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Katatonia - September 14, 2010 - Peabody's Down Under, Cleveland, OH

By: Dan Barkasi

Katatonia, in its resplendent live glory...

When this tour was announced, the lineup instantly screamed potential tour of the year. Swedish masters of the melancholic Katatonia, supporting their most recent release Night Is the New Day, are one of the better live bands on the circuit. Their raw power and sophisticated atmospheres have made them a band not to miss. Add Swallow the Sun, one of the most underrated bands going, and Israeli masterminds Orphaned Land, who are most definitely have a sound unto their own. This had the makings of a hell of a tour and a really good time for those who came out.

Orphaned Land were the opening act, which goes to show how good a tour is when these guys are beginning the night. They performed a brief – but phenomenal – set that included a solid mix of their four full-length releases. The band purveyed a fun and energetic demeanor, as every single member was enjoying themselves while putting on a bombastic set. A lot may question how a band with such complex music comes off live. Orphaned Land proved any potential skeptics wrong, with their intricate tunes translating very well to the stage. Frontman Kobi Farhi had the crowd in the palm of his hand, as everybody clapped and sang along with consistency. It was also very cool to be able to see them in front of so many people at Wacken 2010, and then see them at a smaller club. Both performances were great, and this is a band that will always be worth the price of admission alone.

Swallow the Sun followed, who is a band of which this writer has seen a good number of times. They’ve yet to disappoint, and this night was no exception. This was the second time the band have supported Katatonia in North America, and they really are a perfect compliment to the show stylistically. They played some material from their latest New Moon (no Twilight relation, naturally), and they came off fantastic. Swallow the Sun always puts on a doomy, emotion-filled show, and their set was the perfect lead in to the mighty Katatonia. Would definitely love to see them headline someday, as they’d thrive even more given extra time.

Katatonia was next up, and the anticipation had been brimming the entire night. This would be my third time seeing them, and if the two previous times seeing them said anything, everybody attending was in for a treat. This proved to be exactly that. The Swedish kings of melancholy forged through a lengthy set, with a good number of tracks from their latest being featured. The band didn’t venture past Discouraged Ones, which worked fine. It was nice to hear a set where the band played nothing but songs from their melodic era instead of their death/doom days. Not that those works aren’t mind-boggling, but they also played some songs that yours truly has never witnessed, which sat extremely well. [Ed. note - the run of "Teargas," "Omerta," and "Saw You Drown" was pure glory] By the end of the set, everybody was clamoring for more – a true sign of a great show. This was certainly the best show I have seen the band play, as every member was so into it that you could see it in every motion. Katatonia is on the top of their game – both recorded and live – and anybody who remotely enjoys them would be remiss to not see them on stage.

This tour was a huge success. All of the bands had wonderful shows, and everybody seemed to have a fantastic time. A great tour package loaded with spot-on performances equated to a flawless concert experience. All of these bands are running on all cylinders, and if you missed this tour, massive shame on you! You skipped out on a memorable experience to be sure. No fan of any of these bands could catch them enough.


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