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Kamelot / Evergrey / Visions Of Atlantis http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/15/87/e9/Kamelot-Live-2019-Thumb-89-1554754591.jpg Hot

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Kamelot / Evergrey / Visions Of Atlantis - Club Academy, Manchester (UK) - 21 March 2019

Every time I have seen Kamelot or Evergrey in the past my enjoyment has been tempered by either sound or venue issues. I had everything crossed as I entered the basement room of the Academy building and was pleased to encounter a healthy turnout. Not surprising really as this UK tour comprised just 2 proper dates.

I managed to take my place in the photo pit as Visions Of Atlantis took to the stage for a brief thirty minute, seven song set. I admit to being unfamiliar with the female/male fronted Symphonic Metal band, but was glad that the songs contained no lengthy or overblown arrangements. Formed in Austria as far back as 2000, they have undergone a considerable number of line-up changes during their near twenty year career. Lead singers Clementine Delauney (female) and Michele Guaitoli (male) work really well together and their chemistry helps the on-stage dynamic. I wasn't impressed enough to seek out their back catalogue from the merch stall, but they went down well with the crowd and as opening acts go I have seen much, much worse.


Visions Of Atlantis Live 2019 2

I saw Evergrey for the first time back in 2006, when they played enthusiastically to around thirty people at a small club in Bolton. I was struck by the technical abilities of everyone in the band and that simply enhanced an admiration I had formed from just the music alone. The most recent 'The Atlantic' album has continued an impressive run of top quality releases that began in essence with 2014's 'Hymns For The Broken', followed by 'The Storm Within' in 2016. Their fifty minute set was weighted towards 'The Atlantic' and 'The Storm Within' albums, so disappointingly many early favourites were missing. The opening one/two of 'A Silent Arc' and 'Weightless' were both thunderously heavy without losing any degree of melody.


Evergrey Live 2019

The sound was in-your-face and the temperature levels decided there was no limit. Lead singer Tom Englund informed us mid-set that he was suffering from a virus, yet it was difficult to tell. 'Distance' and 'Passing Through' were accompanied by two-hundred extra backing singers and some of the guitar work from Englund and Henrik Danhage was insane. 'A Touch Of Blessing' was the only nod to the past and the closing 'King Of Errors' was almost "kitchen sink" in its delivery. Only eight songs, but definitely a case of quality over quantity.

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After a quick drink and cleanse of the photos I had taken I returned to the front, only to find that the pit had been removed. The other photographers and I were asked to re-join the crowd so I had to content myself with using an extra zoom to try and get some shots.

I last saw Kamelot in 2009 and Roy Khan was still the lead singer. Upon his leaving it was questionable whether anyone could replicate his style. Seventh Wonder's Tommy Karevik I think has exceeded expectations and even though he can sing the Khan material comfortably he has also brought some of his own personality to bear on the recent albums. I have always believed that the epic nature of the Kamelot material requires a suitably epic stage to give it justice, so I was pleasantly surprised at how well it translated to a small club setting. The set began with a rousing 'Phantom Divine' during which the band were joined on stage by Lauren Hart, whose voice and looks added an extra dimension to proceedings. Karevik began wearing a hooded top (to add to the mystique maybe) and was lost occasionally in the dry ice, but fortunately the mix allowed his voice to cut through.


Kamelot Live 2019

Guitarist Thomas Youngblood is almost Mr Kamelot and his guitar work throughout was excellent, whether it be riffing or soloing. Oliver Palotai's keyboards are essential to the sound and alongside bass player Sean Tibbets and (new) drummer Alex Landenburg lay the foundations for the grandiose music scale. The set was a good mix of Khan and Karevik material and it was impossible to see the join. 'Rule The World', 'Center Of The Universe', 'Insomnia', 'When The Lights Are Down' and 'Veil Of Elysium' all follow a tried and trusted Kamelot blueprint, with each possessing a memorable hook and great energy. Karevik kept the between song chat to a minimum, meaning there was barely time to catch a breath before the next assault began. I could have done without the keyboard/drum solo, but at least it gave me a chance to nip to the toilet. Lauren Hart made occasional re-appearances and even Clementine from VOA joined in during 'Sacrimony'. 'Liar Liar' brought things to a triumphant close, leaving me a few minutes to chat to the Evergrey guys (minus Tom Englund, who had returned to the hotel) before heading home.


Kamelot Live 2019 2

I left the building a sweaty mess, clutching t-shirts and signed CD's (yep...still a fanboy). A fantastic night spent with 2 bands who really should be playing to larger UK crowds in bigger venues.

Reviews and photos by Dave Bott

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