Thursday, October 20, 2011

Opeth with Katatonia at the Burton Cummings Theater - Oct. 8th, 2011

In my youth, I listened to a good number of doomy metal bands. I say "doomy" because labeling them as simply "doom metal" might stir up some unwanted discussions about the sub-genres or the sub-sub-genres that a band might cover in their career. Katatonia is one of these doomy bands that I thoroughly enjoyed in my earlier years. Sometimes bordering on alternative rock with their softer, yet dreary frame of music, they still put me in a grey place that appealed to me.

So I sat with my significant other, Kent, on the first balcony to the right of the stage and absorbed Katatonia's rugged and dark sound. They played songs from the Great Cold Distance, and even one of my old favourites "I Break". Their sound is inspired, yet had the alacrity to make me feel lethargic. Not really Kent's cup of tea, which is why it surprised me that he wanted to go.

As for stage presence, their vocalist passionately gripped the mic and stand the entire set, but sang his heart out, despite the vocals being light and almost whispy, as apposed to thundering and powerful. Their string players all had their unique way to bang their heads, sometimes pulling their whole bodies into it. This was not a band to mosh to. The member I was most impressed with was their drummer, who played impressively and was never overbearing with the snare that is sometimes a trademark of a drummer.

Encore, Bow. Now for Opeth.

I missed my chance to see Opeth years ago, but now I was excited to see them in this befitting auditorium that would ignite their sound and create a death doom atmosphere. Before the show began, I ran into a fellow fan I had met at Gigan and Grave (for a later post) and we happily discussed what they might play. Our predictions were heavier songs: Demon of the Fall, The Leper Affinity, anything from Still Life, Masters Apprentices, Baying of the Hounds and of course some softer acoustic tracks.... How wrong we were.

Almost half of their tracks were of course from their latest album, Heritage. By the third track, Face of Melinda, I could tell this was a no gutteral gig. No death metal, seldom heavy riffage, but somehow still riveting. Their set lasted almost two solid hours, and I was aching to stand up by their encore, Folklore. I must say, I was a little disappointed, merely because I expected Mikael to throw in some of his fine vocal gymnastics between his raging gutteral and his beautiful soft vocals. Maybe next time?

No pictures this time, and I'm glad I didn't dish out the extra money to get on the small floor the Burton Cummings offers. Mikael is a charming fellow, and I do wish I could have spoken to him, but Opeth is too big an act for just anyone to catch up with them at their tour bus.

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