Lacuna Coil (courtesy of myspace.com/lacunacoil)
Lacuna Coil with Within Temptation, Kylesa, and Stolen Babies
I recall the very first time I saw Lacuna Coil play live They were touring with Opeth and they played to a very small yet excited crowd In the Venue. Apparently, a stint on Ozzfest and media exposure have risen the band to bigger heights. Saltair was split in half by a giant curtain, but that half was pretty much filled up throughout the entire show. Then again, this show wasn’t just Lacuna Coi--it was a package show sponsored by HotGoth.net, featuring bodacious babes of metal.
First up was the Stolen Babies. I had their CD prior to the show for quite some time and never really listened to it. Let’s just say that now it’s made its way into a regular rotation on my iPod. The band came out in a sort of gothic garb, worn-out suits and even a top hat. The short female vocalist wearing a black dress pulled out an accordion and the show was underway with a crowd that looked shocked. I love it when metal bands utilize different instruments, and Stolen Babies came close to stealing the show. In addition to the accordion playing of the band's front-woman, there was a stand-up bass and a giant steel drum. Stolen Babies played a sort of quirky, yet aggressive, gypsy style of metal, all with a large and active stage presence that the crowd fed off of. It is always a nice sign to see quite a few people go and purchase the band's CD after their set, and Stolen Babies must have scored big time with their merch sales that night.
Kylesa was next and had a hard act to follow with Stolen Babies and they didn’t follow very well. The band consisted of two drummers. As much as that peaked my anticipation, I was let down. I’ve seen one drummer do a better job than these two guys did. The rest of the band, both guitarists, one apparently the hot metal chick who looked strangely like Dave Mustaine with breasts, and the bassist all had vocal parts. I have heard the band's first album, but not their latest. I wasn’t expecting much, thankfully. Playing off of the wall of noise tactic, Kylesa brandished a sort of Isis-meets-High on Fire vibe, but not in a good way. Every song sort of melded together. To say the least, I wasn’t the only bored person in the audience.
In all honesty, Within Temptation was the band I came to the show to see. The tour is the band's first time in America, so there were some big expectations. On CD, the band is an epic mix of sweeping keyboards and layered operatic vocals on top of the female singer’s already angelic vocals. I was interested to see how the band would pull off their produced sound in the live setting. They nailed it and then some. They had the crowd with arms in the air, clapping and swaying to the accord of the always-smiling front woman. Playing songs mostly from their new album that hasn’t been released in the U.S. yet, the sound seemed larger than what the band members could have produced, yet they pulled it off flawlessly. The singer looked genuinely glad to be playing the show and noted how it was an honor to play in such a beautiful place. A grateful fan even brought roses for the singer. The show could have ended with Within Temptation and I would have been happy, but Lacuna Coil hadn’t really disappointed me in the past. It was sad to say goodbye to Within Temptation, but judging by the small crowd that left after their set was over and with their first major U.S. release underway, I expect to see them again.
Lacuna Coil have always had a great stage presence with a male and female singer constantly feeding off of each other’s energy and ultimately seeming to enjoy what they are doing. The band played a somewhat short set for being a headliner due to some sound issues that wasn’t entirely a bad thing. The band has been around for a while with four albums--one they never play anything off of. They played a good mix of the their last three records with mostly material from their 2006 Karmacode album which they basically have been touring non-stop for since its release. If the set hadn’t been plagued with some sound problems, the show would have been flawless. The vocals were low in the mix and the guitar tone was off from what the band sounds like on CD. Despite that fact it wasn’t hard to recognize the band's songs, it was just unfortunate that the sound mixing lacked. It was almost as if they had the volume cranked a little too high toward the end of the set because there were painful reverberations everywhere. Regardless, stage presence can make or break a band's show and Lacuna Coil didn’t falter in that department. With bouts of head-banging in unison, jumping up and down and a sultry Italian goddess as a vocalist it’s hard not to keep your eyes on what is going on. There was plenty of crowd interaction, including the band getting the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to the band’s primary vocalist Christina Scabbia who was celebrating her untold age. Despite the sound issues, the band is obviously still on their way up and loving every minute of it--something that their live show reflects. When a band has a good time putting on a show, the crowd does too. The true essence of a band is when they can overcome a poor sound quality and still get an enthused crowd. That no doubt earns respect for any band.