Billed as The Nocturnal Mourning Tour, headliners Moonspell, Sweden's Katatonia (making their first ever US appearance), and North Carolina's Daylight Dies are bringing to America a blend of gothic, doom, and death metal to hungry audiences. Sea of Tranquility was at both New York area shows-Ken Pierce at BB King's in New York City, and Pete Pardo at The Loft in Poughkeepsie.
Read on for their coverage of both shows!
Ken Pierce-The flyers and announcements listed this event as "The Nocturnal Mourning Tour", and I could think of no better title for a tour that brought Gothic Metal masters Moonspell to the stage. Daylight Dies and Katatonia, the latter a band who had never made it over to the states before, would join the band. The event would take place at B.B. King Blues Club on 10/22/2006, and according to comments by the band, they were happy to be at a venue that was run with a level of professionalism they had not seen since the beginning of the tour. Here is how some of the night went down along with details on the opening bands sets.
Daylight Dies: I caught this Candlelight Records act as the opener for Emperor when they performed at this very same spot and I have to admit that I feel this is a band that will not be relegated to the third slot on a bill for very much longer. The Emperor shows were jam-packed but there were only a couple of them, which made this a better night for the band as a whole since this would find them on a full US tour. Their set would be shorter than people who were getting into them would care to have happen, but a good amount of the material would come from their release Dismantling Devotion, its an album that fans of the Gothic meets Stoner Doom will definitely appreciate. I look forward to seeing them once again and can only say that they will impress many more fans in the future. Of this, I am very confident. The audience also found the members of this group wandering about the club to meet with them and to shake hands, always a nice idea at this stuff.
Katatonia: Now was the time to catch Katatonia, a band who like so many others has never made their way across the ocean to perform here – until now! They would be supporting their latest release entitled The Great Cold Distance, and despite the fact that this would be their first jaunt to these parts, the audience was ready and excited for them and their set. This Swedish Doom band has been around since 1991 and based on the level of melancholy in their overall sound touches heavily on the Gothic angle being showcased tonight. The group mixes clean and dark vocals together very well, and seems to be sticking more with the clean sound on the new release. The Great Cold Distance is an excellent recording and has a large diversity to it that should allow them to maintain a greater audience should their return be any time soon. The interesting thing about them that I first thought was just bad photo luck, was the fact that singer Jonas Renkse almost always conceals his face with his hair or hands. They were impressive and very memorable which surprised me to come away with this idea since I was so unfamiliar with their music and band as a whole. There is a very solid groove happening that just goes through you at times, the band delivering heavy riff after heavy riff without being worried about blistering speed. Metal is clearly a state of mind and Katatonia has what it takes to return here in a very big way.
Moonspell: Supporting their recent SPV Records release Memorial, Moonspell returns to the headlining stage after almost four years of absence from these shores. According to comments, this set of gigs had not started out that well and they lamented their most recent experiences. They were very happy to find a venue that was run like a clock on their third outing. As headliners of "The Nocturnal Mourning" tour Moonspell would command the stage in presence as much as musically. Far different from the opening acts of the night, this Portuguese Gothic Metal act shows why they are considered one of the best in the genre. Memorial has been getting rave reviews across the board with many writers finding this to be the bands defining moment in terms of song writing and musical style that is contained on the release. Tonight as a result of the acclaim and to help influence the masses more about the album a large portion of the set would be focused on this particular album, but of course they would not leave out numbers considered to be "classics" among their fan base. Singer Fernando, is one of the great showmen in Gothic Metal, and he seems to feed off the energy that the crowd gives off like some Dark Metal vampire. As the band begins amidst the rolling clouds of smoke, Fernando appears in his stage outfit and a long, sinister cape. I always enjoy seeing a front man like this, for he is one of those who is very commanding on the stage and pulls the energy right out of you. You can feel it happening like a surge of electricity that is leaving your very core and still you scream for more. Their sound tonight would be incredible and while very imposing when it needed to be it was at other instances quite subtle. He spoke to the crowd on a number of occasions and always stressed at how grateful he and the band were for the support of the audience through their career. Of the memorable moments one struck me most when he mentioned being influenced by bands like Type-O-Negative (their SPV Records label mates) where from knowing them comes to the creation of songs like "Sanguine".
If true Gothic Metal is what makes your blood run boiling then you should do well to check out Moonspell should they return to your area anytime in the future.
Pete Pardo-Seeing semi-major acts at small clubs in rural areas sometimes can be a little trying and a real test for your stamina. Case in point, the October 20th appearance of The Nocturnal Mourning show at The Chance's Loft club in Poughkeepsie. Now, The Chance in itself is a nice sized venue that can probably hold about 800-1000 people when filled to capacity. For some reason this show was booked at it's smaller room next door called The Loft, which is essentially that, a small "loft" styled bar/club that at best holds a few hundred people. When few tickets for this gig were probably sold, the club booked another three local bands to open up for the main acts in hopes of drawing some local fans. It made for a very long night of metal to say the least.
After the three local openers, Daylight Dies took the tiny stage. This doom/death metal band from down South played a short but thrilling set of songs from their Candlelight Records debut Dismantling Devotion, and the crowd ate it up. Their style of music recalls early Katatonia, Amorphis, and Opeth, with growling vocals and heavy, mid-tempo guitar riffs. If you haven't yet heard this solid album, and you like the bands I just mentioned, you might want to pick up a copy, as I think big things are in store for them in the years to come.
Katatonia came out to a huge reaction from the 200 or so people in attendance, as it was clear that the majority of the fans came out to see them in their first US appearance. In fact, I had a chance to speak with a few people in attendance, many of them came as far as Connecticut, Brooklyn, and other parts of the New York City area to see this show, regardless of the fact that they were playing at BB Kings later that weekend. Playing mostly songs from The Great Cold Distance and Viva Emptiness, but also throwing in a song from their great album Brave Yesterdays, the band were tight, had great sound, and really had the crowd in the palm of their hands, thanks to the alluring vocal work of singer Jonas Renske. When the band ripped into songs like "My Twin" and "Ghost of the Sun", the audience went nuts, and it really seems like this Swedish band has what it takes to break here in the US. After a near hour long set the band left the stage, but it was obvious the crowd wanted more.
Surprisingly, but then again perhaps not as it was after 1:00AM, many in attendance left the club before Moonspell came on. The band was already grumbling earlier to people inthe crowd that they were booked to the smaller Loft and not the The Chance itself (a Queen tribute band had the slot that evening), so it was noticeable the band was irritated that they went on to a smaller audience that was around for the majority of the night, and in addition their sound was very muddy compared to Katatonia. Lead singer Fernando, despite all his posing and mugging to the audience, was hard to hear, and the guitars and drums were way too loud. Still, those still in attendance loved every minute of it, as the band tore into tunes from their Memorial as well as past favorites, delivering their brand of gothic flavored doom metal with a Latin flair.
Overall, a pretty decent night, but not a very good venue for a show like this. The band's had no room to move on the tiny stage, and the acoustics of the place are not meant to house acts of this caliber. Plus, the tolerance level of metal fans to sit through six bands in cramped quarters over a span of about six hours is questionable, not matter how much beer they are drinking.
Moonspell Set List
Upon The Blood
Official Web site: www.moonspell.com
Official Web site: www.daylightdies.com
Official Web site: www.katatonia.com