ARTmania Festival 2010 – Day One: Swallow the Sun, Kamelot, the sisters of mercy

On Friday, 13th of August, the officialconcerts team left for Sibiu in the early morning, this being our first trip in this formula (me and Sonja as reporters, Radhoo as photographer). We were looking forward to reach the festival area and to attend the press conferences and, of course, the shows.

In one of the hottest days of this year’s summer, we reached Sibiu with the concrete boiling at our feet (I had the sensation that we could easily make fried eggs on it). But, let’s stick to the music.

Unfortunately, we missed the press conference of sisters of mercy that was held on Thursday so Swallow the Sun’s was the first one we attended. Mikko Kotamäki, Juha Raivio&co were in a good disposition, with long smiles on their faces and they responded gladly to our questions related to their last album, “New Moon”, their plans for the future, touring and more. Detailed infos will be available on a special article dedicated to this press conference.

The next conference was Kamelot’s and the guys gave some details about the show, their new album, but the conference was a little bit short due to the heat that was still growing – so we moved to the interviews (one article with Casey Grillo coming soon as well).

Around 7 PM, when the sun was finally giving us some room to breathe and the people were starting to gather near the scene where Swallow the Sun would start the first concert from ARTmania 2010. I first discovered them with the Hope album (2007) and I was pretty happy when I found out that they will play at the festival. The band didn’t had a big audience, their music being somehow hard to digest for the large majority of rock listeners, but they had some fans that sang the lyrics of the songs they performed (I have to mention Don’t fall asleepNew Moon,Descending wintersSwallow). The interpretation was very good and I was more than glad to find my favorite songs in their playlist. I heard a lot of positive opinions after Swallow the Sun’s show, so I’m convinced that they have gained new fans and made some nice moments for their older ones.

Swallow the Sun photo gallery

After a short break, the stage was decorated with a huge Kamelot banner and more and more people were rallying to see the legendary power metal band. Oliver and Casey were the ones that entered first on the stage in the applauses of the metalheads. Rule the world was the song that opened their show and all the audience was cheering when Roy Khan entered the scene in his long black costume. The overall sound for the first two songs wasn’t so good, with the guitar and the voice being too low.  The problems were improved but Khan’s voice remained somehow too low for all the duration of the show. Also, there were some strange echoes at the higher vocal notes. However, despite these inconveniences, it’s really a pleasure to watch this band live. They have a great energy, Khan is a great frontman which communicates a lot with the fans and his voice it’s amazing when it’s used at full capacity; Sean has integrated perfectly in the band since Glenn Barry stepped down from the band last year in December; Oliver offers cool keyboard moments while Casey performs his pieces with dedication. And I’ve always liked Thomas Youngblood as a guitar player.

The band had a backing vocal – Elize from the Sweedish metal band Amaranthe and she was a nice presence. The setlist was diverse starting with songs from “Ghost opera”: The human stain, Ghost opera, Season’s end and continuing with songs from their future release, Poetry for the Poisoned: The great pandemonium and their classical hits: When the lights are down, The Haunting, Center of the universe, Karma. The band returned for one more song after insistencies from the audience. Two girls appeared on the stage with two drums and March of Mephisto started, closing the show of a band that is of a great influence in the power metal area and which I wanted too see for a few years now.

Kamelot photo gallery

With a bit of delay due to the extended Kamelot show, the stage was covered with lots of people that were working to put together the equipments, lights and other stuff for the headliners, the sisters of mercy. This band is a legend in the gothic rock area due to their albums release at the end mid of the 80’s – first half of the 90’s. They are still very faithful to their original style and for the live performances they only have two guitar players among the only remaining original member, Andrew Eldrith and the drum machine called Doktor Avalanche – now being moved to custom-built laptop. Their shows involve a lot of smoke, the members being covered almost the entire show, little communication with their audience – all the things that could make an artist being labeled as “eccentric”. Some people left after the Kamelot show, but the sisters of mercy had their fans which were familiar with their songs and live performances. Their playlist included First, Last and always, Dominion, We Are the Same, Suzanne or This corrosion.

the sisters of mercy photo gallery

As an overview, the first day of ARTmania festival 2010 offered a great opening act – Swallow the Sun, a Kamelot show that could have been great without the various problems (but still being a nice experience) and a unique chance to check out a cult band for gothic rock – the sisters of mercy.

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