With the release of their tenth studio album last month, Sweden’s Pain of Salvation have been a subject of much talk amongst prog fans. As the band rolled through Toronto with only a handful of North American dates on this tour, the Mod Club was packed and the crowd was pumped.
Local act Slyde opened up the show with energy. Keyboardist Sarah Westbrook stole the spotlight for me during their set, shredding passionately and appealing to the more neo-prog side of the fans. Performing material from their newly released EP, ‘Back Again’, the four-piece held their own and undoubtedly doubled their local fanbase. Following that was Chicago’s District 97, who left me with mixed feelings. While talented, I found too many aspects of their set to be distracting, from the inconsistent tempo of the bassist’s solo to the singer’s often disjointed and attention-seeking stage presence.
Finally, Pain of Salvation hit the stage to tumultuous applause. After a captivating performance of “Full Throttle Tribe”, guitarist and backing vocalist Ragnar Zolberg’s mic malfunction provided the perfect excuse for frontman Daniel Gildenlöw and bassist Gustaf Hielm to improvise some classic old covers amidst witty banter. Once the technical issue had been solved, they played two more tracks from the newly released ‘In The Passing Light Of Day’: a fan favourite sing-along in the form of “Reasons”, followed by the single, “Meaningless”. Next came “Linoleum”, as well as a few songs off of 2002’s ‘Remedy Lane’, which were very well received by those in attendance.
As the evening drew to a close, the highlight was my favourite track off of the new album, “On A Tuesday”, which would have been a fantastic way to finish their set. As emotional and touching as the encore of “The Passing Light of Day” was, I felt that it might have made more of an impact if they had simply not come back out. Blasphemous, I know. On the other hand, I also would have enjoyed the show more had Pain of Salvation been the sole band on the bill, playing a more extensive variety of material from their discography. That being said, the entire band was incredible, delivering a tight execution and interacting with the crowd along the way. As in the case of most concerts, I would have preferred that the drums and keyboards were given more predominant lighting, but the sound was decent and that is the most important part.
If you have the chance to see these guys live this spring when they tour Europe, I strongly suggest that you not pass it up!
Also check out our Photo Gallery of the gig here.