Kamelot - September 6, 2011 - Peabody's Down Under, Cleveland, OH
By: Dan Barkasi
A schizophrenic lineup was rolling into a rainy Cleveland this evening, to say the least. There's one of the top Power/Progressive acts going in Kamelot, the keytar wielding Scottish pirates Alestorm, and the melodic death road warriors Blackguard. A stylistic melting pot to be certain, but no real lack in quality either.
Blackguard got the show off to a flying start, coming out all guns ‘Paul’ Ablazing. Ha, I kill myself. The guys – and ridiculously talented drumming gal – put on a solid show to a crowd that was definitely digging their output. The band was also without guitarist Kim Gosselin, due to an unmentioned illness. In his stead was Otep bassist Erik Tisinger, and he did an admirable job filling in. A good mix of songs from the band's latest Firefight, as well as Profugus Mortis were played - all with Blackguard's usual energy and passion. A bit surprised to not hear, “This Round’s On Me,” but the band also had limited time. This is also the last tour for the band for a while, as they're taking a much-deserved break. See you again in the future, for sure.
Next on the bill were the rum-guzzling Scotsmen Alestorm. One of the silliest – in the best way possible – bands around, they always invoke a few light-hearted laughs and churn out some seriously rocking tunes. This performance wasn't short on the humor department; with singer/keytar extraordinaire Christopher Bowes losing a lens from his sunglasses, thus proclaiming them as a stylish eye patch, as well as many other antics. Local Pittsburgh medieval metallers – and buddies of Alestorm – bought the band a few rounds between songs, with the guys happily obliging. They played all the usual crowd pleasers, such as “Rum” and “Captain Morgan’s Revenge.” As delightfully nutty as these guys are, they’re as tight of a band as any, putting on a performance that is difficult to match by any standards. The high seas – as well as ye landlubbers – need more bands like Alestorm.
Headlining the night was the proverbial Kamelot. A band of which lost their iconic singer Roy Kahn, who is obviously a difficult voice and presence to replace. Many have been wondering just what the band will do to fill this most important void. Enter Rhapsody of Fire's Fabio Lione – at least for this tour, that is. The Italian master of all things falsetto is quite accomplished, yet nobody really knew quite how he would fit in. All that can be said to the rest of the band is this – if at all possible, bring this guy in full time. Lione put on a goose bump-inducing performance, hitting every dynamic note that Khan did, and making it look easy. Never before had this writer heard him display such a potent midrange. His voice suits Kamelot like a glove, and again, here's to hoping they can bring him in for the long haul.
And yeah, the rest of the band was sharp as a newly forged sword, too. A great selection of songs was played, with the band running the gamut of their extensive discography. Add to that a pumped up crowd, and a punchy, crisp sound that would make most bands jealous with envy, and you have a certain formula for a great show. A truly wonderful job by a band that is on a roll. The big highlight was Lione, though. I'm still raving about it and will for quite some time.
Yet another great time, courtesy of quality tunes from bands all over the vast metal spectrum. Those who missed out should swiftly kick themselves. And Kamelot – give that man the job! The end.