Venue: Cabaret du Mile End
Other bands playing: Imminent Sonic Destruction, Heaven's Cry
Tour: North American Tour 2013
At first, I was scared that this show wouldn't happen, because Pain of Salvation's mainman, Daniel Gildenlöw, had gotten very sick and had to go to the hospital and cancel the Quebec City date the day before. This sucked because the bands all traveled there for nothing (even Heaven's Cry who were also playing that gig). Fortunately, a few hours before the show, the band confirmed that it would happen on facebook by reminding us that the show had changed venues; it was originally supposed to happen at Foufounes Électriques. This concert was actually my way to celebrate the end of my semester at university: my last exam ended at 6:30 and the show started at 7:00. Though, it didn't exactly happen like that; I finished my exam early and got the time to go buy my ticket for the Rotten Sound gig and went to eat, taking my time and relaxing, which made me miss the opening act, Imminent Sonic Destruction, a prog band from Detroit. I got there right in time to hear the opening notes to Kingcrow's first song. It was my first time at the Mile End Cabaret and I was fairly impressed: the place was clean, beautiful and had a really cool, cozy ambience. Thus, it was pretty large, with a lot of chairs and tables all over the place and a small dancefloor in the middle, and the sound was really well balanced. In other words, not a metal venue.
The Italian progsters Kingcrow were pretty good. I had never heard about them before this tour was announced, but I enjoyed what I saw and heard. What struck me was that the guys were alle typically italian: the guitarist had the cliché semi-long dark brown hair and the mustache and the vocalist kept making those over-expressive theatrical/sensual poses, moves and facial expressions. At some points, it got hilarious. Nonetheless, they were good musicians and the crowd was pretty enthusiastic to them. However, they played for about 45 minutes and, around the 2-3 last songs I started getting bored. I just think that their riffs are a bit too ordinary and the emotional parts did absolutely nothing to me. Though, I have to say I was impressed by their bassist's creative lines, even if he stayed in his corner and didn't move at all, that guy is a pro.
The next band, Heaven's Cry, wasn't on tour with Pain of Salvation, but were playing on both Quebec shows. They're a local prog/power metal band, featuring Éric from Despised Icon on guitar, that released two albums in the 90's and recently made their apparently unnoticed comeback on Prosthetic Records. They don't play the kind of music I normally like, but they're a good live band. I had seen them open for Katatonia in 2011 and they had improved this time. Their songs were epic and cheesy like any band that has anything to do with power metal, but to a moderately enjoyable level. They were pretty heavy, the bassist/guitarist vocal duo was impeccable and they had some great arrangements in some songs. My favourite parts were when they combined Pierre's stellar accoustic sounding melodies with Éric's metallic riffing. The only thing I have to fault them at is that all the keyboard parts were played from the PA and that brought out some problems when the samples didn't work as planned. Anyway, a lot of friends (and the drummer's family, who were all at least 70 years old) were there to see them and all seemed to have a blast.
After the local band finished playing, it was time for the swedish progressive musical explorers Pain of Salvation to take the stage by storm. Yet, even if they're so fast at changing time signatures and musical styles, they're slow as hell at changing stage setups. The changeup and soudcheck took way too long and it was very boring since I hadn't gone to this show with any of my friends and I didn't feel like talking to other people at all. At this time, I was actually starting to feel the exhaustion I had accumulated throughout my end of semester at university. From this moment up to the end of the show, I alternately felt like I was going to pass out or like I was going to puke, without having drank a single drop of alcohol. Still, I hadn't gone there and paid 25$ for nothing, so I decided to stay, go get some fresh air and drink lots of water before the headliners started, which unfortunately both did nothing to help. What did help, though, was when the band started playing. Daniel came alone, only accompanied by a backing track to sing the beautiful "Road Salt", then gestured for his bandmates to come join him and get heavy in "Softly She Cries". The venue wasn't sold out, but the floor was packed for them and I could see that the fans were ecstatic to get to see them. They fervently sang the lyrics to songs like "Linoleum", "Ashes" or "Ending Theme" and clapped their hands when they had to. After the first of the three songs I just mentionned, the keyboard died on them, so Léo bursted into an impressive drum solo (it was one of the rare times I really enjoyed a drum solo in a live set) in order to give Daniel Karlsson time to fix his gear up. Daniel Gildenlöw was still sick like a dog, but that didn't keep him from giving an entertaining, precise and honest performance. His voice failed him at some points, but he didn't let it bring him down; he just made fun of it. He kept joking about the people who sat at the right end of the venue and other stuff I can't remember; I only remember it was funny and amusing. For "1979", he switched to an acoustic guitar. This was the best part of the set, in my opinion, because all the songs were rearranged for this setting. I love it when band take on another view of their songs in live shows. "Spitfall" sounded really good in its semi-acoustic rendition, but the highlights were the rockabilly/tribal version of "Stress" and their masterfully and sensually executed jazz cover of Dio's classic "Holy Diver". Other highlights were, "Disco Queen", for which people were forced to "do the 80's dance or jump", and the epic title track to 2000's The Perfect Element
. After that one, they were called back by the frantic shouting of the crowd and played another song from the Road Salt
saga. I know they played "Falling" and "Sisters" on previous dates, but they were probably cut due to Daniel's illness, which was fine by me because I was tired as hell and wanted to go back to bed. There were also some lowlights to the show: there were too many downtimes in between the songs and it kinda broke down the intensity sometimes, but that's understandable since Daniel needed some time to catch his breath. The main inconvenience was in fact a part of the crowd. I have no idea if this is something that's particular to prog shows, since this was my first real one but there was an awful lot of disrespectful douchebags in there that never stopped talking really loud, even in the softer songs, and always tried to grab people's attention, distracting them from the performance they were trying to appreciate. The worse of them were idiots whom I know play in the prog/wankery band Trancend (just look at those two in the middle
, especially the one with the scarf - at the end I wanted to strangle him). Seriously, if you read this, keep your attention-whoring for your own shows and leave the music lovers alone. Anyway, it still was an excellent concert and a fine way to mark the end of my final exam rush. After it was over, I grabbed my bike and rode all the way back to the northern part of town under the soothing rain that was pouring - it got a bit heavy by the end, but wasn't that bad.
The Drowning Line
This Ain't Another Love Song
Fading Out Pt. III
Pain of Salvation
Softly She Cries
Diffidentia (Breaching the Core)
To the Shoreline
Holy Diver (Dio cover)
The Perfect Element