Symphonic and Power metal aren’t exactly my cup of tea (with a few exceptions), but my girlfriend is a big fan of Delain, and I’ve always enjoyed Kamelot and wanted to see them live, so this show seemed like a no brainer, especially at 34$ a ticket!
Eklipse opened the show. They are a string quartet from Germany doing covers of pop songs using all kinds of modern playing techniques combined with electronic effects and some background loops. That might sound like a third rate knock off of Apocalyptica, but they’re really good. The club was already pretty much full when they hit the stage, and they got a very enthusiastic reaction from the crowd for their first ever Canadian appearance. Their material is all covers (as far as I can tell), but they really put a spin on the songs. Highlights included a fantastic interpretation of Adele’s Set Fire to the Rain, and a surprisingly effective version of Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like a Record). They closed the show with a rousing version of Eurythmic’s Sweet Dreams that left the crowd clamouring for an encore that never came. I’m glad I showed up on time to catch them, and I’ll be on the lookout for them in the future. I couldn’t find their music on iTunes (their albums ARE available now though) so we bought their latest CD at the merch table; I highly recommend them if that sort of thing interests you, or if you simply want to discover new takes on familiar songs.
They were followed on stage by Delain, a symphonic metal band from the Netherlands. The quartet, also on their first ever Canadian appearance, gave a very strong performance that was helped by a very clear sound that let vocalist Charlotte Wessels’s vocals cut through the bone crunching riffs even when she used her lower register. The band’s sound was augmented by orchestral instruments on tape, but never did they cheat and playback parts they could play live on stage. The band sounded great throughout a 10 song set, and seemed to be enjoying themselves thanks to the enthusiastic reaction from the crowd. Mid-show they were even given a huge ovation that left them speechless for a while, something you rarely see for an opening act. Charlotte told the crowd “This is fucking amazing”; well, this is what Montreal was telling you! Hopefully they can comeback as a headliner because they stole the show in my eyes.
Shortly after Delain’s set, the lights dimmed down to welcome the headliners. Florida’s Kamelot could count on a crowd of die hard fans who weren’t phased by the departure of longtime vocalist Roy Khan. His replacement Tommy Karevic was welcomed with raised fists by the fans (as a side note, I’ve never seen a band manage to get people’s fists in the air so often during a show. It was almost impossible to take pictures!) It helps that he sounds almost exactly like Khan, but still, he appeared confident and delivered the acrobatic vocals very well. Kamelot’s music straddles power and symphonic metal, and I found the band to be taking themselves a little too seriously (except for Karevic who often cracked a smile that seemed to say “I can’t believe I’m singing for this band!”) They’ve got some good songs (Center of the Universe, Forever and the fantastic closer, March of Mephisto being highlights. The latter featured two members of Eklipse on percussions) but overall I felt they’d come across better if they didn’t try to look so epic all the time (serious offender being band founder Thomas Youngblood who seemed to view each one of his guitar solos as an event in itself). Their sound also wasn’t as clear as Delain’s, probably because they also have a keyboard player and a backup singer to fill up the spectrum. But still, the crowd was there for them, and everyone seemed enthralled by their performance. Definitely solid musicianship though, and thumbs up for the half french version of Don’t You Cry!
Eklipse was the revelation of the night for me, with Delain being the highlight (Come back for a headlining gig!). 3 great bands in one night: what else can you ask for 34$?
Infractions to the 7 Rock Concert Clichés That Need to Die:
Kamelot: 3 (!) gratuitous instrument solos. And the bass player just had to split the crowd in 3 for a screaming contest before his solo.
- Mother Machine
- Go Away
- Get the Devil Out of Me
- Virtue and Vice
- Sleepwalkers Dream
- Not Enough
- The Gathering
- We Are the Others
- Rule the World
- The Great Pandemonium
- Center of the Universe
- The Human Stain
- Song for Jolee
- Drum Solo
- When the Lights are Down
- Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)
- My Confession
- Don’t You Cry
- Keyboard Solo
- Bass Solo
- Ghost Opera
- March of Mephisto
- Eklipse ‘Electric Air’ – Good Music Is in the Air (debilitatingmelody.wordpress.com)
- KAMELOT Release Tour Trailer With EKLIPSE (bravewords.com)
- KAMELOT Keyboardist To Sit Out North American Tour; EPICA’s COEN JANSSEN To Step in (blabbermouth.net)
He's also a regular contributor at the very rad site Montreal Rampage