Opeth and Katatonia played an awesome show for an excited Guelph crowd

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

  • Photo Credit: Katie Maz

    Photo Credit: Katie Maz

  • Photo Credit: Katie Maz

    Photo Credit: Katie Maz

  • Photo Credit: Katie Maz

    Photo Credit: Katie Maz

The sombre silence of downtown Guelph on the lazy, cold evening of Sunday October 30th was broken by a horde of Metalheads clad in their favourite band shirts, studs and long curls lining up on the side walk beside the Guelph Concert Theatre. Some restless, some anxious, and some a tad bit lazy, but none unhappy.

Opeth and Katatonia, two Swedish bands with careers spanning over two decades were at Guelph to put on a marvellous show that saw fans chant, mosh, crowd surf, and have a good time. The doors to the venue opened shortly after 6:35PM and the lines started moving. Everyone rushed in to get closest to the stage and to get the best view of their heroes who tour this part of the globe less frequently than most other bands of their calibre.

Katatonia, the opening act for the night, launched into “Leaders” after teasing the crowd with a mock performance. The crowd embraced the performance well though only a few got worked up enough to break into a mosh. “Liberation”, “Day and Then the Shade” and “Soil’s Song” saw the fans breaking into a mosh pit which expanded when the band played “My Twin”, a crowd favourite. Jonas Renske hiding behind his long black curls delivered a beautiful vocal performance with backing vocals by Anders Nystrom. Per Eriksson , the most recent addition to the Katatonia line up delivered the tunes , riffs, and solos with perfection and an onstage persona of a true metal legend. Katatonia’s set covered a multitude of albums giving their fans a taste of both old and new, a glimpse of their 20 year career. The set list included “Ghost of the Sun”,” The Longest Year”, “Forsaker”, and a song from the band’s debut ‘Dance of the December Souls’. The vocal duties for the two songs off of ‘Dance of the December Souls’ (1993) and ‘Brave Murder Day’ (1997) were handled by Nystrom with Jonas taking up the guitar. Nystrom’s vocal delivery was intense and had the crowd go wild to the screams and growls backed by  heavy guitar riffs and aggressive drumming reminiscent of the band’s roots with death metal at the very beginning of their career. Katatonia was nothing short of spectacular and the crowd was pleased. Their charged delivery of music almost made Opeth look pale in comparison.

As the Katatonia gear was cleared off the stage the chanting started once again. This time more intense with fans becoming more anxious to see the headlining band Opeth. Mikeal Akerfeldt’s name was chanted like a mantra and the crowd was told by none other than Akerfeldt himself that Akerfeldt meant “field” in Swedish. “The Devil’s Orchard” was unleashed upon the fans to their delight and the tone was set for the rest of the night with the dual guitars and the added layers of keyboard. With only a few heavy songs, the Opeth set list was, for the most part, more progressive than metal oriented- an approach that disappointed some of the fans who were expecting some of the heavier anthems from the band.  “I Feel the Dark”, “Face of Melinda” and “Porcelain Heart” were to follow with a drum solo thrown in much to the bemusement of the fans. “Nepenthe”, then followed which led to an acoustic set; “The Throat of Winter”, “Credence” and finally “Closure”. The acoustic segment dragged on a little too long and a grain of disappointment was visible in the faces of the die-hard fans. Akerfeldt and the band made up for it by a heavier segment with a few fan favourites and a song dedicated to the memory of Ronnie James Dio of Dio/Black Sabbath who succumbed to his death last year after battling cancer for months.  The Dio tribute was full of intense emotion and heavier segments saw the fans in motion once again.

The Swedish masters then played an “encore-game” with the fans and played their final song for the night, “Folklore”. The night was warm and stuffy inside the Guelph Concert Theatre after a night of heavy music, screaming and a nice workout for the fans who paraded the streets after the gig. Happy faces and lots of buzz in the air signalled that it was a night to remember.

Chanditha Priyanatha is a student at the University of Guelph and a dedicated volunteer at thecannon.ca

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