Published Jul 01, 2004Katatonia's first Canadian show wasn't a wonder of set design, pyrotechnics or high-charged antics. Of course, Foufones Electriques is no arena, but rather an intimate club where it takes deliberate effort to stray far from the small stage. Plus, this long-awaited performance was the second of two one-off North American shows, not a full tour stop. But whatever the reason, choice or circumstance, the dim lighting and toned-down movements perfectly echoed the music's dark and brooding intensity; Katatonia exudes a powerful, but subtle, stage presence. Though anticipation of that presence weighted the air, the crowd still had attention to spare for the ethnic-flavoured metal of local openers Trance of Mine. Daylight Dies quickly followed, their gloomy and emotional death metal a direct descendant of an earlier, heavier Katatonia. No acrobatics doesn't necessarily mean no energy and when Katatonia finally took their place on stage, a two-way stream of electricity allowed the band to feed off the crowd's enthusiasm even as they fired it ever higher. Charismatic front-man Jonas Renkse was the focus of rapt attention even when eerily still, his hair obscuring his down-turned face, and lead guitarist Anders Nyström presented an equally magnetic, if more lively, spectacle - both of them working with the integral support of guitarist Fred and bassist Mattias Norrman, and drummer Daniel Liljekvist. Favouring recent material, the set list featured numerous songs off Viva Emptiness, some from Last Fair Deal Gone Down, and a few select older tracks like "Black Session," "For My Demons" and encore numbers "Deadhouse" and "Murder." Katatonia drenched the club with their music's lush depressive atmosphere without reproducing their album note for note, and Nyström's harmonies blended beautifully with Renkse's melodies. The only disappointment was that the band didn't play longer; an average length set and one encore hardly satisfied fans that could have stayed soaking it up all night.