Kamelot w/Support @ The HMV Forum, London

Kamelot, Xandria, Triosphere, Blackguard
HMV Forum, London
7th November

Usually when I go to gigs, the doors will open at 7pm and the first band will be on around 8pm – but not this gig. I walked in at 7:40pm after having been held up by the awful traffic through London (no surprise there, really), and I was shocked to find that I had actually missed Blackguard. Now, I’m not sure whose idea it was to put the first band on as soon as the doors opened, but it certainly was not a good one. I had heard good things about Blackguard, so I was actually looking forwards to seeing them. It would appear that I was not the only one to have missed the first band entirely as when asking members of the audience what they thought of them, most people said “I was in the pub”. However, the very few people who were lucky enough to have seen Blackguard said they were brilliant.

The second band on the bill was Triosphere, and it would appear that not too many people were bothered about them. The HMV Forum usually holds between 2,000 and 3,000 people. Tonight, there were maybe 200 people (and that isn’t a typo!). Never before in my life have I walked into a gig forty minutes after the doors opened and gone straight to the front row. I can promise you I am not exaggerating. Triosphere played well, but the emptiness of the room affected the sound drastically, causing too much reverb off of the walls. It sounded like we were in a cave. The crowd reaction wasn’t brilliant either, but that wasn’t the band’s fault as it’s hard to interact with an audience that’s barely there.

Next up was Xandria, who can only really be describes as diet-Nightwish. There were a few more people in the crowd by this point, but that didn’t mean the band played well. There was no definition in the guitar sound, which was incredibly disappointing. I would like to have blamed that on the emptiness of the room, but the previous band’s guitars had sounded superb, and there were less people then. The vocals were lacking too – some parts sounded like they were on a backing track and other parts were slightly out of key. Now, don’t get me wrong, I thought they tried very very hard, but they just weren’t that great. The crowd did, however, react fairly well to them.

The room filled up a little more whilst the stage crew put away the small drum kit, revealing Kamelot’s rather expansive kit. By this point, the venue was maybe a quarter full. Due to the lack of hot bodies jumping around, it was rather chilly in the venue and I was struggling to keep warm. I definitely think Kamelot were being just a little ambitious when booking such a large venue; had they been at the O2 Academy in Islington, it would have been practically sold out. Eventually, Kamelot came onto the stage, one member at a time. They opened with Rule The World, which would have been okay had the sound actually been decent. The show of lights was wonderful, but that really isn’t the point of a gig, is it? A few songs in, the sound improved and the crowd (small as they were) were making a lot of noise and singing along. Despite the blinding halogen lights flashing in their faces every millisecond, they seemed to be enjoying it. Seven songs in, they slowed it right down with a ballad off of their newest album, which really sounded like it should be in a Disney movie. Song For Jolee was hardly bearable, and to make it even worse, Tommy Karevik said (and I quote directly) “Let me see your lighters. I want to see all the screens from your mobile phones!”. Really? REALLY? After this catastrophe came the drum solo. Now, I do like watching a talented drummer show off his skills, but this was just taking the piss. This drum solo was more of a “watch how fast I can play my kick drums” than anything else, and to top it all off, Casey Grillo finished by bashing his cymbals with his fists. I was half hoping one of the cymbals would split and cut his hand open, as that would have been far more entertaining than what he was actually playing. The next few songs were okay, not to my personal taste, but the crowd enjoyed it. The penultimate ‘song’ was in fact a keyboard solo. This baffled me slightly as it really did not fit the mood. They finished with Forever, which was played well, and at the end the band just walked off. Chants of “KAMELOT” coaxed the band back on stage for their encore, which included a bass solo. This truly was a gig of firsts for me, because I have never seen anyone include a bass solo in a set, never mind an encore, and I had never seen anyone try to play a bass as if they were soloing on a guitar. The final song of the night was March of Mephisto, with a guest singer. I am still not sure who he was, but he seemed to add loads of energy to the band for their final song.

I had gone into this gig with a completely open mind, with no prejudice or bias towards any of the bands, but I was highly disappointed. The venue was too big for how many tickets had been sold, the sound was awful and the lights were, frankly, too bright. The last time I was at the HMV Forum, I was there to see Cannibal Corpse and Triptykon, and I could barely move.


Sophiey Cherry

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