Sunday, January 31, 2010

Heaven's A Lie

I went to my very first gig of 2010 on Friday night - Lacuna Coil in The Academy (which is fast becoming my favourite venue because of how ridiculously close one can get to the band, not to mention the LOUD sound) and the setlist went a little something like this:
    1. I Survive
    2. Underdog
    3. Closer
    4. I'm Not Afraid
    5. Fragments of Faith
    6. Tight Rope
    7. Senzafine
    8. I Won't Tell You
    9. Heaven's A Lie
    10. Fragile
    11. Wide Awake
    12. To The Edge
    13. The Maze
    14. Daylight Dancer
    15. Enjoy The Silence

    1. Not Enough
    2. Spellbound
    3. Our Truth

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.

Monday, January 18, 2010

All the best lies, they are told with fingers tied, so cross them tight, won't you promise me tonight?

Only two and a half weeks into the new year and already I've been involved in a semi-drunken argument in a bar. What are the chances!? Actually, they're quite high given the last two years of my life... I should be used to this shit by now, but I'm not.

My reputation precedes me, it seems, as my good bud Noodles was informed by a chick I will call P (no relation to her real name) that she had heard a lot of shit about me, was willing to give me a chance, but then realised everything she'd heard was true after I'd given her the finger and yelled at her, completely unprovoked. How terrible! And it does so sound like something I would do completely unprovoked in a bar to someone I didn't know.

For those who know me, that story doesn't seem likely. What does seem likely, is that P guessed I'd be an easy target because she, like a complete fucking idiot, believed what she heard about me. And she wanted to prove that it was all true, which it most certainly is not.

I've never seen anybody use two fingers to say "fuck you" except for on Father Ted, but apparently that's exactly what I did; while I was rubbing Dill's back with my right hand, no less - I must be some sort of contortionist to have pulled that off! P also claimed I had yelled at her (presumably over the music, which was pretty loud). What actually happened was that she was making fun of Dill for being drunkenly sick and I told her that I could hear her, in an effort to shut her up. That was it. Why would I do anything else besides tell her to stop making fun of my friend? It makes no sense. But, sadly, in the twisted world of my reputation, it does. She admitted to Noodles that she'd been making fun of Dill, but that she'd realised after a little bit how mean she was being and then she'd stopped. Now that, no matter who is making the claim, is utter bullshit. How many of us have ever realised how mean we were being while in the middle of a good bitch session and then just stopped? Maybe one realises afterwards, but bitching and making fun of people, by their nature, are mean things to do.

Once Noodles checked with me to see what really happened (not believing her rather stupid story either), I confronted her and told her that she was full of shit but that I was sorry if I'd upset her and, naturally, she tried for a long while thereafter to pick a fight with me. Most people I know have had a misunderstanding with somebody, have overreacted to something or have simply read somebody's attitude or demeanour wrong. We are human, we get upset over stupid shit. The difference is, usually people admit as such, apologise and get on with it.

But, of course, we're not talking about most people here. We're talking about those who, for some unknown reason, enjoy bitching, backstabbing and causing shit above all else. Those who have very little else in their lives and go on and on and on about how Goth/metal/alternative/unique they are, how smart, how well-read, how worldly...the list goes on and on, and it's boring. All of it. I know several people who belong to one such group, all women, and the claims they make are utterly ridiculous - one of the best being that it's okay to cheat, hook up with several people in one night even if some of them are in relationships, and sleep around because it's their right to do so and they have free will. These people cannot be reasoned with, they cannot be proven wrong and they cannot be spoken to in a normal manner, the way one would speak with someone else. I usually avoid them at all costs, but like I said I'm an easy target and sometimes they slip through the cracks to try to get a rise out of me. It has yet to work, thank fuck.

My problem isn't even the fact that P picked a fight with me, or that anybody else does for that matter. It's that, to this day, fucking TWO YEARS LATER, some people are still unwilling to give me a chance because of something they've heard about me. And I don't deserve this reputation. I know that I can be loud, outspoken, opinionated - but I am also always honest and open, which I'm beginning to think is what really bugs people about me. I've learned, over the past while, that a lot of people feel more comfortable when their lives are cushioned by lies and fabricated stories, by drama borne out of nothing and by careless judgements made about people they don't know. I can't understand that, but I've accepted that that is the way that certain people are. And the way to truly irritate those people is to be honest, polite and not give them what they want. Because we all know that what P really wanted was for people to witness me in action, yelling at her and being a total bitch while she sat back and feigned being upset, because that way, she could prove that my reputation is well-deserved.

Sadly, she didn't get what she wanted, although she tried very hard to provoke me. She also ended up being slumped over the table herself, in the exact same position Dill had been only an hour earlier. I helped carry her a bit of the way out. Karma's a bitch I guess, but I'm not holding anything against anybody. That's just not who I am anymore, and it's really not worth my time and effort.

So! The year has started off with a bang, but at least I didn't fall back into my old ways. We all have to grow up some time, and being in one's twenties is probably the time to do that...

Oh, and one more thing. Shouldn't P really have been bothered, not by what she heard about me, but by the fact that some guy she pulled in a bar, or even a new friend, or whatever, could talk about nothing but how much of a bitch his ex was, how much she hurt him and how everybody should see her for who she truly is..? I'd be pretty bored, not to mention slightly unsettled, by somebody I'd just met, or known for a short while, acting like that. Just a thought.

Song of the day: Paramore - Feeling Sorry.

Monday, January 4, 2010

As good as it gets

2010 is off to a great start, I'm very glad to say. Although I was stranded in Bray for the first two days of it, eventually having to trek home through feet of snow last night in CONVERSE (fun fun fun), I did get to spend some quality time in bed with the emo. And his lovely family kept me warm and fed, so it wasn't the worst way to spend the weekend...

New Year's in Noodles' was deadly. We had cocktails, danced to The Offspring, played drinking games and even rang in the new year with a snowball fight. I wore grey skinny jeans and my new, fucking AWESOME Bring Me The Horizon T-shirt. Scooby said I looked very "girlie punk rock", which was hilarious because I'm anything but. It was kinda weird to ring in the New Year in jeans, but I was with some awesome people so having a new dress didn't feel as important anymore. She got me a giant Slipknot poster and a Mighty Boosh calendar for Christmas, which was awesome except that I then had to carry them home through the snow...I got some weird looks, but that's nothing new.

In case I haven't mentioned it, I lost my wallet on Christmas Eve. I was devastated, not because of money but due to the amount of memories contained within it (mostly from my time in Munich) and my cards, which would be fairly difficult to replace, especially in the case of my student card. ANYWAY, today I made my way very slow through the snow to the Garda station and retrieved it. A very nice Garda had called last week to tell me he had it safe in a locker and that I could come get it whenever. So I got it back, with everything in it (including my pathetic tenner), but sadly there was no record of who had handed it in so I couldn't say thank you. My grandparents had assured me, when I lost it, that it would turn up because most people are good and I'm a good person, so I deserve it, etc, etc. I didn't really buy it at the time, but now I think I kinda do...

When I was about 17 years old, I remember stealing money from a wallet with several of my friends and then leaving it empty without even handing it in. Each person involved in that robbery has had his/her wallet stolen since then, and not returned. I was the last to fall victim to it, only I got mine back. I wonder why. Maybe my good karma is outweighing the bad, maybe I'm being rewarded for trying so hard, I don't know. I don't consider myself to be particularly pure or selfless. I mean, I can be at times, but so can most people. I just wonder what I did to deserve it...but I suppose I shouldn't wonder, I ought to just accept it and be grateful (which I am - very!).

I have a feeling this year is going to kick ass. I'm about to radically change my appearance, which scares the shit out of me but I'm ready to do it and I'm excited to do it at the same time. That will be the first big change. There will be many more. I aim to be positive, to believe in myself, to try my hardest and, above all else, to be happy. This year is going to rock, if the first few days are anything to go by... I'm so excited!

Song of the day: Lostprophets -End of the world.