Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Lucky Man
Venue: Marquee Theater, Tempe, Arizona
Date: Sunday October 6th, 2019
Tour: Shadow Empire North American Tour 2019
After a slow summer the Valley of The Sun, it has finally cooled off (below 100 degrees), and finally we are getting some really hot Metal bands performing. Tonight, Sunday October 6th, we get 3 outstanding Heavy/Power Metal bands from the USA and Finland. For those that have not heard of Power Metal, it is a subclass of metal music that rely on power riffs and audience singing along with the bands, made popular by bands like Iron Maiden.
Personal Soapbox: I would like to request all of my reader to either purchase these and other bands music or go see them live. This is the only way that they can generate revenue so they can continue to tour and produce new works. Streaming their music is great, but they receive next to nothing.
You can additional information either on the band’s website or Facebook pages and here:
Most people believe that Kamelot is from Europe since they tour with mostly Scandinavian Metal bands, but they were originally founded by guitarist Thomas Youngblood and drummer Richard Warner in Tampa, Florida back in 1991. Over the years, only Thomas has remand. For this tour the band now consists of Thomas on lead guitar, bass player Sean Tibbetts, Oliver Palotai on keyboards, drummer Alex Landenburg and Tommy Karevik as lead singer. Touring with Kamelot is Lauren Hart.
The show starts with “Knight’s March” playing in the background. The band rushes out on stage and starts to play “Phantom Divine” from their new album The Shadow Theory. Tommy wanders on stage in is hoodie covering his head and starts singing while Lauren enters in a truly Metal outfit, a tight black leather suit with metal looking waist ribbing and provides the guttural roars. When you first see Lauren, you are shocked that she can produce such guttural roars.
Thomas just powers through riff after riff driving the crowd into a frenzy. Sean is constantly running around the stage laying down a driving bass-line that drove the audience to bang their heads. Alex on drums provided a heart powering double bass along with crashing cymbals. Oliver filled in the melody that pulled the band’s music together.
The majority of the songs in tonight’s (and this tour) set are from their latest album, The Shadow Theory. If you have not heard it, I would highly recommend it especially if you are going to see them live. The majority of the rest of the songs are from their albums, Haven and Karma. All of those albums are very good and should be on your list of buys or stream.
Tommy really has a great stage presence. He was constantly moving around the stage looking directly at different members of the audience almost like he was singing to them directly. He even jumped off of the stage and into the security pit and started to high fiving people as he continued to sing.
Lauren joined Tommy for 2 other songs in the main set, “Vespertine” and “Veil of Elysium”. Not only did she provide the guttural roars, but she really shone when she provided backing harmonies with Tommy. One of the highlights of the show was when Noora Louhimo from Battle Beast came out and sang “Sacrimony” as a duet with Tommy. Lauren also provided additional guttural roars.
After completing the main set, they took a short break. They came back for a 2-song encore of “March of Mephisto” and “Liar Liar”. Lauren again joined Tommy in singing these last 2 songs. The audience sang along with the band for “Liar Liar” which seems to be Kamelot’s most popular song. The show ended with “Ministrium” playing in the background as the entire band came to the front of the stage, bowed to us and then turned around to get a photo with the crowd. They also passed out a number of drum sticks, guitar picks and copies of the setlist.
You can find out more information about Kamelot’s new album (and past albums) and future tour information on their website: http://www.kamelot.com/news/ .
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved
Kamelot Setlist: (Album)
Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire) (The Shadow Theory)
Rule The World (Ghost Opera)
Lights Are Down (The Black Halo)
Vespertine (My Crimson Bride) (The Shadow Theory)
Veil of Elysium (Haven)
End Of Innocence (Haven)
Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife) (Silverthorn)
Burns to Embrace (The Shadow Theory)
March of Mephisto (The Black Halo)
Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy) (Haven)
Minstrium (Shadow Key) (The Shadow Theory)
The first band of the night was Battle Beast. This is the third time I have seen Battle Beast. The first time was with Nightwish and the last time was with Delain and Kamelot. Battle Beast is from Finland and has been around since 2005. The band consists of founding members Juuso Soinio on guitar, drummer Pyry Vikki, bassist Eero Sipilä and keytarist Janne Björkroth. They are joined by Janne’s brother, guitarist Joona Björkroth and lead singer Noora Louhimo. For some reason I did not see Janne perform at tonight’s show. Their entire set consisted of songs from their last 2 albums, No More Hollywood Endings and Bringer of Pain.
The set started with the hard pounding song “Unbroken” from their latest album, No More Hollywood Endings. This got the crowd going and they never stopped for the remainder of the set. The next song, “Straight to the Heart” reminded me a lot of a heavy metal version of something Heart or Pat Benatar might have played. Without Janne’s keytar, “Bastard Son of Odin” took on a different sound and became heavier. They ended their set with “Beyond the Burning Sky” that starts out mellow for the first 15 seconds and then the power riffs start and they did not let up until the end.
I marveled at the energy, power and stamina of Noora. She was constantly dancing around on the stage, jumping, head-banging, power stomping and just trying to either destroy the stage or drive the audience into a frenzy as she sang. The crowd responded in kind, jumping, head-banging, at times sang along and in general just had a fantastic time.
After 40 minutes of almost non-stop music I was exhausted just watching them. They put on a great stage show and really seem to try and connect with the audience. They were a great warmup band. They got the crowd energized and ready for even more metal. I can see Battle Beast moving into the middle slot on the next tour or even headlining at a smaller venue. If you get the change check them out and go see a show.
After their set, they went out to the merchandise area and signed items purchased by their fans and even took photos with them. I wish more bands would do this because it is fan friendly and will make people want to come back in the future. This is what a lot of metal bands did in the early 80’s when metal was taking a foothold here in the USA and it has paid off for a lot of the now mega metal bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Metallica.
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved
Battle Beast Setlist: (Album)
Unbroken (No More Hollywood Endings)
Straight to the Heart (Bringer of Pain)
The Hero (No More Hollywood Endings)
Eden (No More Hollywood Endings)
No More Hollywood Ending (No More Hollywood Endings)
Bastard Son of Odin (Bringer of Pain)
King for a Day (Bringer of Pain)
Beyond the Burning Skies (Bringer of Pain)
This was the first time I have seen Sonata Arctica. My friend that usually goes to metal shows with me (our wives think we are nuts and are glad they don’t have to go) told me that I would really like this band.
Sonata Arctica is a Power Metal band from Finland that originally formed in 1996 as Tricky Beans. In 1999 they changed their name to Sonata Arctica. The band currently consists of lead singer Tony Kakko, drummer Tommy Portimo, bass player Pasi Kauppinen, Henrik Klingenberg on keyboards and lead guitarist Elias Viljanen. Tony is an amazing singer, but live his voice takes on a heavier power tenor. Elias laid down mind-blowing power riffs as Pasi laid down the incredible bass-line. Add in the double bass provided by Tommy and the rhythm provided by Henrik and it was all pulled together into am exceptional sound.
Sonata Arctica is touring promoting their newest album, Talviyö. From their YouTube channel they have a video that explains hwo they came about producing the new album. They wanted to get the fell of a live performance on this album so they had their touring sound engineer produce the album with them. I can say that they achieved their “live” sound. The album, Talviyö is their best album in my opinion.
Half of the songs in tonight’s set were from this new album. They started the show with “A Little Less Understanding” from their newest album that had a very up beat tempo that got the crowd into. Personally, it was my favorite song. The next song, “Closer to an Animal” was a heavier song with multiple guitar riffs and a strong bass-line. They even include “Fullmoon” from their debut album, Ecliptica. Just like Battle Beast, the audience at times were singing along and head banging with the band.
You can find more information about Sonata Arctica and their music on their website: https://www.sonataarctica.info/ or their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sonataarctica/ . They also have an official YouTube channel that you can subscribe to.
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved
Sonata Arctica Setlist: (Album)
A Little Less Understanding (Talviyö)
Closer to an Animal (The Ninth Hour)
Storm the Armada (Talviyö)
X-Marks the Spot (Pariah’s Child)
Who Failed the Most (Talviyö)
Life (The Ninth Hour)