• SHOW REPORT: Death Angel, Tyr, & Signs Of Chaos (Ottawa, Ontario)

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    Live at Mavericks in Ottawa, Ontario on February 13th, 2014.

     

    Ottawa’s most popular venue for metal concerts was surprisingly packed on this Thursday evening to see the Faroese folk metal band Tyr and the Bay Area thrash metal legends Death Angel. There were maybe even more Tyr fans in the crowd even though Death Angel were on the pole position of the billing. It was their last headliner show and both bands were later joined by new headliners Children Of Bodom to tour North America for one month and a half.

    Before the Faroese quartet hit the stage, local band Signs Of Chaos opened with a set around 25 minutes. They offered a mixture somewhere between groove metal, melodic death metal with metalcore tendencies, and thrash metal. The band had a lot of fun on stage and delivered an entertaining performance, but there already exist too many bands like these to make this one particularly stand out. Their passionate show was a nice appetizer, but nothing more.

    When the Faroese band Tyr hit the stage, they had some issues with the microphone and the guitar sound during the first two tracks. Apart of giving signs to the sound engineer, the quartet was surprisingly shy and didn’t communicate with the excited crowd. With a better sound, I was then starting to appreciate the band’s performance as I’m quite a fan of their records. It was even stranger that the band quit after six songs only. They had gone on stage later than announced and had quit earlier than scheduled and had only played around 25 to 30 minutes. Their set list included only more recent songs and they didn’t play any of their essential classics. In the beginning I thought it was a middle break when the band left the stage without even saying goodbye during the final instrumental or that it was some kind of a bad joke. The crowd was begging for one more song at least for quite a while but when the drummer finally came back on stage, it was only to get off his kit. I was bitterly disappointed by the short and lackluster performance of the band and I could see I wasn’t the only one who felt like this in the crowd. Before the start of the concert, I saw many people buying tour shirts, flags or other gimmicks at the merchandise and I wanted to wait after the concert but I changed my mind afterwards and decided that the band didn’t deserve any of my money after their weak show.

    I was hoping for a good show by Death Angel to get rid of my negative thoughts but the band had to fight with a broken microphone cable two songs into their set and took a break of almost ten minutes when they tried to fix the problem which was very annoying. When the band kicked off their set again, they delivered a truly energizing performance though and managed to make me cheer and bang along with them by playing some solid classics as well as some great new material and a much acclaimed cover version of Black Sabbath’s “Heaven And Hell”. On the other side, the singer’s speeches to the crowd were a little bit overlong and repetitive even though he said that he didn’t want to waste any time after the first unexpected break.

    The crowd went insane anyway and the circle pits got bigger and bigger involving only a handful of persons in the beginning but around thirty towards the end. Some of the fans were though too violent and pushed some uninvolved people into the pit or each other against those who didn’t want to go there and just stood peacefully on the side of the stage. I have absolutely no problem with circle pits and don’t want to sound boring but I didn’t like the fact that some people got involved in this against their own will and had to move far away from the stage to get out of these pits in such a small venue. Some more violent folks definitely monopolized the venue for their own way of celebrating music and didn’t show enough respect to those who preferred to bang their heads, cheer along with a cool beer in their hand, and look at what’s happening on stage only. At some moments, people had to look out for unchained fans in the circle pit instead of enjoying the show because some people went far off the track and were pushed into the rest of the crowd in the small venue. At least in the pits, people were helping each other as soon as somebody fell on the ground or lost some of his belongings and the situation got overall a little bit better and more respectful towards the end of the show.

    After all, it was great to see a packed metal show in the middle of the week and I had quite a good time thanks to an energizing main act and a few interesting people in the crowd. On the other side, I disliked the surprisingly weak performance by Tyr and the violent circle pit instigators at some points during the last part of the show. That’s why I left the venue with mixed but rather positive feelings to catch my last bus.

    Photos taken from the bands’ Facebook pages.

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  • SHOW REPORT: Dark Tranquillity, Omnium Gatherum, Exmortus & Sawed-Off Shogun (Ottawa, Ontario)

    Live at Mavericks in Ottawa, Ontario on February 7th, 2014.

     

    Mavericks or Café Dekcuf is the place to go for rock and metal maniacs in and around Ottawa. The small venue that is not much more than a rather unspectacular but expensive bar with a small stage in the middle of the main street of the surprisingly quiet Canadian capital was packed with several hundred fans who mainly wanted to see Dark Tranquillity.

    The first band that hit the stage was the local progressive groove metal band Sawed-Off Shogun that had already opened a couple of times for bigger artists in this location. Their pitiless extreme metal offered a mixture of a lot of brutality and a little bit of technique. This mixture kept me interested for a few songs only but the band didn’t manage to vary its approach and started to get rather redundant after a while. As an opening act, their twenty-five minutes of playing time were okay and a small crowd gathered around the stage but it was definitely not my cup of tea.

    Up next was the American thrash and death metal band Exmortus. I didn’t know them and didn’t expect anything exceptional but from the first track on the band got my intention. The band didn’t convince with brutal passages but with rather melodic and almost power metal driven guitar solos, enthusiastic choruses and a passionate energy that got immediately stuck on my mind. The sympathetic quartet did a convincing and musically diversified set around thirty minutes and I decided to buy their great brand new third studio record Slave To The Sword after their show.

    The third band this evening was the very sympathetic Finnish melodic death metal band Omnium Gatherum that mixed intriguing progressive or even symphonic elements into their sound. The band has that typically Scandinavian sound of longing melancholy. Especially their longer tracks had a lot of playful passages that created a truly magic atmosphere. This band managed to make my head bang, to cheer along with them and to just stand there in astonishment by feeling all their emotional passion. Even the crowd felt more and more addicted to their music and everybody in the room seemed to feel connected to each other. I really wished their concert would never stop despite a generous gig of almost one hour of playing time featuring nine well chosen tracks from their more recent records. By the end of the concert, there really was a certain kind of magic in the air. After the show, I spent some money on one of their tour shirts because their merchandise artworks are as creative and colourful as their music is. I had discovered a new addicting band and it was already clear for me that the headliner wouldn’t be able to beat this enchanting performance.

    Dark Tranquillity then offered a very good live performance of sixteen songs with a running time slightly under ninety minutes. The band covered almost all their records and also included some interesting old material. The main focus was obviously on the new record Construct with the performance of five songs. Some of them worked much better than on the studio record. A few animated clips and official videos accompanied the more recent songs of the band and offered an interesting visual sidekick. The band was in good shape, very sympathetic and performed with emotions and energy but this certain kind of magic that Omnium Gatherum had was missing in their very good performance. The crowd really celebrated the band though and one could see some peaceful crowd surfing, several respectful circle pits and a lucky woman in the crowd who performed guest vocals for one song.

    By the end of the night, I had discovered an average opening band, two great to amazing new bands and a very good band that I had already known before. My thirty bucks and four hours and half had definitely been spent very well on that Friday evening.

    Photos taken from the bands’ Facebook pages.

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