|» Dark Tranquillity 2008 02 09||
After touring the UK as part of the Eastpak Antidote package last autumn, Dark Tranquillity decided to embark on yet another short trek of the British islands to promote their latest masterpiece Fiction. The tour, simply dubbed British Fiction Tour 2008, has seen the Swedes headline smaller venues, serving as a nice contrast to the recent visit to Asia, where they performed to considerably larger crowds.
The last stop on the tour, The Barfly allegedly has a capacity of around 200 people. Therefore, I have expectations of a very intimate show, and when entering the second floor of the rather shabby venue, it is anything but spacious. Unfortunately, because of my late arrival, I only get to see the very end of supporting act Omnium Gatherum. The Finnish six-piece leaves the stage amid loud cheers, which only underlines the potential I have heard in their songs via their MySpace page prior to the gig.
By now, the place is ridiculously packed, and when the headliners appear, they have to make their way to the small stage through the crowd. Mikael Stanne and co take to the stage in a relaxed manner before launching into the opener Terminus (Where Death is Most Alive), which is followed by The Lesser Faith. With almost twice the stage time compared to that of the Eastpak tour, several highlights from their catalogue is represented. It is especially satisfying to be treated to old gems like Hedon, Therein and Lethe.
At the same time, the splendid songs from Fiction now have to be regarded as staples in the set. Once again, I have to give prominence to the simply magnificent Misery's Crown. Similarly, Inside The Particle Storm proves to be a definite highlight: guitarist Niclas Sundin, sole composer of the tune, plays the intro alone on stage before the other members join him in an enchanting version of the dark, wonderfully atmospheric number. While the song didn´t work as well during the Gothenburg outfit's sunny festival appearances last summer, it now fits in perfectly, serving as a breather in the otherwise intense set. Because of the shoebox-like conditions in The Barfly, however, the sound during the evening is not the best. Sundin's guitar is occasionally difficult to make out, for example.
This dilemma, however, does not stop the gig from being a memorable event.
The crowd is ecstatic from start from finish, singing and cheering fervently.
Despite limited floor space, there is also frequent moshing activity.
It is obvious that the band is enjoying every minute of the intimate atmosphere
and dedicated response. Handshakes are shared at the barricades, and jovial
vocalist Stanne and guitarist Martin Henriksson, in particular, have a
constant smile on their faces. Accordingly, the band puts in an inspired,
energetic performance, hammering out their tunes with straightforward
efficiency. After 17 songs in 90 minutes - which go by far too quickly
- Dark Tranquillity give their heartfelt gratitude to their London devotees.
Isn't it just great how a night of melodic death metal can result in pure
happiness and camaraderie like the one displayed at The Barfly? Brilliant
8,5 chalices of 10