1. The musicians are good. Perhaps because the style of music generally calls for virtuosic vocals and instrumentals? All I know is I've never been to a shitty power metal concert, period, and some of them have been close to religious experiences. Both Kamelot and Nightwish whipped it out last night, happy to report; apparently since the last time I saw Nightwish they've boomed in the US, because the venue was packed, sold out to about 1500 people--and let's be real, in Europe these bands regularly sell out to twice that. I'm torn between being proud that the line to get in stretched across five blocks of downtown Columbus and somewhat fearful that bands I really love might graduate to stadiums someday soon. I dislike stadium concerts as a rule.
2. The fans are polite. I kinda hate moshing, and thankfully power metal fans generally groove politely. Last night's show was the first time (out of seven similar concert experiences since 2006) that I've ever seen even a bit of crowdsurfing at a power metal show. There are always huge singalongs, which the bands tend to encourage. In my experience there is also usually less douchebaggery at concerts for these bands, though I have no theory on why that might be aside from a reasonably even male/female fan ratio.
A few music notes: Nightwish is touring their newest album, Imaginaerum, which made for a nice blend of songs from that record and stuff from Dark Passion Play and Once. I would have been happy no matter what their setlist was, because the band puts on a great show (and have very adorable camaraderie), but I was so happy to hear "Dark Chest of Wonders," "The Islander," "7 Days to the Wolves," and "Slow Love Slow" (a jazzy, generally unmetallic number from Imaginaerum which I adore). Kamelot's set was also pretty nice, pulling chiefly from Ghost Opera and The Black Halo plus the performance of the first single, "Sacrimony," from their upcoming album Silverthorn. This tour is most notable for it being the first official tour with new vocalist Tommy Karevik. As a fan of some years and a Khan devotee, I was anxious to see Karevik in action...and he did not disappoint. He has a great grasp on the band's older material and I'm really looking forward to hearing them perform the new album when they inevitably headline the Silverthorn tour (she said, sacrificing a goat to that end). A very talented performer and a great new frontman for Kamelot.
Other highlights included guest vocals from Elize Ryd and Alissa White-Gluz on a few Kamelot tracks, gorgeous instrumental back-up from Nightwish's touring musician-of-all trades, Troy Donockley, and getting to commune with every European metal fan within four hundred miles of Columbus.