“It’s going to get dark here in Atlanta tonight. Let your inner beast out when the lights are down.”
Burly leathered-jacketed men and groups of goth girls alike throw their fists into the air, energized by this proclamation of freedom. Cue “When the Lights are Down,” Kamelot’s best-known song off their 2005 album The Black Halo. A heavily synthed guitar plays a short intro, quickly joined by deafeningly-fast drums and bass, before lead singer Tommy Karevik comes in with his surprisingly rich and powerful voice, lamenting about destiny, delusion, love and loss.
Kamelot is a power metal band a few years shy of thirty years old, and still going strong. Their live show is one of the few that manages to far surpass their recorded studio discography, replete with elaborate stage pieces (metal boards, elevated platforms), chugging smoke machines, and engaging performances, as pounding bass shakes the floor and draws the crowd in further.
I took a moment to look back upon the crowd behind me that had significantly grown since the openers had taken the stage, and couldn’t help but smile when I saw a young girl– 4, maybe 5 years old– sitting on her dad’s shoulders, dancing with her fists up in the air just like everyone else in the venue, a huge grin plastered onto her face. Though my dad was the one who introduced me to some of my favorite bands, I never got to share an experience like this one with him. It struck me that, despite the reputation that power metal gets as a genre, anyone, regardless of age or gender, can enjoy it. It only takes a bit of extra time and a sense of adventure to end up at one of these shows; you’ll be in for a treat.