Venue: Café Campus
Opening band: Stolen Babies
I'm extremely busy because of college these days, so I was originally planing on paying my entry to this show at the door, but I changed my mind and bought a ticket before going to see Obituary last week, which was an excellent decision. Indeed, the 600 people capacity venue was sold out two days before the concert; a pretty rare event for 18+ shows. The show also started very early (a bit after 6:00 pm) due to the venue becoming a douchey night club at 11:00, so by the time I got there it was already past strating time and there was still a huge line-up outside. When I finally got in, Stolen Babies had already played through half of their set. They played some kind of wierd metal with a female vocalist/accordionist switching between a creepy clean voice to raspy screams. The visual aspect of the band was pretty cool: they all had black suits and makeup, and they had a percussionist with a huge setup and plenty of objects to make noise with (though he didn't add that much to the band's music). However, they were a bit disappointing musically. It felt like they were trying to be avant-garde, but they still had really basic song structures and riffs and the accordion wasn't exploited enough in my opinion. They had a good concept, but I would have liked it more if they pushed it further.
The next band was the british gothic metal pioneers Paradise Lost. I had discovered them four years ago with the album In Requiem
and immediately fell in love. I always felt like Greg Mackintosh's riffs and Nick Holmes' voice both had some indescriptible thing that no other band has. So, for about 4 years, I had been dreaming of them to play here and they finally did. They were absolutely fantastic; they were heavy, melodic and intense, but still, I was disappointed by a few things. First, they had sound problems, which made the beautiful opener from 1995's Draconian Times
sound very muddy and also made them lose a lot of time. This is presumably why they cut out their classic "As I Die" from the set.
Also, most people in the room didn't seem to know them, which I found surprising, considering the legendary status they have. I think that, just like me, the band felt like their long awaited return to North America wasn't as huge as they thought it would be.
My frustration was short lived, because Paradise Lost was followed by one of my all time favourite bands: Katatonia. In contrast with the previous band, they had crystal clear sound, as always. Everything was super-heavy and you could hear every subtle element. Jonas never ceases to impress me with his spot on vocal performances (the backing vocals by both guitarists sounded great too). Also, the band always has great live energy; they're always headbanging and smiling to the crowd. They look like they wouldn't want to be anywhere else than on stage playing to us. The song selection was pretty good too. It was some kind of "best of... + new songs" set. The four tunes from the new record Dead End Kings
(that I bought after the show; the artwork/layout is one of the best I've seen!) sounded absolutely amazing, especially "The Racing Heart". Other highlights were "Deadhouse" and the finale with the crushing "Leaders" ended by the riff of Entombed's "Demon". My only disappointments were that they didn't play "The Parting", which I hope they do on their next tour, and that they dropped "Walking by a Wire".
After such an emotional performance, I was starving so I went for some pizza, which was delicious and came back in time for Devin Townsend. At first, I was pissed that he was playing after one of my favourite bands and that he was breaking the melancholic, dark mood of the concert with his goofy attitude and over-cheesy songs, but the canadian workaholic/musician and his bandmates made me change my mind as soon as he started. After making us wait while playing videos such as badgers
on the screen in the back of the stage, they opened with two songs from the 1997 Ocean Machine album Biomech
. Those songs set the mood for the rest of the show. It was going to be heavy (especially during "Planet of the Apes" and "Kingdom"), catchy and, mostly, fun. Devin never stopped making hilarious faces, moves and comments to the crowd, while playing some ridiculous videos on the screen. For example, in "Planet of the Apes", there was a puppet yelling the lyrics and drumming retardly in front of the cover of BTBAM's The Great Misdirect
. He also made fun of Meshuggah with the puppet playing tatally random notes. Another funny thing was that there was some kind of techno event downstairs at the Petit Campus and Devy made us rave dance to the bass we felt through the floor. Devin Townsend is simply the most entertaining musician ever. Even if you're not a fan of his music, you wont get bored for a second. Even if he was supposed to stop by 10:30, he decided to ignore the curfew and play "Bad Devil"; the perfect song to end this great evening.
Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us
In This We Dwell
Say Just Words
The Longest Year
The Racing Heart
Devin Townsend Project
Where We Belong
Planet of the Apes