I wasn't too pushed about going to see Lacuna Coil again, to be honest. I spotted a poster for the gig en route into the city a couple of weeks ago, asked the emo if he'd be bothered going, and when he was up for it we got tickets a week before the gig and that was it. I never got properly excited about it, probably because I find their latest album Shallow Life is a bit lacklustre and kind of boring. I knew that if I went again, I'd either end up loving the album or hating it even more (the former ended up happening, much to my delight).
Lacuna Coil are a band with a very distinct sound, both metal and melodic, hardcore with sweet vocals, pounding riffs with distinctive, catchy melodies. They're an interesting band and they're very tight onstage. Last time I saw them was four years ago in the Olympia, for the Karmacode tour. It was an amazing gig and they absolutely blew me away. I spent most of the night drooling over Cristina Scabbia, while simultaneously being in awe of how awesome and metal she is. I saw Evanescence at Download in 2007 and not only were they shit, but metalheads behind me were shouting at Amy Lee to show her tits because that was all she was good for because the band didn't belong there. I wholheartedly agree with that statement. Evanescence are a dreadfully drab, uninteresting, formulaic band and Lee always annoyed me because she only dressed the way she did onstage. She wasn't actually alternative, and that pissed me off. Having said all of that, I can see how hard it must be to be a female in rock, even worse in metal, but Cristina Scabbia has said several times in interviews that nobody ever shouts at her to show her tits because they're afraid to, they have too much respect for her. And she's right. The woman has a hell of a presence. It may also have something to do that her boyfriend is the huge Slipknot guitarist, Jim Root. Nobody really wants to start on his chick...
The emo and I arrived at The Academy around 8.30, not bothered watching shitty support bands for hours beforehand. He bought a girls' Lacuna Coil T-shirt (he prefers it that way) that, much to his annoyance, I ended up buying after the show also. The merch men were highly amused. The venue was packed and the smell of rock boys hit me instantly when we walked in. Much to my surprise, the crowd was composed mainly of men. I've always thought of Lacuna Coil as a sort of girly band, but now that I know they're not it makes me like them even more. We got drinks, they were expensive, the barman was rude, and we waited for the band to hit the stage. Luckily, they did about five minutes later (by which stage we'd managed to easily wriggle our way to the front of the crowd, sandwiched between big metal dudes on either side).
After most of the band were assembled onstage and the ghostly singing at the start of I Survive was blasting out of the speakers, Andrea appeared, quickly followed by Cristina, who was wearing a black and white striped, pleather tailcoat, over a black leotard emblazoned with shiny red diamante patterns in the shape of a cross, black tights and boots. She changed her outfit twice after that, the first time she put on a black suit jacket and the second she put on a red and black skirt and black blazer. She looked, as always, INCREDIBLE - sexy, feminine and metal, just like she always does. Andrea was sort of matching in a black T-shirt with red diamante detail, jeans and a black blazer (he also had a dollar sign belt buckle that spun, which the emo got a huge kick out of). They complimented each other, as usual, in more ways than one.
The opener set the tone for the night. I Survive, the first single from Shallow Life, was thundering, perfectly pitched and so, so loud live that my ears felt as if they might fall off (in a good way). They kept up this momentum for the entire show, with Scabbia throwing herself around the stage, headbanging and dancing to the beat like only she can. She and Andrea played off each other's energies, taking a side of the stage each and commanding it, before switching and greeting those on the other side. They high-fived everybody within reach and apologised about a hundred times for not coming back sooner. They were probably a bit shocked by the enthusiasm of the crowd, given that the venue itself is quite small and it wasn't a sold out show. It felt like it in the end, though. The enthusiasm was infectious.
The set comprised mostly of the standout tracks from Shalllow Life, such as The Maze, I'm Not Afraid and I Won't Tell You and Karmacode, like To The Edge, Fragile and Closer. They also threw out a few old-school tracks, such as the awesome Senzafine, Heaven's A Lie and Daylight Dancer. As always seems to happen to me at gigs, I ended up stuck next to the ignorant prick who knew none of the songs and grabbed my ass for most of the show. I got away from him after a bit, although the emo wanted to hit him.
The band left the stage twice before the encore but the great thing about the Academy, as opposed to the O2, is that one can see the band hiding at the side of the stage before they come back on, so there's none of that bullshit waiting around time when eejits start impatiently singing Ole ole ole (although they still did, much to my annoyance). It really is an excellent venue. Last time I was there was for the Kerrang! Relentless tour, with Bring Me The Horizon and Mindless Self Indulgence. That was a great gig too, but the crowd was so young. Lacuna Coil was strictly over 18s (many emos were being refused at the door) so it had a more mature crowd, which at times was slightly irritating because they wouldn't move, but once the pit opened up it was a pretty awesome crowd to be a part of.
The last song of the set, before the encore, was their cover of Depeche Mode's Enjoy the Silence. Seeing as it was from Karmacode, I wasn't expecting them to play it at all and I was so excited when they did. The atmosphere became electric during it and Cristina's vocals gave me goosebumps. It was followed by a superb encore consisting of two of the best songs off Shallow Life - Not Enough (my favourite from the album) and Spellbound, and one of their biggest singles to date, from Karmacode, Our Truth. Although everybody went mental during the two from Shallow Life, it was Our Truth that really brought the house down. I thought I was going to break my neck and the pit got particularly rough during it too, which was kick ass. They exited the stage to rapturous applause and deafening screams and I was left dying for more.
My throat hurt like hell, my neck is still recovering and the emo gave me shit for dancing at a metal gig (if Cristina does it, then it's okay for me to do it) but it was one of the best I've ever been to, not to mention an awesome start to 2010. The only downside was that they didn't play Swamped, one of my favourite tracks by them. But other than that, it was a perfect show. The energy only dipped slightly during Wide Awake, the one slow song of the night, but it picked up straight afterwards with To The Edge so I barely even noticed.
Overall, an awesome gig from a tight, often underrated band that hopefully I won't have to wait another four years to see again!
Song of the day: Lacuna Coil - I Survive.