Friday night was another great evening for Twin Cities metal heads. The Triple Rock was packed to the brim for the return of the Swedish group Dark Tranquility featuring support from Insomnium. By the time I entered the venue Insomnium was already hard at work shredding up room to the delight of their fans. There were minimal amounts of maneuvering room so most of the set was enjoyed from the side of the sound board in the back.
If you’ve never been to the Triple Rock you probably don’t know how difficult it can be to see the stage from the back of the room. You actually have to walk down a few steps to get to the area in front of the stage, which isn’t much more than knee high off the ground when you’re standing in front of it. This gives the first few rows of people on the main floor a decent view but then the sight lines diminish fairly quickly from there.
This happened to be the first sold out Triple Rock show I’ve attended so I knew I had to get down in the front if I was to have any chance of actually viewing any of the members of the band. With the conclusion of Insomnium’s set the crowd began its usual circulation; hot, sweaty and thirsty patrons file out leaving room for the rest of us to post up for the headliner.
Dark Tranquility took the stage about 10:30 to a crowd of eager fans. There was no special introduction to the band walking on stage but it did appear as though they were genuinely happy to be on stage in front of us. Frontman Mikael Stanne greeted us enthusiastically before the band kicked off their set with ‘The Silence of Noise’ off their latest album Construct. The crowd got fired up quick starting a mosh pit straight away.
As the band moved through their catalogue, it was nice to hear the contrast between their melodic pieces and the hard riffing metal ones. This is something that Dark Tranquility does amazingly well. It was also quite interesting watching the mosh pit react to these transitions. It’s not every day you get a crazy pit going in front of a band that has such a melodic presence to their music.
One thing I had not realized until watching this performance was the lack of a live, touring bassist. One of the earliest things I remember about listening to this band was the bass lines that are present on the album Damage Done, particularly on the breakdown of the title track, which actually came fairly early on in the set. From that point on I was scoping out each instrument trying to figure out the exact setup. What confused me more is there were 2 songs that I distinctly remember hearing a bass part on. After a bit of research it seems that guitarist Martin Henriksson has taken over double duty as guitarist and bassist in the studio, and he certainly can’t be playing both while on tour. The lack of a bassist was hardly an issue though and never seemed to detract from the quality of the show.
In addition to the excellent set they treated us to, it was made explicitly clear multiple times how much the band appreciated the crowd. It’s one thing to say “this crowd is the best on the tour so far!” and it’s a completely different thing to actually mean it. I’ve never toured with a metal band so I don’t know for sure but I do believe that we do have a special music scene here and Dark Tranquility recognizes that. I can only imagine what it’s like to be from Scandinavia and tour across our huge, extremely diverse country. I can’t imagine they get that warm of a reception consistently across the entire nation.
Article by: Eric Severson
Photos by: Eric Severson