works perfect again and many folks are waving with a phone light, which is really cool to see. Closing track ,,L.O.D.’’ makes a lot of daredevils groove and clapping, but I can sense that League Of Distortion is not the matching appetite for some of the traditional symphonic metal fans present. To me though League Of Distortion proved to have guts and a lot of potential.
Fifteen minutes later, 19:25 pm, Eleine from Sweden serve a 37 minutes performance that is not high top of the bill in my opinion, although a big chunk of the audience seems to love it and that’s what matters of course. Eleine is fronted by Madeleine Liljestam, who wears a lot of bling-bling and parades confidently across the stage. The band plays symphonic metal with obvious traces from black, death and thrash in riffs and speedy tempos. These Swedes are going in heavy and full force but I miss strong melodies and originality. It’s very mediocre and the high-pitched classic-like wavy vocal performance of Madeleine is not really blowing me away to be honest.
Guitarist Rikard Egberg fires away some grows here and there and maybe that is why he is the only one wearing corps paint? When Madeleine tells the audience that The Netherlands feels like a second home too, she let us know that she can pronounce two Dutch words: “frambozen” [raspberries] and “pindakaas” [peanut butter]. It triggers much cheering and applause from the audience. Eleine continues with fanatical headbanging and towards the end they present the ultra-heavy sounding new track ,,We Are Legion’’ from their upcoming new album. Then Madeleine and her gang take quite some time to do the oldest trick in the metal world: a competition which part of the crowd screams the loudest, left or right, but it felt quite awkward and unnecessary.
It’s 20:16 pm and Myrath gets about 40 minutes to take the audience into the authentic sounds of their homeland Tunisia. The band already released five studio albums and is highly praised in the progressive metal community. Indeed, these guys crank up the level of quality right away. I believe their own headline shows are quite a spectacle, but as a support band they have to convince the audience without show elements and visuals. It’s not a problem at all, because their oriental styled metal music is under control in every aspect.
The musicians are highly qualified and they make sure that their setlist is very well performed. Tempos are not speedy, but more mid-tempo and majestic sounding, which is perfect for the mystic vibe of their music. The song structures have a technical character but it is very well balanced with the highly melodic elements. The setlist offers enough diversity and is actually easy to chew on. Vocalist Zaher Zorgati has a silky-smooth voice, sings excellent and as a frontman he knows his way on stage. The audience return the favor and shows a good portion of support as they easily obey to songs like ,,Born To Survive’’, ,,Dance’’, ,,Monster In My Closet’’ and ,,Beyond The Stars’’.
After a thirty-minute break, Kamelot owns the stage and gives the fans where they came for. Not only musical but also visual. A huge backdrop features the breathtaking artwork of the new album `The Awakening’ and the cathedral elements are integrated in the drum and keyboard stage. The recognizable band logo in metal is placed on a stand on both sides of the stage. In between the drum and keyboard stage is a small plateau with a mini stair and a stage riser and there is a large catwalk that connects the band on a very close level with the audience. And of course there is fireworks, smoke and a lightshow.
When Alex Landenburg [drums], Oliver Palotai [keyboards], Sean Tibbetts [bass], Thomas Youngblood [guitars] and Tommy Karevik (vocals) enter the stage one by one and they start with ,,Veil Of Elysium’’ [album `Haven’] the crowd gets over the moon while pyro flames are going sky high to intensify this successful kickoff. Guest singer Melissa Bonny [Ad Infinitum] joins as well for some lovely backing vocals. When the oriental juiced ,,Rule The World’’ [album `Ghost Opera’] follows it is a prediction that we are in for some Kamelot classic treats this evening. This song is actually also the perfect bridge to the new and overwhelming sounding epos ,,Opus Of The Night [Ghost Requiem]’’. A rain of sparks is fronting the stage and Melissa is producing a super high haunting sounding vocal line with Tommy taking the role of conductor.
Kamelot is all fired up and the energetic stage performance has a highly contagious effect on the crowd. All musicians play, as always, excellent and new drummer Alex Landenburg fits in very smoothly. Thomas Youngblood proves again, especially with his solo’s, to be a hell of a guitarist and Tommy Karevik is a singer of high class who is almost nonstop interacting with the audience, making the show a real personal deal for the fans.
Since Kamelot wrote many memorable songs over the years, it is inevitable that the setlist features a lot of golden oldies fan favorites we can’t get enough of. That means a maximum of singing along with tracks like ,,Insomnia’’ [album `Haven’], ,,When The Lights Are Down’’ [album `The Black Halo’], ,,Karma’’ and ,,Forever’’ [both album `Karma’].
During this one hour and a half show Kamelot is on unstoppable and on high energy. They also take a minute to promote the new album with for instance the cool track ,,New Babylon’’, in which Tommy uses the mini riser and duels with Melissa, who sings and grows, while four mysterious red hooded, masked figures set foot on stage to mimic the choir part. Also ,,Nightsky’’ displays what the new album has to offer and an absolute new live anthem is ,,One More Flag In The Ground’’, such a banger. And Tommy waving a huge Dutch flag is of course premium.
A breathtaking moment is the beautiful piano power ballad ,,Song For Jolee’’ [album `Silverthorn’] with a superb vocal performance by Tommy. Naturally fans are waving their phone lights massive in the air. A highly fan request for a long time and now finally answered by Kamelot is the never played live before song ,,Vespertine (My Crimson Bride)’’ [album `The Shadow Theory’].
Of course, Alex Landenberg gets a moment to introduce himself with a drum solo. Melissa is performing in a few more songs with great power and style but I am also very happy to see that Kamelot invited Anna Brunner to display her vocal talent in the awesome track ,,Sacremony (Angel Of Afterlife)’’ [album `Silverthorn’].
Good to see the band is back on the road to awaken the the symphonic metal community with a high class performance.
All photos by Conny van den Heuvel of DCH Photography
Kamelot is an International modern symphonic metal band formed by American guitarist Thomas Youngblood in 1987. The band has a extensive discography, a great live reputation and worked with many guest musicians over the years.
Modern symphonic metal