Sunday, October 22, 2006
BB King's Bar and Grill
New York City, NY USA
* Review and live photos by Shaq
Throughout the past few years, the United States has been given the gift of many bands coming over and touring with an increasing frequency. Bands that could never financially justify a trek throughout the States can now come over and play for their fans all across the country. This tour offers nothing less than that, a package of three bands, one of which has never touched American soil, save two festival appearances. One other is native, and the last has been here before, but never in this scale. Being a longtime Katatonia fan, I was ecstatic when I found out they’d be doing a full U.S. tour, and the fact that they were opening for metal veterans Moonspell only sweetened the deal. Needless to say this was among my most anticipated shows of the year.
I admit that going into the show I had not heard anything by Daylight Dies, but I went in with an open mind, knowing that Moonspell handpicked them to be on the tour. Not knowing the music beforehand, I can’t provide any clues as to the setlist they played, but I can tell you that I was pleasantly surprised by their set. They played a unique hybrid of melodic death and doom metal that came across very well live. The band was energetic and it seemed that a lot of the crowd was very into them. This was definitely an ideal tour package for them to begin to get exposure to a wider audience around the country, myself included.
Now it was the time I’d been waiting for. I got down in the photo pit and prepared for the entrance of one of my favorite bands. I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as the setlist, but assumed it would be chock full of cuts from their latest masterpiece, THE GREAT COLD DISTANCE. However, I was pleasantly surprised once again when the majority of their setlist was a wide spread of their “new” (read: from DISCOURAGED ONES on) material. They opened with “Leaders” and “Soil’s Song” off of THE GREAT COLD DISTANCE, and those would be the last they’d play from the album until the end. Unfortunately, the sound during these songs was absolutely atrocious. The only audible instrument was the bass, which totally overpowered everything else. Given the close proximity of the photo pit to the stage, this made for a somewhat painful experience. After each song, the entire crowd yelled to the sound engineer, imploring him to fix the levels. Luckily, he complied and the sound got undeniably better within the next few songs.
Another nice surprise was that the audience was really into Katatonia. They were headbanging, raising the horns, screaming out song names, the works. Of course, I was doing exactly the same, singing along to every song in a state of euphoria that they had finally made it over here. One other great thing about this tour was that each band was given a long slot, regardless of their placement. Katatonia wasn’t forced into playing an abbreviated set just because they needed to make room for the headlining band. In fact, they were on stage for about an hour, which is unheard of for an opening band at most shows.
Katatonia went through a setlist full of fan favorites from various albums, even one from BRAVE MURDER DAY to close out the set, and send the crowd into a frenzy. The highlights of the set for me were “Teargas,” “Evidence,” and “Tonight’s Music,” being some of my all time favorite Katatonia tracks, but the entire set was brilliantly constructed. All in all, I could’ve watched Katatonia play all night and still not have heard enough. Hopefully the band gets enough pull after this tour to return to this country and make it a regular thing. Needless to say, I will be traveling to more stops of this tour to see them again.
For My Demons
Ghost Of The Sun
Last but certainly not least were the main act of the night, Portuguese gothic metal veterans Moonspell. This tour is in support of their new album, MEMORIAL, which is a departure from their typical style, losing some of the dark melody in favor of pure aggression. However, this isn’t an album review, so I’ll skip the full assessment of the disc. I’ve seen Moonspell multiple times in the past, but given the heaviness of the new album, I expected an entirely different kind of show from them, especially since they could now play a longer set and mix in more material. This time, I was right.
Moonspell played many cuts from MEMORIAL, including “In Memoriam,” “Finisterra,” “Memento Mori,” “Sanguine,” and others. I had been told that on the two nights prior to our show that by the time Moonspell hit the stage, many people had already piled out of the venue, largely due to an excess of local acts opening the show. This had unfortunately given Moonspell a bit of a sour taste in their mouths before our show, which would soon be cleansed once they saw our crowd. Some did indeed leave after Katatonia, but the crowd that remained for their set was nothing to be scoffed at. In addition, everyone there was totally into the music, singing along and showing Moonspell that they do indeed have a good following in the States.
This became even more evident as they busted out their classics from their growing catalog, such as “Opium,” “Vampiria,” “Full Moon Madness,” and “Alma Mater.” By the end of their set, they had touched upon WOLFHEART, IRRELIGIOUS, DARKNESS AND HOPE, and MEMORIAL, and when they left the stage I was left wondering why they hadn’t played a single track off their last album, THE ANTIDOTE. However, Moonspell wasn’t done with us.
Actually I should rephrase that – New York City wasn’t done with Moonspell. The two nights prior to our show, Moonspell hadn’t done an encore, but that simply wasn’t an option here. After their departure from the stage, the chants from the crowd left them with little choice but to return for an encore. Of course they complied, and openly stated that this was the first encore of the tour, and that they considered this the first real night of the tour. It was awesome seeing them on stage totally in their element and happy to be there, knowing that New York City had, over the course of their set, totally reversed their outlook on the tour. The encore consisted of two songs. First was the classic “Mephisto,” which was followed up by an energetic rendition of “Capricorn At Her Feet” to close off the night.
Moonspell is a band that has been struggling to gain exposure and success in the United States and with this tour has come on with full force to do just that. They are without a doubt at the top of their game, putting on the best live show I’ve ever seen them do, full of energy and excitement. My only suggestion to anyone is go see as many shows on this tour as you can, as I know I am going to do without hesitation. All three bands provide a more than enjoyable evening of metal that will not soon be forgotten. Go out and support some of the best acts in metal, and keep them coming back!
I would like to thank Dave at Earsplit PR and Paula Hogan from Candlelight Records USA for the Photo Pass
Moonspell Official Site
Katatonia Official Site
Daylight Dies Official Site