Monday, February 22, 2016

Kamelot / Dragonforce @ Fillmore Silver Spring 11/18/2015

I went to see Kamelot at Silver Spring (~$29) as another part of their North American Tour (leg 2).  They were supposed to come to 4/27 to Baltimore Soundstage, but that was cancelled due to a state of emergency in Baltimore (!) and riots, etc. I was there for the VIP experience, but a little before Dragonforce was set to start, they turned on the house lights and announced all the insanity. They did play an early show a couple days later (due to the curfew(!)) but I was not able to make that show :( Unfortunately my notes were lost regarding timing and who all I saw at this show (not as many due to another conflicting show, and um... not everyone loving Kamelot)- but I think at least a couple people I knew were there.

Moshing' like the Fahrenheit...not at all


This show had a decent attendance, but I believe the top level was not open. There were still hundreds of people there. I enjoyed this venue better, as Silver Spring is a much easier commute than Baltimore!  I hope that this show was considered enough of a success for them to come back!

Fury of the Merch

Merch for the poisoned
merch for the poisoned, part II


Merchandise wise Dragonforce had a few lame looking shirts (no dragons, no samurai, no explosions, come on guys) (20-25), a couple hoodies ($40), baseball cap ($20), scarf, bandanna ($15) and wristband ($5), and CD ($20). Kamelot had shirts ($25 I think), some hoodies, tote bag, and CDs, and other items. Again, I was kind of disappointed by the selection again, their not that exciting logos, the Haven cover, etc. I should have grabbed a Silverthorn shirt when they had that.
Touching each other's instruments. Please note Herman's Hair.

More touching

Dragonforce- love them or hate them- was on first. I'd not seen them in years, and since then they've changed their singer, had a drop in popularity, and Herman Li has started balding :(.  Last time was in 2009 (!!) with Sonata Arctica in Baltimore, so it'd been quite a long time.  Would they be as great as they were then? Drumroll...... in short, NO. They played three tracks from their latest studio effort, Maximum Overload, including the completely unnecessary Johnny Cash / Merle Kilgore cover . I did like that we got "Operation Ground and Pound" as well, which was not played on this leg of the the tour yet (I think other stops got the Castlevania related song "Symphony of the Night"). But there was something wrong/off. I couldn't tell if it was that there was sloppy playing, different energy with the new singer Marc Hudson, or something else entirely, but they were just not nearly as amazing as they had been years ago (I think I had seen them about 3 times in about a year's span!). I was pretty disappointed in that.

about 3 Hammered
Time to Play the GAME

The sound was alright for them, the keyboards were a bit uneven in the mix, and the drums a bit too loud, overpowering the guitars. The guitars were also a bit off at some moments, particularly during a few leads, which lead to almost ruining of some songs. Not to be mean, but time is not being kind to Herman Li, who as he is now balding looks like that Asian henchman , Al Leong, in a variety of films. I am not sure if he or Sam Totman was the weakest link at this performance, so lets put both to blame. I also recall frontman Marc Hudson sounding alright, but being kind of trying too hard to get the crowd amped.


Who would trade his Karma for some cornrows?

I was, and always seem to be pumped for Kamelot. This is troubling, as after looking at their previous setlists for this tour- heavy on their kind of meh latest album Haven. But Tommy Karevik is a worthy successor to (tho not original many would argue BEST) ex-Frontman Roy Khan. I've seen them with Roy, Tommy, and Fabio Leone (Rhapsody), and all have been amazing singers. Cornrowed Sean Tibbitts on bass has been solid despite his horrible hairstyle choice. Casey Grillo is still a monster on drums, and Thomas Youngblood always delivers.

Scream for me Silver Spring!


I loved their pre-Tommy (Tommy Karevik, not Thomas Youngblood ...too many Thomases?) sets, but even with Silverthorn being a very good if not great showing, their last two albums aren't amazing. I understand trying to push their new album, but it seems like they are maybe trying to avoid a lot of Roy Khan era tracks in favor of Tommy ones. Gong in I knew I'd have a guaranteed pee break during the boring drum solo (that is not to say that Casey Grillo is not a great drummer, he just doesn't need a solo showcase), about 7 tracks from Tommy era (4 tracks from Haven, and  three from Silverthorn), and some 'standards' like "...Mephisto," "Karma," etc. I would have loved to hear... more non- Haven tracks near the end, as that made the end rather underwhelming. While "Liar Liar" is growing on me, there is just something missing from a number of the Haven songs. I did like "...Mephisto" being moved from the closer spot, one that I think that's always been an 'eh' choice. As a pretty big Kamelot fan, I can go on and on about other amazing tracks, but let's just ask why not throw a deeper cut or two in? Why play the same one track from Poetry for the Poisoned when you are overlooking so many good songs?  I unfortunately recognize that pre-Karma tracks may never be heard again.

Kobra kicked Tommy K's Ass
Welcome to 50 shades of Kamelot
Guess which one is the Angel of  Afterlife

Special guest backup vocalist was Kobra Paige (of Kobra and the Lotus), which made me wonder why the hell are you guys not bringing Kobra an the Lotus on tour too? Whatever the case, I found it rather interesting that Kobra's robust voice was really more powerful than Tommy's. No wonder they kin of buried her in the mix for several songs. She only did clean vocals, the harsh vocals originally by Alyssa White-Gluz (ex: for "Liar Liar") were piped in. The use of backing tracks for the harsh vocals and for a number of symphonic elements (this was expected) seemed to rob a bit of authenticity and energy from their performance. I expected it for the symphonic elements, because power metal, but how hard is it to grab one of the donkeys from Dragonforce to do some growls?

Sean's head exploded
Marching

Sound-wise, I really don't have complaints, because the entire band sounded great. Kamelot mastermind (guitarist and primary songwriter) Thomas Youngblood is still criminally overlooked (well, maybe we can hate on him a bit for this kin of derivative latest album...), and  did seem a bit annoyed during a solo an eyes were all still on Tommy. That seemed momentary, as in a few seconds he had a look of satisfaction back on his face and continued to the next lick. I hope people realize that he *IS* Kamelot.


A note that this same evening Exodus was playing the tiny venue The Black Cat in DC, which I think drew some potential crowd away, but in reality there always seems to be power metal fans that I've not even seen before appearing out of nowhere for some of these shows. That's good for the touring bands and getting them to come back, but again, as for Blind Guardian, where are you guys for other shows? You can't JUST like power metal...right? In any event I totally didn't  regret missing Exodus this evening.


Are you not entertained?

Overall, it was an enjoyable show. Despite my gripes and complaining, I enjoyed most of the show. Let's hope Kamelot switches up their setlist a bit next time slash has a better album to tour on ;3


Next show: Tesseract~



-
Setlists
Dragonforce 

  • Fury of the Storm
  • Three Hammers
  • The Game
  • Operation Ground and Pound
  • Seasons
  • Cry Thunder
  • Valley of the Damned
  • Ring of Fire(Merle Kilgore cover)
  • Through the Fire and Flames


Kamelot 
  • Veil of Elysium
  • When the Lights are Down
  • The Great Pandemonium
  • Center of the Universe
  • Karma
  • Torn
  • Song for Jolee
  • March of Mephisto
  • Rule the World
  • Insomnia
  • Drum Solo
  • Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)
  • Forever

  • Revolution
  • Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)