When it comes to concerts, I try to go to at least one a year. After all, in between school and other events, it becomes rather difficult to catch them sometimes. However, when I heard that Amorphis was coming into town with three other bands I was curious about but never really dealt with before, I knew I had to see them. Thus, I decided to do the only thing I was able to do: prepare myself for a night filled with music by listening to the four band’s latest albums in order to know what to expect.
Of the four, I am most familiar with Amorphis – I had seen them once before as support for Nightwish in early 2012 – so I was expecting a good time from these guys. Seeing the others was a bonus.
This particular show was at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, a medium-sized venue that had separated the band from the crowd via an elevated stage. I had been at this venue once before back in 2015 for another concert, so I knew that there would be enough room for the potentially large crowd that would be at the show. They also had booths at the far end of the first floor and a second floor that allowed patrons to watch the show without being stuck in the potential pits that could form. There was no separate photo pit area, so, if you wanted to take photos, you had to be at the very front and hope you didn’t get dragged back. Given my lack of height and general size, I knew taking photos would be a challenge, but I hoped that it wouldn’t deter me from getting some good shots. Thus, I parked myself at the very front and hoped for the best.
The night kicked off with Omnium Gatherum, who played a variety of their songs from both recent and past albums. Although I am not familiar with their music, I was able to recognize some of their songs from past forays into their music, particularly from Beyond and The Burning Cold. Their blend of melodic death metal definitely warmed up the crowd for what was to come, and they used their time expertly, showing the crowd that they were there to have a good time. They had a wild yet controlled energy that made many members of the audience headbang and dance throughout their set, allowing for moments of simple enjoyment. The band were also fascinating to watch; their physical banter and evident fondness for each other was on full display while they played. They knew they were there for a short time, but they trusted each other to give their audience a show, and they did. They also breezed through their set, which left me wishing that they had played for a little while longer.
Then, came Moonspell, who launched into the first track off their latest album, 1755, “Em Nome do Medo.” They set up the ambiance for their set by having Fernando Ribeiro carry a lantern onto the stage, allowing us a glimpse of his face before the lights came on and the music ensued. To further add to the ambiance of their set, Fernando also wore a plague mask during parts of their set. He dominated the stage with his presence, moving from one part of the stage to the next, moving seamlessly and with purpose to where his mates were. Because I was more familiar with Moonspell than Omnium Gatherum at this point, I found myself enjoying the music more. Whether it was because of the ambiance of the stage or the mood of the music, Moonspell was definitely up to snuff. During the more emotive moments of the set, the audience sang along and swayed to the music, as if they were waiting for something to happen. They finished their set with “Full Moon Madness,” a fan favorite that had many cheering in the audience.
Chaos erupted the minute Dark Tranquillity stepped onto the stage, as a mosh pit formed not even a minute into their first song. The energy of the crowd had been, at this point, calm, so when the mosh pit began, it caught many by surprise. What also caught many by surprise was that they were co-headliners, so they performed far longer than both Moonspell and Omnium Gatherum. The band played a lot of songs from Atoma and Construct, and performed a few fan favorites from across other albums. Mikael Stanne, the frontman and main vocalist, was also a force to contend with; his boundless energy and his voice were the main drive of the night, and it elicited a series of mosh pits that allowed the crowd to get their pent-up energy out of their system. He was dynamic and dramatic, a powerhouse of a man that made even the staunchest of concertgoers cheer for him. I also noticed that he was one of the only vocalists to drink beer instead of water that night, but it didn’t hinder him in the slightest. The band ended their set with a fan favorite, “Misery’s Crown,” which had the entire crowd singing along. Although the voice that sang was not the one I was used to – some of the projection was lost – the song still elicited moments of catharsis. People sang and cheered, the energy coming to a peak as the song reach its climax and eventually ended. By the time Dark Tranquillity had left the stage, everyone was ready for the last band of the night.
Last to play were Amorphis, who came onstage while the introduction to “The Bee” played. As one of my favorite bands, I was the most excited about seeing them perform, and they did not disappoint. The minute they came on, the crowd cheered and began to sing along. They played a good portion of songs from Queen of Time, but also played songs from Tales From the Thousand Lakes (“The Castaway,” “Black Winter Day”), Elegy (“Against Widows”), Skyforger (“Silver Bride,” “Skyforger”), and Under the Red Cloud (“Bad Blood”). Tomi Joutsen also offered banter, talking between songs and hyping the crowd. Tomi is one of my favorite voices in metal, so hearing him sing years after I had first heard him was awe-inspiring. I was so taken by the way the music flowed that there were moments I forgot I was surrounded by other people. I sang and headbanged to my heart’s content, even swaying to the slower and more emotive aspects of their set. The band were also incredibly comfortable with each other; they were a cohesive unit that gave a great show and knew what fans expected of them. There was also this sort of comradery that I noticed happening with concertgoers who came specifically for Amorphis – these were the guys who knew every single word to all of their songs and shared looks with other crowd members, eventually moving to the music. At the encore, Amorphis played two songs: the exciting “Death of a King” and the fan-favorite classic “House of Sleep.” The crowd were enthusiastic and responsive, singing, screaming, and cheering along as the band closed the night in a finale that would stay with all of who came to see them.
In short, the show was fantastic and a mind-blowing experience. I didn’t have any expectations when I came to this show, but they were exceeded far beyond anything I had experienced. Unfortunately, the tour is now over, but I hope some of you got to experience it while they were here. If you missed them, then you are in luck, because they are coming back to the States in 2019.
Also, there will be galleries for all four bands, which should be coming soon.
Hasta la proxima!