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.