Live: Kamelot in New York City

When Kamelot announced a tour in North America with Sonata Arctica and Battle Beast nearly every person in the New York City metal scene was present. Familiar faces packed the soon to be closed Playstation Theater. This sold-out event was even bigger than the Irving Plaza show back in April of 2018. The first band to take the stage is the power metal band from Helsinki, Finland, Battle Beast. Lead vocalist Noora Louhimo wowed the audience with an eight-song set. Her solid vocals have a blend of hard rock and power metal with a melodic appeal. Imagine Pat Benetar with Dio and you have Noora who not only interacts with her public but always seems humble every time she\’s onstage. With songs like \”Straight to the Heart\” and \”King for a Day\” are already considered a cornerstone in the bands sound. Battle Beast is pushing their latest album \”No More Hollywood Endings\”. The short but bombastic setlist only teases the audience and talks of the audience wanting to headline have been heard. The next band on the bill was the Finnish Power Metal band Sonata Arctica who are on the road in support of their newest album Talviyö. Again the setlist was short but interesting. Taking a page from Iron Maiden\’s 2006 Tour by playing mostly new material this is probably the first time seeing Sonata Arctica not do the usual classics. However, we got to hear them open with the anthemic song \”A Little Less Understanding\”. Their performance of the soldiering song \”Cold\” was just as precise as the album. \”Storm the Armada” showed  more of the prog side of the band and we get to hear the drums show more of its offbeats during the live set. The 80-ish sounding \’Who Failed the Most\” has become the most popular song on the album and hearing it live is a must-see.  Sonata Arctica which was formed in 1995 and after 24 years they seem to be ready to step in a new direction with the new material and beyond. Sonata Arctica never disappoints especially having a lead vocalist in the form of Tony Kakko. The passionate vocalist always shows his emotions on stage not only through music but in his message reminding the audience of the importance of instruments and song structure. The man of music has championed music education in a climate where it seems music today has become more formulaic. There is always something new with Sonata and one can never predict what is coming next. A breath of fresh air for sure. The headliners who are equally impressive has been around for over 25 years. The 15 song set covered much of the history of the band and like the previous mention,  Kamelot too is on tour promoting a new  album \”The Shadow Theory\”. This evening we got to see Kamelot at the Playstation Theater for the first time. The sound system of this soon to be closed venue fitted so well with Tommy Karevik and company. Many were also excited to see a guest musicians. Kamelot who are known to share the stage with others has been a staple throughout this tour. Opening the evening with Lauren Hart was pleasant to hear and her closing the evening as well triggered a positive response from the audience. She sang the song\”Phantom Divine\” from the Shadow Empire album. She also did spot other songs such as \”Veil of Elsium\” and closed out the night with her sharing vocal duties on \”March of Mephisto\” and \”Liar Liar\” One of the larger pops of the evening was Noora Louhimo doing \”Sacrimony\” which really shows the songwriting of Palotai, Paeth, Youngblood, and Karevik. Live you can see the humble nature of the group and see them feed off each other during songs such as \”Center of the Universe\” as they segue into the keyboard and drum solo and leading with Noora on vocals showed not only musical prowess but a sense of security in a business that is mostly dominated by men. The world can learn from Kamelot. This long tour has been going since 2018 and one can only wonder what is next in store from the band that always delivers. -Anya Svirskaya