Live at The Key Club

Hollywood, CA 10/26/2008

Review by Travis Baumann

Kamelot has one of the most fervent fan bases I have witnessed in a long time. The Key Club was packed to the gills with devotees of both the Florida based Kamelot and their opening act, Germany's Edguy. The front rows were just mashed together with fanatical followers singing to every song.

I personally have only known about them since the release of their latest album and find their excellent mixture of influences really something outstanding.

I love bands that have a fantastical or dreamlike quality in their lyrics and mentalities and it is obvious from their name alone that they have some of this mystique about their songs. Their music uplifts and drives but has a gothic dark twist to it that adds a slight touch of mystery and exciting power as well.

Kamelot, above all else, are a metal band but they are quite a bit more. While having the requisite guitar virtuoso and song writer in Thomas Youngblood, they top it off with a great vocalist and awesome lyricist in Roy Khan which gives them an edge to be a powerful and talented metal act. They then take it beyond by layering intricate keyboard and piano pieces that bring epic proportions to their songs.

For their live performance Kamelot consisted of the fore mentioned lead singer and guitarist while the drummer sat behind an extremely large kit to the rear of the stage, the keyboardist was on the front left, and a blonde bassist moved back and forth, never staying still.

A woman stood on a riser on the right side in the rear. She would sing from there on more choral or back up roles but moved down for the songs where the female vocals took more predominance.

Each musician is extremely talented and proved such with an elaborate solo performance including a bass jam session and a considerable drum solo while other members would take breaks. Likewise the keyboard player held a song in his own right later in the performance and the guitar player did multiple solos throughout the show.

To top that off, they employed an often under used performance strength in that it also strikes certain emotional chords and that is to bring both male and female vocals into the mix. It really does add a whole additional level to have the juxtaposition of masculine and feminine vocals on songs and the outright duet on "The Haunting" was one of the highlights of the show.

The sound was really good this evening but the lead vocals could have been turned up as it was hard to hear Khan over all the screaming out-of-key fifteen year olds surrounding me. Other people felt similar as every now and then someone would yell for the mic to be turned up but it never really got any louder. It still was a great performance and once I had taken a lot of pictures in the front I moved to the back where you could hear him better.

Kamelot went on at close to 10:40 p.m. and played until just after midnight including both encores. The first encore kicked off with the song "Ghost Opera" one of my two favorite songs by them. They played another song and then left the stage but quickly activity resumed as the chanting crowd grew louder.

A single drum was put on each of the rear risers and a woman clad in a short black dress and a black mask stepped up behind each drum. The two women began to beat out a rhythm and was then joined by the drummer.

All the band members returned to the stage and they went full speed into "March of Mephisto" which is my favorite song of theirs and it was awesome live. Thomas Youngblood handled the deep extreme vocals in the chorus which was a nice added touch and a good contrast to Khan's melodic style of vocals.

After the extended version of their last song, they all joined arms and took a collective bow and then proceeded to throw guitar picks, set lists, sweat towels, bottled waters, and drum sticks out to the fans which created minor riots in the vicinity where each item was thrown.

The fans just screamed and screamed and for any band to have a sold-out show is great but to have this loyal and fanatic of a following is almost scary. I appreciate a band catering to its younger audience but next time I would love to see these guys at a 21+ show or at least 18 and over. Still I thought they were really awesome live and definitely worth going to see.

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