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Kamelot - Wolverhampton Wulfrun - Saturday 5th April 2008.

Thanks to Firewind's and Kamelot's soundmen for the setlists - appreciate it guys..

Forever Slave. It would appear that the lead singer, Lady Angellyca, is a model specialising in gothic work with occasional forays into the fetish world. This would certainly explain her outfit tonight, knee-high lace up boots, PVC split-sided skirt and corset top. Looked a million dollars, fantastic legs. Suppose I'd better start talking about the music really! Competent band she's assembled: seven string guitarist, five string bass player, keyboard player and solid drummer combine to play gothic rock in the style of Evanescence, Leaves Eyes, Within Temptation et al. Very formulaic, not helped by the usual sludgy sound opening acts get. Despite her looks and obvious stage presence it wasn't Lady A's best night at the office, some of the higher notes were filling-rattlingly off. Stick at the day job, there are plenty of bands out there who do this style of music far better.

Firewind. Showed Forever Slave how it should be done from the word go. Passion, commitment and songwriting ability packaged together into a confident unit. I've had a soft spot for these guys since seeing them open for Dragonforce a couple of years ago. They were good then but they were vastly improved tonight. Of course it does help to have two star performers; Apollo is a hugely likeable frontman who works a crowd well and Gus G can shred with the best. The rest of the band are fine musicians too. Only real criticism of their set was the new single, "Mercenary Man", which sounded like battle metal meets Spinal Tap - truly dreadful opening riff. Their set was a good mix of old and new with material from all their albums being aired. "Into The Fire" started things off and was followed by "Head Up High", "Insanity", "Destination Forever", "Circle Of Life", "Mercenary Man", "Falling To Pieces", "Between Heaven And Hell", with "I Am The Anger" finishing off a polished and enjoyable performance.

Kamelot had a lot to live up to after witnessing their superb performance at Progpower 2 last year. The set started with a striking and elegant brunette gliding effortlessly towards the front of the stage violin clasped in hand. "Solitaire" got the ball rolling before the band emerged to launch into a blistering version of "Rule The World". Sound wasn't quite right at this point, Khan's vocals along with much of the rest ot the band's efforts being drowned out by the booming double bass onslaught from Casey Grillo. This was rectified a couple of songs in however. "When The Lights Are Down" and "Soul Society" led into a bonus track off the new album "Pendulous Fall", by this point the sound had settled down and the band were clearly enjoying an ecstatic audience response. "Centre Of The Universe", "Abandoned" and "Descent Of The Archangel" preceded a lenghty instrumental during which Khan got a chance to have a breather and the band all had a chance to show off their prodigious musical abilities. For me this went on for too long, we all know that rock music is about flair and showmanship, but I find solos a bit of a waste of time.

"The Human Stain", "The Haunting" and "Eden Echo" were all delivered superbly before another solo (keyboards this time) led into the set closer "Forever". Well delivered set lasted around the 65 minute mark. Back for 4 encores - "Ghost Opera", "Love You To Death", "Karma" and the always reliable "March Of Mephisto" taking the overall set length to the hour and a half mark. Excellent performance all round. Staging was good, with the lighting being well thought out and the vocal interplay between the backing vocalist who started the set off and Khan working well. Quality musicians they have a formidable arsenal of quality tracks at their disposal and deliver them tremendously well.

Overall an enjoyable evening. I would have preferred to have just seen Firewind and Kamelot even allowing for the obvious charms of Forever Slave. Firewind have improved immensely since I last saw them and are great fun. Kamelot were as polished as ever, just a shame we couldn't have seen more from them and the lengthy solos were a negative for me. That said they were great entertainment and I look forward to their next visit to these shores.

 

 

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