One of the best-known Italian metal bands around, LACUNA COIL, recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. To celebrate the event, they put on a special one-night show at 02 Forum in Kentish Town, London. It’s been a while since we’ve been to an event in London, so this seemed like the ideal time to check out another show there.
The last time I saw LACUNA COIL live, was in Finland. They played at Nosturi back in February 2010. As stated in our review, Marco Zelatti, the bassist, was unable to play that show. As well as the band played, and they really played their arses off, his absence was notable. That was 7 years ago and as much as I have always loved this band, as sometimes happens, I had drifted away from keeping tabs on them. So tonight was bound to be full of songs that I wasn’t familiar with.
And so it was that I found myself on the balcony at the Forum in Kentish Town looking down at a white curtain with the LACUNA COIL logo projected on it, and I was full of anticipation. Looking out at the people, I could see flags from all over the world, some of whom had started off “ONE-NINE-TEEN!” chants. At 20:21, the house lights went out and the audience erupted.
The intro track was a synthesized circus melody that slowly gave way to what sounded like a ghostly child singing. A horror soundtrack that almost reminded me of WHITE ZOMBIE but with shades of Blade Runner. A stilt walker appeared on stage dressed like a satanic goat and shortly after the show began in earnest.
The first track, “A Current Obsession,” began not as an explosion of a band tearing on to the stage ready to rip our heads off. It crept along as something more sinister and setting the mood for what was to come. The stage was a somewhat bare affair, but carefully planned with a wide drum riser and steps either side. The backdrop to this was half a circus tent, with the words “THE 119 SHOW” picked out in lights. Set the stage, and let the performances do the talking.
Prior to “Blood, Tears, Dust,” we saw some dancers coming onstage in spangly leotards and massive curly white wigs. Being from a newer album, “Delirium“ (2016), this was one of the tracks that I wasn’t familiar with. But it was a winner for me as soon as I heard it. Andrea Ferro (vocals) does a different type of screaming that I haven’t heard from him before – less of a low growl and more of a hardcore type of sound.
The next song brought me my first goosebumps of the evening: “Swamped” is one of my favorites from the time when I was a much more avid follower of the band and they absolutely ripped it. Having enjoyed all of the songs so far (but really only knowing “My Wings”), this is where the concert really took off for me personally. I started to feel elevated by the music and not just the balcony!
After this song, we got the first full welcome from the Cristina Scabbia (vocals), commenting on all the flags she could see in the audience. People really had come from far and wide: Russia, Brazil, Italy. Zelatti wandered over to her while she was talking and whispered in her ear. There was also an Australian flag in the crowd! It would be nice to believe that they had traveled all that way to see the show, so I won’t question that too much!
After “Veins of Glass,” we got another thank you from Scabbia and some more props were wheeled onto the stage. This was another song that was new to me, but I warmed to it immediately and the performance given by the circus performers really added to it. There were four large picture frames with white cloths on them and people waving their arms through gaps as if they were paintings coming to life, like tormented souls trying to escape the canvas. At the end they closed in around the two singers.
What came as a complete surprise to me, was when they played “Hyperfast” – I got those goosebumps again. I might be wrong, but I have the feeling this is one of those songs that they’ve not played before. I was very happy to hear that.
Another great performance piece was “Heaven’s a Lie.” Before the song began, a white silk sheet (and what looked like a rope) were unrolled from the rafters. As the song began, a couple of dancers appeared and started climbing up them to perform a depiction of heaven and hell. One of the winged figures was dressed in white and the other in red. Then I noticed that the rope was in fact a tail!
The main set was rounded out by “Senzafine,” “Closer,” “Comalies,” and “Our Truth” – all explosive crowd favorites.
The next part of the show was very special: the curtain dropped again and we were witness to more carnival dancing while they set it up. When the curtain came up again, there was another curtain in front of the circus tent and a grand piano was wheeled on stage. I couldn’t quite see who was playing it, but it may have been Ferro. When Scabbia returned to the stage, she was attached to a hoist and lifted up almost to the lighting truss, with a train that filled the entire stage. There she sung two songs, “Falling” and “Wide Awake,” beautifully rearranged as piano pieces, accompanied by dancers and a black winged fallen angel to one side. In my opinion, Scabbia stole the show during this segment. The whole crowd seemed to be transfixed.
The show was eventually rounded out by the obligatory (and highly energizing) cover of “Enjoy the Silence” and the opening track to “Broken Crown Halo” (2014), “Nothing Stands in Our Way.” It was certainly a high point to end the show on. The light show and performances of the circus troupe really added to the atmosphere of the event. Even though I wasn’t in the optimum spot for perfect audio, the sound was mostly great, but I have to admit that up on the balcony I found it difficult to catch the lyrics to the songs I wasn’t so familiar with.
With twenty-five songs over the course of the evening, I feel thoroughly inspired to catch up on the albums I have missed over the last 7 years. And so, with the smell of gunpowder in our noses and the hilarious (if surprising) strains of Madonna’s ABBA remix ringing in our ears, we made our way out of the auditorium and to the Forum’s upstairs bar for a final drink.
The night didn’t end there, though. I was lucky enough to be able to hang round at the end for the after party. After some time, the band came into the bar and began talking and hanging out with people. Here they offered people cake and Andrea Ferro poured champagne for the attended friends and fans. Unusually for me, feeling a little starstruck I decided not to approach the band members directly as I didn’t want to appear like a crazy fanboy. But as I collected my celebratory glass of bubbly from Mr. Ferro, he offered his hand to shake and I said, in my best Italian, “Grazzi mille!” His face lit up as he quietly responded with “Prego!” and a very genuine and appreciative smile. I have to say that was the perfect way to end a wonderful evening.
1. Intro/ A Current Obsession
3. My Wings
4. End of Time
5. Blood, Tears, Dust
7. The Army Inside
8. Veins of Glass
9. One Cold Day
10. The House of Shame
11. When a Dead Man Walks
12. Tight Rope
13. Soul into Hades
15. I Like It
16. Heaven’s a Lie
20. Our Truth
21. Falling (piano)
22. Wide Awake (piano)
23. I Forgive (But I Won’t Forget Your Name) (encore)
24. Enjoy the Silence [Depeche Mode cover] (encore)
25. Nothing Stands in our Way (encore)
Written by Marc Taylor
Photos by Chiaki Nozu
Interview Phantom Elite – “It’s always good to share that feeling that none of us is alone in hard times”