Manchester! Again! The setting of so many of this reviewer's own personal triumphs and tragedies! A glutton for punishment some might say. I say when Lacuna Coil are gracing the stage the 'some' would be wrong! I have followed and enjoyed the material from this Italian gothic Metal band for a very long time. I'd call myself a fan and quite a demanding one at that.
The night's potential was further helped along by a flash of breasticles from a lady with whom we were drinking and the opportunity to chat away to a couple of really nice people there for the show. Oh and the drinks were not too expensive, hence they flowed!
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So to business and first up Straight Line Stitch's superb support performance. This female fronted, Heavy Metal US outfit burst onto the stage with high levels of energy and attempted to encourage the crowd straight into action. A powerful, catchy set which inspired a sporadic moshing, raised hands and plenty of head banging. Filming the crowd from the stage was a nice little touch from them as they tore up the stage with their own brand of solid Metal!
Extremely proficient musicianship, inspired lyrics and incredible vocals, their performance really made an impression on me. So much so that (shock horror) I went out to the stand and purchased their album on sale! If that's not stamping a seal of approval on them I don't know what is. Give them a try one and all and forget the cross-stitch as its straight line all the way for me.
Right, order of the night. Support act? Seen, loved and met. Alcohol? Purchased and about to be consumed. Notepad? In my back pocket and there it stayed until the train home (another sign of excitement as the bloody thing is always out usually). Everything else? On hold until I get to see this. Am I giving you the impression my expectations where high? I certainly bloody hope so!
Darkness lifted and the stage was graced by one of the bands that still have me adopting fan mode and throwing abandon to the wind. It certainly began quite fabulously with 'Our Truth', a truly brilliant track from the 'Karmacode' album which had the fans engaged and responsive from the very beginning. Christina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro were, vocally, on top form as they worked the stage like the professionals they are and Lacuna Coil provided the energised mass of bodies with a great start to a show that was shaping up to fulfil my expectations.
Treated to a mix of both old and new tracks from the Lacuna Coil repertoire the gathered crowd responded loudly, if slightly sluggishly, to the constant encouragement of the band. That was the only part of the night that started to stutter slightly for me, the crowd reaction. The performance was powerful, proficient and quite raw but the audience seemed difficult to stimulate at times. Even so however, factions of the crowd always had their voices, arms and any other part of their anatomy raised towards the ceiling in salutation.
'I Won't Tell You' became 'I'm Not Afraid' which continued on towards 'Kill The Light' with a progressive march towards becoming a very solid performance. The staging tied in perfectly with Lacuna Coil's ethereal sound (ironic seeing as that was one of their previous names) and the entire set to this point was keeping great pace and maintaining an excellent momentum, the crowd becoming livelier as the gig progressed. They were probably slightly moshed out from the support and needing a welcome break before throwing themselves back into the fray.
Observing the gathered throng I could see the generous mix of both young and old fans alike, merchandise in abundance and a large number of people mouthing along to the tracks. A sure fire sign of some die hard fans methinks! I definitely came round to the opinion that the 800+ people there that night expected the definite high standards I also had in mind for this performance.
Particular songs which really struck chords with the crowd where 'Fragments Of Faith', 'Enjoy The Silence' and the final song of the night 'Spellbound'. These tracks in particular seemed well received by the audience as the gig progressed closer towards its inevitable end.
I have heard it said that Lacuna's recent performances have been slightly lacking in some facet or other when they have graced the stage. That's a personal opinion and people are very much entitled to it. I however believe that last night's set was technically, vocally and visually pleasing. It never blew the top off my head or had me reeling in amazement, but what it did do was tick every box I had on my little 'criteria checklist' for a great gig and they delivered a performance that never faltered or failed. Consistent, solid and thoroughly enjoyable for me! Definitely a gig worthy of attending especially for a fan!
Last night Lacuna Coil provided their fans with a great performance which proved to be a solid, well above par set. Vocally sublime in parts and never dropping below excellent, they strode through their time on stage performing track after track to an ever increasingly appreciative throng of faithful fans. Empty Spiral maybe the translation of the band's name but there was nothing empty about that performance on Saturday night. Sheer, atmospheric, dark gothic Metal! Fucking great gig!