Delightful Delirium: 3 Nights of Lacuna Coil in New YorkSaturday, 11th June 2016
May 25, 2016 – Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY
How many times to you get to catch a big name act like Lacuna Coil in the intimate venue setting at this point in their career? Despite the 2 hour plus drive, Saint Vitus is easily one of this writer’s favorite venues for catching bands over the past few years so it was a win-win. Thus, a ticket was snagged as soon as it was announced (it unsurprisingly sold out quickly). Figuring this wasn’t going to be the regular ‘Vitus show,’ the show time was listed at 8 PM – arriving just after 7 and driving past the venue reaffirmed this notion as there was a line spanning to the end of the block of fans waiting to get inside. In line, it was noted that the band wasn’t going to go on until 9:45 (and there were no opening bands). But wanting to be able to see all of the action on stage, 2 hours of waiting didn’t seem that terrible. Many decided exactly the same thing and the stage room slowly got more and more crowded as the time began to move closer towards even 8 PM. Clearly there were a number of die-hard fans in the crowd as well.
As 9:45 drew closer, you could tell those who had been waiting for the past 2-plus hours were getting ready, with a few brief chants occurring in the last half-hour. But the lights dimmed and the band made their way through the sea of fans to get to the stage as scheduled. At this point, the energy in the room was palpable and infectious. Plenty of cheering as the band made their way upfront (squeezing through the crowd) and erupted as they began things with “Nothing Stands in Our Way.” Equally interesting was watching the expression of the band with this, who continued to revel in the atmosphere of the venue and intimate setting as the songs continued. Vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro almost constantly interacting with those in the front – shaking hands, high-fives, getting right in fans’ faces during vocal lines, and singing directly into a phone that was taking a photo. This sort of thing lasted from beginning to end, and it was a true testament to the sheer fun that the band was having at the venue. The band and fans just had an incredible energy that lasted the entire set.
The beginning of the band’s set leaned heavily on their 2014 effort Broken Crown Halo), but the band offered up “House of Shame,” from the [now released at time of posting] release Delirium. While impressive when it was released in terms of the heaviness factor, it was a fantastic track in the live setting. The band started to pull out some older songs after that, with “Heaven’s A Lie,” “Swamped,” and “To the Edge” being a nice trip down memory lane. Hearing “Cybersleep” later in the set was also a great display of Scabbia’s vocals – powerful and intoxicating. Towards the end of their set came one of the evening’s most amusing moments: bassist Marco Zelati handing over the bass to Scabbia so that she could hit a few notes. Again, the playfulness of the band was fueling the vibe of the crowd (and vice versa) – very cool to be a part of. After “Enjoy the Silence,” the band joked about this would be where they went offstage before the encore, and how their only option would be to try to hide behind the drums and have us pretend we couldn’t see them. Some more amusing banter ensued, and the band closed out with “Trip the Darkness,” “Zombies,” and “Our Truth,” concluding an incredible night of music with a vibe that many in the crowd will find difficult to forget.
May 27, 2016 – The Chance Theater – Poughkeepsie, NY
After a day of recuperation, it was off to The Chance for round two. Admittedly, it’s a bit tougher to be entirely objective about this date, as it was the first time my 6 year old son was able to accompany me to a show. Hitting up a pre-show meet & greet with Lacuna Coil at the fantastic local record shop, Darkside Records, it was off to the show.
(Photo credit: Roberto Hull, Carry On Photography)
Opening up the bill was local metal act, Everwar. With a penchant for traditional and power metal in their sound, they quickly captured a good chunk of the crowd and seemingly worked over everyone else in the audience before their set was through. Lots of energy and great vocals, but the set truly belonged to the guitar solos, which were full of that timeless shredding quality and left a lasting impression. If you are in the area, definitely seek out Everwar.
Beginning the nationals was Painted Wives. Coming across as heavier than a few pre-show videos would have led one to believe, they were successful in moving a lot of heads during their set. Some bits of Tool and Alice in Chains tossed into their doom metal mix kept things interesting as the set continued. Not afraid to make fun of themselves either, as they joked at one point about how they came to the realization that all of their songs ended the same way – then tossing a little extra on the finish of their next song to change it up. Fun to watch, and it was clear they were having a good time on stage.
Switching things up soundwise as things continued was 9electric. With an industrial approach reminiscent of Static X and Powerman 5000 infused with some metallic and melodic edges, it’s a sound meant to carry over well in the live setting. Very high energy material, and vocalist Ron Underwood was constantly moving across the stage, and off of it, interacting up close and personal with the crowd (including my son) and effectively firing up the audience. Some real flashy stuff as well, with some strobe lights (including drummer Micah’s neat-o glowing drum kit) as well as a few solid solos from guitarist Mikey Lopez. Among some new tracks (“New God,” “Lies”), the band ended things in a way sure to promote some crowd interaction – a fun cover of AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.”
Having just caught Lacuna Coil two nights before, it made for some nice comparisons. Moving from Saint Vitus to The Chance isn’t a huge jump in capacity, but the stage allows for some more movement (as well as small space from the crowd). It being release day for Delirium, the band was clearly in very high spirits to see their latest release reach the public. All of the same positive remarks could be made for the band’s interaction with the audience – just as engaging and fun to watch as two nights prior. It’s quite clear when watching the band that they are appreciative for being able to do what they do on a nightly basis, which does elevate the energy of their show. Performance-wise, things were just as tight – the chosen setlist certainly holds up well for a repeat performance. Again, “House of Shame” was a real highlight of the set, and gives off some really cool energy – as does the start-up “Nothing Stands in Our Way” and “Die and Rise” (which my son was quite pleased to hear). Watching the interaction between Ferro, Scabbia, and Zelati is alone reason to check out a gig. All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better live introduction for my son, whose growing exhaustion didn’t stop him from headbanging and throwing some horns to show his approval.
June 9, 2016 – Gramercy Theater – New York City, NY
Almost two weeks later after two rapid-fire gigs, third time looked to be the charm. Another sold out NYC show, and this time, to top it off, Yahoo Live Nation would be streaming the event for the world to partake in. The largest venue capacity of the three NY dates, there was much potential for an energetic evening. Arriving hours before doors, it was easy to get the impression of how dedicated and passionate Lacuna Coil’s fanbase is – many familiar faces in the line (and then inside the venue) from both the Brooklyn and Poughkeepsie shows were back once more to support the act. Coilers take their role quite seriously!
With no locals and running a tight ship to keep everything lined-up for Lacuna Coil’s 10 PM stream, Painted Wives hit the stage promptly and cranked through their set. The band plays with plenty of energy and one enjoyable perk was their dry sense of humor. Encouraging some crowd participation before a track started by having them do a quick “1-2-3-4,” someone shouted that they couldn’t count, and frontman/guitarist Justin Suitor quickly and drolly quipped, “I guess you’ll have to sit this one out.” The Mastodon meets Alice in Chains vibe is an interesting approach to doom metal, and while it may not be for everyone, they proved themselves to be a formidable act in the live arena.
Another band who would be streaming their set (though through their own Facebook page), 9electric hit the ground running once more with “New God.” A few extra bodies on the stage compared to the Poughkeepsie show, with two scantily-clad females on stage dancing during a few of the band’s tracks (at the beginning and end of the set), assumingly to add some extra flair. Sonically, 9electric is somewhat removed from our usual coverage zone at DR but it’s hard not to be impressed by the young band’s intensity and presence on-stage.
As previously noted, vocalist Ron Underwood belts out his lines while almost constantly on the move with a startling amount of consistent energy – standing on the rail and interacting with the crowd, and tonight, even going so far as to do a bit of crowdsurfing. Guitarist Mikey Lopez and bassist CaseyDC following suit on stage as well, providing the viewer with much to engage and take in during the performance – in addition to the catchy, industrial-laden tunes. There’s a good balance of more melodic cuts (“The Damaged Ones,” “Beautiful”) with uptempo, and heavier numbers (“Lies,” “Time Bomb”) despite the shortness of their set. If you are looking for some solid, fun material that pushes into industrial territory, the band’s first full-length, The Damaged Ones, comes out July 15th.
If 9electric fired up the crowd, then Stitched Up Heart put them into a frenzy. With their full-length debut, Never Alone, set for release at the end of this week (June 17), the band has been effectively working the live circuit recently to build buzz for said occasion. An interesting and enticing blend of metal, rock, gothic, there’s a lot of genre-blending and crossover potential to be had (easy to reel in fans from Evanescence to In This Moment to Amaranthe, just for starters). At the center of all of this is frontwoman Alecia “Mixi” Demner, whose sometimes jazzy, sometimes soaring, and constantly enigmatic vocal performance takes the band to incredible heights. She seemingly throws all of her energy into the show, exuding plenty of passion as she interacted with the audience and, like 9electric, wasn’t afraid of going right to the rails to get involved.
The rest of the band didn’t slouch on this either, moving about on stage, headbanging and thrashing about, clearly enjoying themselves. Even the drummer Decker was involved, standing atop the drumkit (facing Demner), and the two simultaneously jumped down to start “Monster.” With the energy level quite infectious, the band incited the first bit of shoving and moshpit action with “Catch Me When I Fall” and it was quite obvious that the band had completely won over the crowd by the time their all-too-short 5 song set had finished. If these evening’s performance was any indication, expect to see this band exploding across the scene in the next few months.
With the stage prepped and ready a little before the stream was scheduled to start, you could feel the energy rising within The Gramercy before Lacuna Coil hit the stage. When Maki walked onto the stage in a creepy/cool clown get-up, you knew the band was going to pull out all the stops for this one. There was much excitement as the band began to lay into “Nothing Stands in Our Way,” with an audible crowd singing right along through much of it. Of the three evenings, The Gramercy obviously has the most space on stage, which the band used to their benefit, with members moving across the stage with plenty of energy. Seemingly taking things on a more serious note (no doubt due to the fact that the world was watching via live stream), there was just as much passion, presence, and fan appreciation as the two evenings prior. Ferro and Scabbia truly pouring themselves into their vocals – it’s difficult to gauge, but this may have been their greatest performance of the three. Ferro bringing the intensity, and Scabbia asserting the more gothic sweetness within the metal facade. Somehow it’s been overlooked previously in the write-up, but new guitarist Diego Cavallotti fits right in with the band, also possessing a certain charm and presence on the stage. Charm and charisma are two things the band revels in.
There were two modifications to the setlist, with new track “Ghost in the Mist” making its way in along with “Intoxicated” (replacing “To the Edge” and “Fire”). It’s easy to report that the band’s new material stands quite strong in the set and the crowd approval was quite high, not that there was ever a moment otherwise. “Ghost” having plenty of intensity, along with the title track and “House of Shame,” hopefully next time around they’ll put a few more in (“Blood, Tears, Dust” or “Take Me Home” maybe?). With the larger crowd, there was much more audible singing along, and a mosh pit grew alongside some crowdsurfing as the band’s set raged on. Their cover of “Enjoy the Silence” works nicely to close out the set (before the encore), pushing the crowd participation to the maximum (Scabbia herself encouraging the crowd to be the loudest of the three NY appearances).
It’s always nice to see such a veteran act so genuinely passionate and appreciative towards their fan base, and it’s even better when they hit another creative high mark like their recent Delirium. The band is totally at ease on the stage, and their attitude and energy is top notch. The entire billing made themselves available after the show, understanding that grassroots approach of winning over individual fans with the personal touch. Some highlights included chatting with 9electric’s Ron Underwood about Fear Factory’s Demanufacture and watching Stitched Up Heart’s Mixi drive a “pocket rocket” bike around the block before coming back to chat with those outside.
Lacuna Coil has been doing a massive signing session after each show, and this evening’s line extended out the venue doors and took well over an hour to process. Even still, fans lingered about afterwards and the band graciously mingled with them and took pictures on their way out to the bus – all with a genuine smile. Scabbia herself, exiting around 1AM (the show was done at 11PM), happy to greet those who stuck around – having to drop some things in the bus but eagerly promising she’d be right back – a real testament to why the band has such a die-hard following. Lacuna Coil is a true class act.