Virtual concerts are going to be our new normal. It’s something we have to adapt and accept, as the time of uncertainty with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues. However, these virtual live concerts bring hope, knowing we’re all in this together. Swedish dark progressive metal masters Katatonia have returned just in time for a global pandemic. After a short hiatus, their latest masterpiece, City Burials, has finally arrived via Peaceville Records (order here). The record is dark, melodic, and haunting, as it will take you on an emotive joyride from start to finish. As we all hope to see the band perform live in front of our very own eyes, concerts have changed, and it isn’t clear when things will return to normal. Therefore, Katatonia has adapted to this new virtual trend and performed live on Saturday, May 9th, 2020. Additionally, this is our first review of a virtual concert as we debated on snapping a few photos from our own television….we didn’t.
We suggest watching these virtual concerts on your TV or a large monitor. Therefore, unlike your usual shows, you have to make sure you have the best setup and cables/adapters. Katatonia performed live in Studio Gröndahl in Stockholm, Sweden. However, fans from across the globe were able to unite during this show via a live chat on blackbox.solidtango, where the streaming took place. The music industry is suffering, along with the rest of the globe, which makes us agree to pay the $10 fee. While groups are performing live streams for free on other platforms via YouTube, Twitch, etc., this exclusive event makes you feel like you’re at a show, and the clip is available for a month.
Imagine, watching the same concert for thirty-days straight and no one else can see it on YouTube? It will make any fan feel extra special. Oh, and what’s more exciting? If you missed this show, it’s not too late as you can pay for it now and order your exclusive live event shirt here. Ten bucks is a lot cheaper than concerts we’re used to seeing, and there’s no insane amount of “extra” charges. It’s up to you to watch the show. You can headbang, mosh with your pet, and attempt to crowdsurf safely on your couch while blasting the video. We’re lucky to see how fast bands have adapted to this new way of life, and we can still see a show and grab some merch while we’re at it.
Performance-wise was probably the most depressing thing you may see in a beautiful way. We’re not going to lie; it will make you miss being at shows, seeing your friends, and having that life that we used to have a few months ago. On a personal note, as a concert photographer, who doesn’t see this happening long after concerts return, it made me jokingly say (in tears), “even during a global pandemic, you still have dark lights?!” The statement was funny to me because I embraced it. It made me miss hearing people complain and struggling to get, “that shot.”
Katatonia’s performance was silent. As in, no cheers, no fans yelling, no crowdsurfers flooding into the barricade. It was empty. And even Katatonia felt the emptiness, which is now part of our new reality. Before performing the live debut of “The Winter of Our Passing,” frontman Jonas Renkse admitted this chilling new experience:
“Thank you. Hello. We can’t hear anyone but, we know you’re there. Thank you very much for tuning in tonight. This is something totally new for us; we are kinda nervous. I hope it’s sounding all right, wherever you are.”
On a positive note, we were able to be in the front row, and our view wasn’t blocked by someone taller. You have the chance to see the full stage without any interruption. While this will never compete with the beauty and experience of live shows, there’s still something magnificent to embrace watching a virtual show. It brings hope during this time and the ability to enjoy events again.
Katatonia’s show is well worth seeing, and you have until June 15th, 2020.
Lethean (extended intro)
The Winter of Our Passing (live debut)
Ghost of the Sun
The Racing Heart
Old Heart Falls
Tonight’s Music (first time live since 2014)
In the White
Lacquer (live debut; full band version)
Omerta (first time live since 2014)
Unfurl (first time live since 2014)
Behind the Blood (live debut)