KATATONIA – Cleveland, USA – Peabody’s

KATATONIA – Cleveland, USA – Peabody’s

Certainly one of the better tours of the year here in the US of A, Katatonia came rolling into Cleveland, Ohio, on October 1.  A great way to kick off the month, right?

Opening the show was L.A.’s Intronaut – a progressive sort of band that has a definite Meshuggah influence with their usage of polyryhtms, but has a spacey quality to them that makes them quite unique.  They had their own light show, which was a cool addition, and brought a lot of punch in their short 30 minutes.  Being my third time seeing them, they have yet to disappoint, and their latest album "Habitual Levitations", is loaded with strong material of which to draw from.  "Milk Leg" and "Harmonomicon" came off particularly nicely.

TesseracT were up next, playing a similar progressive style to Intronaut, but with more melodic vocals and a focus on atmospheres.  Having seen them open for the mighty Devin Townsend years back, a good show was to be expected.  This time, they came with a different vocalist.  Unfortunately, they’ve had a tough time keeping a singer, but the current one – Ashe O’Hara – has taken the mantle well.  His melodic clean singing is distinctive, and fits well with what they’re trying to do.  "Deception" and "Acceptance" were definite highlights, both coming from their first full-length "One".

This tour being a co-headliner, the crowd was in for a real treat – sets from both Cult of Luna and Katatonia being well over an hour each.  It’s nice to see Cult of Luna getting a full set, as an opening set would consist of only a couple of songs, due to the longer length of much of their material.  Bask in the glory, people!

Cult of Luna followed TesseracT, and immediately blasted into material from their masterful latest album "Vertikal".  "I: The Weapon" and the over 18 minute opus "Vicarious Redemption" sounded as perfect as they possibly could, with the band’s almost surreal intensity giving the songs a visual touch that couldn’t be surpassed.  That word intensity – the perfect descriptor for Cult of Luna’s stage presence.  I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of bands, and most don’t come close to the level of sheer power that these guy’s portray.  It was also amusing to see them cram all seven members and two drum kits on the very small stage at Peabody’s.  They managed it, somehow.  Other set highlights included "Finland" and "Ghost Trail".  No "Leave Me Here", however.  Next time, please!

The one and only Katatonia closed the evening off, and they had a special set in tow.  Having previously mentioning that about half of the set would be comprised of rarities and songs they’ve yet to play live, there was a lot of excitement at the potential of hearing some songs they very well may not play again.  Beginning with "Ashen", a bonus track from the "Night is the New Day" sessions, everybody knew it was going to be a memorable set.  "Hypnone" and "In the White" followed, with the ever-popular "My Twin" not far behind.  "Quiet World" was the set highlight for this guy – a b-side from the "Saw You Drown" EP that pre-dated "Discouraged Ones" way back in 1998.  My, how time flies!

"Undo You" and "Leech" were songs that were never played live before this tour, and they came off swimmingly.  "Soil’s Song", "July" and "Unfurl" completed what was a well-crafted set from the melancholic Swedes.  Having seen them more times than one can count, they’ve never once came close to having a bad show.  Classy gig from one of the best band’s alive.

A great night with not a dud on the stage, which doesn’t happen often these days.  Cult of Luna’s ferocity combined with Katatonia’s depressive grace made for a tough to top bill.  I’d see this tour 100 times over if that were remotely possible.  One of the best North American tours this year.  If you saw it, you know what I mean.  If not, then shame on you 567 weeks.