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Monday, September 26, 2011

The actual review of the concert I talked about yesterday

Let's start off with some Twitter evidence. If you follow me on Twitter, this is what my Friday night looked like:

Sound quality here is...not what it could be. Or maybe that's just the opening band.

Hot twin Canadian guitarists! Did I say the opener sucked? Didn't mean it!

Uh, actually they're kind of great. The Agonist from Montreal, peeps. Check it.

Opener #2's frontman looks like Malachi from Hex.

Apparently power metal fans in Canada mosh.


The song...is Wenches and Mead. The band...is Alestorm. PIRATE METAL FUCK YEAH

If Dragonforce and Dropkick Murphys had a baby and abandoned it in Savannah, it would sound like this band.

There are legit like ten metal dudes on this stage. It's like watching porn.

And then...nothing for an hour and a half. Because as much as I enjoyed the three opening acts, they weren't Kamelot, and I don't Tweet during Kamelot. So let's get you fine folks up to speed on the nuts and bolts of this performance! As I've mentioned previously, Roy Khan is no longer with the band, so for the "Pandemonium Over North America" tour, Fabio Lione of the Italian group Rhapsody of Fire toured as fill-in singer...and did a pretty great job. Lione's vocals are quite a bit different from Khan's, most notably because Khan is, at last check anyway, a baritone and Lione is a tenor, but Lione's as polished and talented a singer as Khan, so we'll split the difference (though Lione's higher register combined with Simone Simons' soprano did make "The Haunting" sound somewhat odd). I WILL say that I really hope Kamelot auditions a new singer--in the event that Khan really does not return--because as great as Lione sounded, he's best with his own band, and I'm sure Rhapsody's fans don't want to lose their own frontman.

The set-list was interesting--largely Black Halo and Ghost Opera, with only two tracks off the newest album, Poetry for the Poisoned ("The Great Pandemonium" and "Necropolis"), and a few offerings from Karma as the earliest in the catalogue Lione went, though apparently in other shows this tour he's performed "Nights of Arabia," which I would have loved to see. The rest of the band was, as always, in fantastic shape. Youngblood and Grillo will play their instruments to their graves, I'm sure; Palotai has cut his hair--nothing drastic, but not the elf-locks he used to have, and it certainly hasn't affected his keyboarding skills; and original bassist Sean Tibbetts, who returned post-Ghost Opera, is definitely the (talented) ham of the group. All in all, a satisfying concert experience, though the sound mix SUCKED (Firestone, get that fixed please).

And a few words for the openers: The Agonist and Blackguard are both from Montreal, Quebec, and play death metalish stuff. I must say, whatever they put in the water up there is working, because I've never seen more attractive bands. Metal dudes are either really hot or really fugly--there's not much middle ground--and metal ladies are gorgeous across the board, with Alissa White-Gluz (vocals, The Agonist) and Justine Ethier (drums, Blackguard) being no exceptions. White-Gluz is spectacularly talented as a vocalist, being capable of singing both typical death metal and clean vocals, with very little strain. Fun note: she sang Shagrath's vocals on "March of Mephisto"; I think her cred is set for life. Alestorm, the pirate metal band from Scotland, was maybe the most hilarious thing I've ever seen, and actually pretty talented too. Lord knows I can't resist a keytar, or songs about rum.

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