On Stage at the London Astoria ~ Halloween 2002
Review and HTML © Russell W Elliot 2002
studio photos © Doralba Picerna 2002
concert photos © Rudy De Doncker 2002
click on images to visit Lacuna Coil's website
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Last updated: 30 October 2002
Anyone familiar with the London live music scene will recognise two notable venues
at the corner of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road. Originally scheduled to
play at the more intimate Mean Fiddler, Lacuna Coil's Halloween live performance
demanded the larger venue of The London Astoria and the gig was moved there two
weeks prior to the event. Promoted by Metal Hammer magazine and by Donna
Oconnor of Century Media, Lacuna Coil was supported by two hard metal bands
including Finland's Sentenced. Our feature
reviews all Lacuna Coil's albums and incorporates an interview with lead vocalist
Doors opened promptly at 1900 when fans who had circled the block for the hour and a half before rushed into fill the pit area of the venue and into the balcony as well. Many of the more serious gothic oriented dressed in the Halloween spirit. The first band played for just about 30 minutes, sufficient to give the sound system and lights a good check before the stage was set for Sentenced's performance. A clear favourite of many in attendance the band filled the house leaving nothing but breathing room downstairs or above. They played for just 45 minutes and returned for one encore after wild audience acclaim.
While the first band might have been an indicator for what would come next, it was clear by the second track of Sentenced set that this would not be just a heavy metal event; in fact it would be one where melody and harmony worked with the metal edges to delight fans of many related genres.
Lacuna Coil came to the stage shortly after 2100 introduced by a backing track for their first number. Once drummer Cristiano Mozzati was comfortably in position, he was joined by Cristiano Migliore (guitars), Marco Emanuele Biazzi (guitars) and Marco Coti Zelati (bass). Male lead vocalist Andrea Ferro joined and the music began.
The audience went wild when stunning female lead singer Cristina Scabbia came to the stage and the band's sound reached full splendour. While Lacuna Coil's music means many things to their audience, Lacuna Coil is today the only opportunity to hear Cristina Scabbia sing with a band that provides rich backing instrumentals to support her vast range and powerful voice.
Cristina wore the outfit used in her latest studio shots, some of which we have used within the body of this review. All of the performers were laden in some form of skirt which gave a uniform look to the band. Long hair swaying with the music rhythmic head pounding reminded everyone of Lacuna Coil's metal roots. Cristina remained the focal point of the stage show with singing and stage performance drawing attention of even the least interested fans. We were intrigued by her American (versus Italian) accent when introducing material or joking with other band members and the audience.
London's audience demonstrated a sincere familiarity with Lacuna Coil's music at the gig singing along, mouthing the words and generally rocking with the material. The band's hour long set was drawn from their latest album Comalies (review)--pronounced "comma-lies" not "comma-lees"--as well as former album Unleashed Memories (feature) and one selection from their debut album Lacuna Coil.
The band do not tour with keyboards and vocal layers are equally hard to reproduce on stage. So backing tracks were used to produce near-studio quality depth to several of the numbers. Lighting perfectly accentuated the music. Engineering across the board was superb.
Although their performance lasted only a few minutes over an hour, Lacuna Coil played many of our favourites including "Swamped" and "Heaven's A Lie" from the new album. We loved the way Cristina's backing vocal swept up and then jumped over Andrea's as she takes the lead in "Swamped." While many are drawn to Cristina's stunning lead vocals, others are attracted to the aggressive but not grunting vocal power of Andrea Ferro.
Guitar work in the live performance is extremely tight and melodic, even with the heavy metal influences and head banging. The mysterious skip from the album version of "Aeon" was faithfully reproduced when the band returned to play after a quick break.
Equally impressive was the live treatment of "Daylight Dancer," a track with a fair bit of keyboard work on the studio album and also the Italian "Senzafine," which brought a tremendous audience reaction. As stunning as the more powerful metal-edged tracks were, the audience appeared equally delighted with the gentler "The Ghost Woman And The Hunter" and "Comalies."
We especially enjoyed the dynamic rocker "Unspoken." And while each of the band members were given an opportunity to demonstrate their strength and virtuousity during the show, Cristina Scabbia's stunning vocal work and well performed stagecraft were the clear highlights of the band's performance.
Lacuna Coil will complete their European tour as 2002 comes to a conclusion. Plans for an American Tour in 2003 are now solidifying with the release of Comalies. Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the new album from amazon.com here. Certainly worth a trans-Atlantic journey, their albums and live performances should be sought out further. Lacuna Coil's material is a must listen!
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