Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dark Tranquillity / Insomnium / Aurelian @ Empire 1/5/2015

I went to see Dark Tranquillity with Insomnium at Empire ($20) for the first metal show of the year (pretty early this year!)! This ended up being a very well attended show, and I saw Ariel y Ielm, James, Dwayne, Chena, D'Andre, Sean, Jason, Patricia Lynn, Annie, Chris Crazy-Wolf, Danica, Lauri, Scott, Kyler, Elyse, and Mike A.G, Dorothy, Catherine, and of course Metal Chris.

Dark Tranquillity- The Science of Melodic Death Metal

It's a MONDAY?
As I entered the parking lot, I noticed there were barely any spaces, which made me scratch my head- what was going on tonight besides this show!? Would I have to park and freeze while walking over? I lucked out and got a space and then hustled inside to discover a packed house inside Empire!

Not bad prices

Merchandise for the touring bands was nestled in the corner- the CDs were bargain priced ($10!) for DT's latest, and Insomnium's last 2. Patch was $5. Shirts were $25, Hoodies ($40), Vinyl ($10, $12), and some other small items were also available. Other locals also had a couple tables set up, but I didn't get a chance to really peruse due to Aurelian being on and socializing.

A steal for those Musics

Pretty crappy pic of Aurelian
I got there in time to hear part of 1 and the last song by Aurelian. They sounded much better than the last time I saw them. I had thought their 2nd to last song was on the PA, as I was using the restroom before entering the main room, it was that crisp! However, they were still not very exciting, as their whole doomy sound is not my cup of tea typically, but the crowd seemed into the one song I heard. Their frontman got a bit of the crowd to clap at the start of their song(!). Their sound was pretty clear (minus some feedback a couple times), and sounded about 100x better than the last time, though the vocals were still unintelligible. There were some slightly progressive/atmospheric passages that I didn't recall the previous concert which sounded really good. Overall, a way better effort than previous outings, but still too stonery for me.

The Primeval Derp

Finland's melodic death metal of Insomnium was up next, to a very vocal crowd. I was on the floor for the first several songs, all of which sounded pretty great and very clear (surprising for Empire). The last time I saw them open for Epica in 2012. I thought they sounded a little worse, but we got a way longer set, and def a lot more excited fans. The guitars in particular sounded really good, at least from where I was standing, and the vocals were a bit clearer than anticipated. They didn't play my favourite song of their "Thru the Shadows," but the songs they did play sounded solid. The crowd was mostly motionless (no moshing) save for fist pumping and some headbanging. I haven't heard their latest album enough, but their time was  enjoyable.

Insomnium was a little pretentious when they went off stage and then came back for an encore (an encore for the non headliner? c'mon guys), which was completely unnecessary. I think the crowd (and me) wanted more, but we only got this limited taste (almost an hour). Their one guitarist on the left side of the stage had a bit of trouble with his guitar strap, and it had to be reaffixed a few times.

After a somewhat short changeover, a countdown was shown on a screen (instead of a backdrop) and Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" started playing, in a slightly pretentious display. The last time I saw a countdown like this it was for Dragonforce at the 9:30 club for their Inhuman Rampage tour (they played Slayer's "Raining Blood" over the PA) or Y2J Chris Jericho's intro. After the song finished,  Swedish Gothenburg metalers Dark Tranquillity thundered on stage to a perhaps slightly less enthusiastic crowd than Insomnium. Nevertheless, the crowd was still very much into them (at least the ones on the floor, some people definitely departed early). You could feel a bit of subdued energy, as the melodic death metal after the darker Insomnium has a bit of a different vibe to it. In any event, Dark Tranquillity certainly brought it and was sounding pretty great (although a little muddy on a couple songs in the vocals, thanks sound guy), which was a good tradition for Empire to have, soundwise (thanks, sound guy!)- as there has been various examples of great bands sounding... less than stellar here.

Crowd shot w flash

Mikael Stanne

Frontman Mikael Stanne had his trademark Gothenburg Moonwalk in full force tonight. DT had a huge screen behind them which had various images, videos, and even lyrics displayed sometime on it for the entirety of their set. I'd seen similar show enhancements by Arch Enemy (Anglea era) and Within Temptation- which really makes it seem like a more high tech show. Near the end, Mikael mentioned that it was about the time many bands go off stage and come back etc., but that they weren't going to do that (perhaps a jab at Insomnium, subconsciously?) and just play the damn songs!

Note the backdrop in the front and the screen in the back

Last time, they were very good, but played 4 fewer songs (tour delays :/)- so this fuller set was totally a plus. Also, they played some different songs than the first night of this tour in NYC. They pulled out some very old or rarer songs like "Through Smudged Lenses" and "The Lesser Faith" which the crowd was really excited about. I can't say I recall them, but they sounded good. 11 of the songs were the same as last time, but a whopping 7 were different- including the excellent and speedier "The Treason Wall" from my favourite album  of theirs ("Damage Done", from which also the title track and "Black Noise..." and "Final..." were played).

In case you didn't know what song was playing
Overall, an uplifting sight to see a packed Monday night for metal at Empire- especially for more niche acts like DT and Insomnium. The energy was a bit different from say, a packed thrash show, but it was still very palatable. I may need to make sure I act more quickly on this the next time, so as not to be out of luck ticketwise if this trend keeps up! A nice start to the 2015 concert season. I would have liked a power metal show but this is good too.

Next show: Metalachi? Mayhem/Watain!?

Aurleian (I saw form 8:30ish -8:41)
  • ?
  • The Stone Still Falls

Insomnium (9- 9:49 thanks
  • The Primeval Dark 
  • While We Sleep 
  • Revelation 
  • The Harrowing Years 
  • Where The Last Wave Broke 
  • Ephemeral 
  • Unsung 
  • The Promethean Song 
  • -----
  • The Gale 
  • Mortal Share 

Dark Tranquillity (10:10 -11:35)

  • The Science of Noise 
  • White Noise/Black Silence 
  • The Silence in Between 
  • Damage Done 
  • What Only You Know 
  • The Mundane and the Magic 
  • Through Smudged Lenses 
  • The Wonders at Your Feet 
  • The Lesser Faith 
  • The Treason Wall 
  • Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive) 
  • ThereIn 
  • State of Trust 
  • Focus Shift 
  • Uniformity 
  • Final Resistance 
  • Endtime Hearts 
  • Misery's Crown