Pain of Salvation - LIVE: Brixton Academy, London 2011

Opeth Heritage Tour
November 13 (19:55-20:40)
Capacity 5,000

Some areas of Europe have been good to Sweden's Pain of Salvation. Other than their home nation, countries like Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France have allowed them to play their own club shows, but the UK hasn't given them much opportunity so far.

Being invited onto a tour with fellow countrymen Opeth, a band for whom simply being part of the Roadrunner Records stable has brought them a certain kind of young, larger audience in countries like the UK and USA, gave them a chance to play far bigger venues than they could otherwise, and perhaps build from it and secure their own headlining shows.

Convincing an audience who will largely have no idea who they are (some members of the crowd even thought Opeth were coming on when the lights dimmed) was always going to be difficult, especially with the venue only about half full when they came on, and given that their current material is probably amongst the most brilliant, but least accessible for new listeners to date. All of that was overcome by their performance.

Whether or not it was because this would be the final tour with energetic long-time guitarist Johan Hallgren, they knew the importance of making a success of the opportunity, or because they love playing the new material so much (or all three), Pain of Salvation's set was outstanding. From the moment Daniel Gildenlöw strode out to the centre microphone stand only to find the stage hands had forgotten to put a microphone in it, laughed it off, and ran to Hallgren's mic to begin She Softly Cries, which does exactly the same gripping job live as it does when it opens latest album Road Salt Two, it was obvious that the set would be high in both energy and good spirits.

In the 45 minutes of stage time the band mostly showcased material from Road Salt Two and it's equally excellent predecessor Road Salt One, sticking broadly to the same setlist they played most nights. However for this one show, at the request of a friend in the audience, an extra older track was added in the shape of Fandango, along with the obligatory jokes about not remembering how to play it (indeed they did need to start it twice). But regardless of age (for the most part all of the songs played were as unfamiliar to the audience as each other) the band delivered them with all the energy and enthusiasm of a headlining act, and looked genuinely disappointed to have to leave the stage after a spirited No Way.

It's no wonder that no sooner had the Opeth tour ended, PoS had booked a headlining tour for February 2012, including the UK.

“ high in both energy and good spirits ”

Setlist: Softly She Cries / Ashes / Conditioned / 1979 / To The Shoreline / Fandango / Linoleum / No Way

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2011, Gigs, Progressive,

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