Dark Tranquillity – Portland, Oregon – February 13, 2022 -Bossanova Ballroom
It was a beautiful day in Portland, Oregon and I was so excited to see Johan Reinhold, one of the guitarists for Dark Tranquillity. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of taking a summertime walk with a group of Dark Tranquillity’s crew and Johan came along. He’s a brilliant guitarist and I love his other band, Andromeda (not to mention he is a beautiful man.)
OK, back on track.
Melodic death doom band Nailed to Obscurity from Esens, East Frisia, Lower Saxony (Germany) hit the stage timely and busted out with a quite beautiful set. More somber than I knew Kataklysm would be, they were a sweet surprise. Much in the vein of Omnium Gathering and other death doom bands, the music is beautiful with guitar heavy melodies and harsh vocals. I have them categorized, maybe improperly, on my playlist “Susie’s Sleep Music” alongside bands like Soen, Soliloquium, and Dawn of Solace. Thoroughly enjoyable, beautiful, full of ambiance, haunting and soothing at the same time.
The mighty Kataklysm was up next. Montreal Canada’s melodic death metal greats were fantastic. Full of energy, playing with vigor and ease, they were my favorites for the night at that point. Stepping the pace up quite a bit, their full on grooves allowed the mosh pit to erupt and fans banged their heads in unison. I’ll see Kataklysm every time they come to town.
Dark Tranquillity. Awe, how I love to see them live. There is no front man in metal with more crowd interaction and undeniable love for the crowd than Mikael Stanne. It was really special seeing him in his element after the long pandemic break. He sang to the crowd, singling out fans to sing with; he was incredibly present. He took the Swedish flag from my friend William twice, and waived it proudly as he sang to us. There was a special tender moment when Stanne dedicated a song to his former bandmate Fredrik Johansson, who had passed away just a week or two prior to Dark Tranquility’s tour starting. The crowd shared in his sadness and appreciated his vulnerability, and then we were back on track with music that unequivocally ruled the night.
I loved watching Martin Brändström on keyboards. He was rocking out like crazy! I loved watching Christopher Amott play. He’s cool and steady juxtaposed with Reinholdz’s virtuoso riffs and energetic style. The music was perfect, the band interaction was top notch, and the night was one of those that won’t easily be duplicated or topped.
I met a lady outside prior to the show and liked her immediately. She told me what a Dark Tranquillity fan she was and how much she loved Mikael. She and I stood up front, stage right, and he gave her such a good show. I was lucky to be at the right moment at the right time to catch this special moment.
Dark tranquility is:
- Mikael Stanne– vocals (1994–present), rhythm guitar (1989–1994)
- Martin Brändström – keyboards, programming (1999–present)
- Christopher Amott– lead guitar (2020–present; live 2017–2020)
- Johan Reinholdz– rhythm guitar (2020–present; live 2017–2020)
Current live members
- Christian Jansson – bass (2021–present)
- Joakim Strandberg Nilsson – drums (2021–present)
When the last song played, I don’t think the crowd, nor the band wanted it to end.