Monday, April 16th was an extremely cold Spring day for Louisville, KY. In fact, waiting in line at the Mercury Ballroom for the Kamelot, Delain, and Battle Beast tour, meant waiting in cold, wet, snow. It was rumored that a band was late arriving to the venue, causing the VIP Meet & Greet to be delayed, delaying the opening of doors and causing fans to damn near freeze outside. Once the doors were opened and everyone warmed up, the mood in the venue reached a rather cheery one. Recently moved to Nashville, TN, this was my first trip out to Louisville for a metal show, and consequently, my first time at the Mercury Ballroom. It is a rather small and intimate venue, but surprisingly clean and well-staffed, with friendly people from the box office to the bar.
Louisville, KY had the honor of being the opening day for the 2018 North American Tour, continuing until mid-May. Kicking off the night was one of the fastest rising Finnish heavy/power metal bands, Battle Beast, fronted by a true metal powerhouse of a woman, Noora Louhimo. This was my first time seeing the band and I was completely blown away from their first song to their last. The presence Noora had on stage is incredible; there were times I felt as if I was watching a female Rob Halford tearing it up a few inches away from me; and the energy put off by the rest of the band was just as catching. All smiles, they were a fantastic way to kick off the night. If you are a fan of Sabaton, check this band out
Now, as a power metal fan in the United States, I am no stranger to Delain’s live shows. It seems as if the band is on every major power metal tour that runs over here, so I have seen them (I think) at least five times. They’ve never fully grabbed my attention, either on record or live; however, something felt different on this cold, spring night. The mood and the energy coursing from the stage felt dark, the lighting was dramatic and flooded with a deep red, instead of their usual white and happy vibes. The songs were more diverse than the typical set list I’ve heard from them. From a band that is characteristically all smiles and giggles, they were rather serious and ‘still’ in their performance. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, in fact, this set was probably the most impressive I’ve seen of theirs, almost as if they are taking their music a bit more seriously.
Kamelot, on the heels of their Amazon chart-topping, 2018 release of ‘The Shadow Theory’, headlined the night, opening with the live debut of “Phantom Divine”. Playing a rich playlist full of tracks from ‘Haven’ and a smattering of their previous releases, vocalist Tommy Karevik (also of Seventh Wonder) nailed each song with his dramatic stage presence and perfect voice. Surprising the audience, a few of the tracks featured an appearance from guest vocalist Lauren Hart (also of Once Human) providing strong, harsh vocals. Notably, this was the first live show featuring the band’s newest addition, drummer Johan Nunez (Firewind) who seemed to fit right in with the band and performed perfectly.
This was a fantastic show all around; despite the doors being late, the bands and crews did a great job of moving the show along right on time. Make sure to keep an eye out for this tour as it is probably coming to your city, or near enough for a road trip! Trust me, it’s worth traveling for!