Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Katatonia, Daylight Dies
Label: SPV Records
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 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.
Moonspell Set List:
1. In Memoriam
3. Mememto Mori
5. Blood Tells
8. Alma Mater
10. Upon The Blood