Katatonia - Rock Café, Tallinn, Estonia, 06.11.2012

Event: Katatonia: Dead Ends Of Europe Tour 2012
Written by: drynwhyl
Published: 24.11.2012

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Katatonia - Rock Café, Tallinn, Estonia, 06.11.2012 by Ivor (30)
Having been listening to Katatonia steadily for more than 15 years, I haven't nonetheless regarded them as a particularly good live act. That is not to say that one would expect from them the flaming heat of Rammstein's shows or the pig-headed theatrical overtures of Mayhem. It's just that the introspective nature and the effect of it in Katatonia's music tends to suppress the fixation on the external facets of things. At least that's what I thought as I was heading towards their "Dead Ends of Europe 2012" show.





What do Katatonia and Opeth have in common? Apart from the obvious - country of origin, intersection of fanbase and, for a short while, also band members. The answer - both of them have now performed at Rock Café in Tallinn. What their concerts did not have in common was the fact that unlike Opeth, Katatonia had supporting acts - Junius and Alcest. Although I quite enjoyed the atmospheric and somewhat enchanting guitar sound of Junius, I'd rather there had been no warm-up acts. Festivals aside, I have come to realize that there are limits to one's awareness and the levels of which tend to wear out as the first band is followed by another which is then followed by the main act. In my opinion, three bands playing similar atmospheric and somber music is too much to handle in one take.





Katatonia kicked off their show the same way they do on their latest album, namely by performing "The Parting," a bit ironic if you start thinking about the title and its connotations. As the show was progressing, I noticed something quite subtle - the use of colours. Glancing at the stage, the first thing to catch the eye was the drum kit. It was white, surrounded by white man-sized posters inspired by the album art of "Dead End Kings" which, to a large degree, consists also of the colour white. And the guitars - throughout the show all the guitars entering and leaving the stage were also white. A very effective and clever contrast given the fact that the majority of venues have their walls and ceilings painted black, let alone the dominating chromatic disposition of the members in the audience as well as on stage.

For some reason, I was expecting to hear "My Twin" more towards the end of the concert, perhaps even as an encore. Perhaps because if I had to name one song from Katatonia that could be called a "hit song," it would most probably be "My Twin." Another candidate would be "July" which they played in the last quarter of their set.





There are always some songs that have the tendency to dig into the mind of the listener better than others. Luckily for me, there were quite a lot of those kinds of songs in Katatonia's set list in Tallinn: "Burn the Remembrance," "Sweet Nurse," "Strained" and "Omerta" to name a few. To be honest, I was pretty surprised when they began to play "Omerta" which is a great song but one which I never could have thought I would have the opportunity to see live.

I'm not sure whether it was because of my ears finally becoming accustomed to the over-amplified ambience or for the fact that the sound engineer turned the right knobs, but I nevertheless started to distinguish quite clearly the backing vocal harmonies sung by guitarist Anders Nyström on "Forsaker." Although he had been doing the backing vocals throughout the show it was never very audible until now. And it sounded great, complementing the background of the song in an echo kind of way.





On the whole, one must admit that Katatonia had put quite a lot of conscious effort into building their concert's set list. Although roughly half of the songs presented were from the last two albums, they nonetheless managed to incorporate songs from all of their post-growling era albums. While listening to Katatonia perform "Deadhouse," I realized for the first time how much they have really evolved musically. The atmosphere, the feeling and the song's simplicity was there just as it was on the "Discouraged Ones" album's setting, but it was somehow enhanced with the sound and quality of "Dead End Kings" or "Night Is the New Day."

Concerning the claim I made earlier, I was positively surprised at how much Katatonia have developed in respect to the quality of their live performance. Just as Jonas Renkse's participation in Ayreon has contributed to the vocals on "Night Is the New Day" and beyond, it seems that years of experience have done them well. The energy and atmosphere was of a completely different quality compared to the previous time I saw them 7 years ago.

And finally, I just remembered another thing that Katatonia and Opeth have in common - I'd really like to go to their shows again.





Set list
1. The Parting (Dead End Kings)
2. Buildings (Dead End Kings)
3. Deliberation (The Great Cold Distance)
4. My Twin (The Great Cold Distance)
5. Burn the Remembrance (Viva Emptiness)
6. The Racing Heart (Dead End Kings)
7. Lethean (Dead End Kings)
8. Teargas (Last Fair Deal Gone Down)
9. Strained (Tonight's Decision)
10. The Longest Year (Night Is the New Day)
11. Soil's Song (The Great Cold Distance)
12. Omerta (Viva Emptiness)
13. Sweet Nurse (Last Fair Deal Gone Down)
14. Deadhouse (Discouraged Ones)
15. New Night (Night Is the New Day)
16. July (The Great Cold Distance)
17. Day and Then the Shade (Night Is the New Day)
Encore
18. Dead Letters (Dead End Kings)
19. Forsaker (Night Is the New Day)
20. Leaders (The Great Cold Distance)


 




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Bad English - 24.11.2012 at 19:08  
Quote:
Having been listening to Katatonia steadily for more than 15 years

Its good because after Brave Murder day band cant criate anything good, I look at set list its week, seems band rejects Dance on Brave albums, dont play live classic tunes ..... sad but true band died long ago
Susan - 24.11.2012 at 19:23  
Sounds like an amazing gig! Happy to see several from Viva Emptiness and Last Fair Deal after all these years. I'm with you: I would NEVER have expected to hear Omerta. One of their most beautiful songs but still, not necessarily one I'd guess for a gig. I bet it was heavenly to hear live

I'm glad you say they've been improving their performance over the years. I saw them live maybe 5 years ago (give or take) and they were quite boring. A few of them moved on stage a bit but in general the vibe of the whole band was pretty labored. Jonas just stood at the mic hiding behind a wall of hair, completely disconnected. Perhaps that was just an off night, but even so, it was great to hear the tunes live.
Rulatore - 24.11.2012 at 20:15  
Written by Susan on 24.11.2012 at 19:23

Jonas just stood at the mic hiding behind a wall of hair, completely disconnected. Perhaps that was just an off night, but even so, it was great to hear the tunes live.

Have you watched the "Wacken Carnage" ? (the Bloodbath's one) He was just like you described above. Seems like it is his signature at his shows
InnerSelf - 25.11.2012 at 00:16  
Wow awesome setlist ! I'd love to go see all three bands in one night, I think I can handle it well since I love all three of them
Nefarious - 25.11.2012 at 10:23  
Nice review, sounds like you had a lot of fun It must be said that Katatonia are one of the most boring live acts around as far as stage presence goes, but I do always enjoy their shows because i'm totally focused on the music & they do sound great live.

Written by Susan on 24.11.2012 at 19:23

I'm with you: I would NEVER have expected to hear Omerta. One of their most beautiful songs but still, not necessarily one I'd guess for a gig. I bet it was heavenly to hear live


They played Omerta at Summer Breeze this year. Both me & my wife were so shocked to hear it live. It was an amazing experience

Written by Rulatore on 24.11.2012 at 20:15

Written by Susan on 24.11.2012 at 19:23

Jonas just stood at the mic hiding behind a wall of hair, completely disconnected. Perhaps that was just an off night, but even so, it was great to hear the tunes live.

Have you watched the "Wacken Carnage" ? (the Bloodbath's one) He was just like you described above. Seems like it is his signature at his shows


Yeah he's like that 99.9% of the time, although when they played Summer Breeze this year he was in a really happy & talkative mood throughout the whole set, it was actually a bit off-putting
Marcel Hubregtse - 25.11.2012 at 10:49  
Written by Susan on 24.11.2012 at 19:23

I saw them live maybe 5 years ago (give or take) and they were quite boring.


I have seen them 6 times now and everything single time they are boring as fuck. The single most boring live band I have ever come across.
Mr. Doctor - 25.11.2012 at 18:06  
Written by Susan on 24.11.2012 at 19:23

Sounds like an amazing gig! Happy to see several from Viva Emptiness and Last Fair Deal after all these years. I'm with you: I would NEVER have expected to hear Omerta. One of their most beautiful songs but still, not necessarily one I'd guess for a gig. I bet it was heavenly to hear live


This is the exact same setlist from when I saw them on October. I actually started to enjoy their latest album far more after seeing them live.

When it comes to the concert itself... Huh, I didn't find it boring at all. I guess I was just too focused on the music and most of the times my eyes were closed (I was in the first row anyway)... Just chilling.
Deliberation, My Twin, Burn the Remembrance, The Racing Heart (my favorite from the latest album), Lethean, Sweet Nurse, Deadhouse and the great Leaders for closer were definitely my hightlights.

Omerta was fantastic though! But I actually would have liked another song from Viva Emptiness instead. If it were "Evidence" I'd have gone nuts. I catched have the setlist where they threw the two papers...... and got a nice pick from Anders Nyström who gave it directly to me.
Jeeers - 25.11.2012 at 22:09  
For the first 4 songs or 5 the sound was awful - drums and vocals were too loud and guitar was too quiet - I was a bit worried, but after they tuned everything, it started to sound better and better with every song. And Jonas vocals also became better with every song - but I never caught a glimpse of his face . One thing I can say for sure - heavy songs sounded live even better than in studio record, he even allowed himself a little growl here and there. What a fantastic gig it was, but I started to really enjoy it only after first half mainly because of sound problems. Never regretted going to Estonia that evening.
Ivor - 26.11.2012 at 09:42  
Sound-wise I have to agree. It eventually got better. And while the gig was more or less good, I still feel I didn't fully get into it. Bad sound amounts to less than great experience. And with Katatonia it's kind of a delicate balance. Have to say Junius was great but also lacking something - I feel they did far more with two songs I saw in spring than this time around. Alcest was just plain boring. Oh, and this was one of the darkest gigs I've tried to shoot. By the time Katatonia got on stage, it looked like there's practically no light to take pictures. Did make for good ambience, though.

I.
Marcel Hubregtse - 26.11.2012 at 09:58  
Written by Ivor on 26.11.2012 at 09:42

Alcest was just plain boring.

I.


Doesn't matter if you witness them live or on listen to them on album Truly truly truly boring stuff, makes new Anathema and Katatonia seem rivetting and extremely exciting to me
Ivor - 26.11.2012 at 10:19  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 26.11.2012 at 09:58

Doesn't matter if you witness them live or on listen to them on album Truly truly truly boring stuff, makes new Anathema and Katatonia seem rivetting and extremely exciting to me

Oh I've seen you mention that Alcest is boring. I've never been interested in checking it out. I just happened to see them live now. This seems to be one of those rare times I have to agree with you.

I.
Marcel Hubregtse - 26.11.2012 at 10:30  
Written by Ivor on 26.11.2012 at 10:19


This seems to be one of those rare times I have to agree with you.

I.


So, the Mayans are right after all, the world is coming to an end

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