As locals BEAST IN BLACK were taking over the Helsinki Ice Hall, some of us headed over to Tavastia to check out ELUEVEITIE and LACUNA COIL, who are celebrating their new albums (“Ategnatos“ and “Black Anima“ respectively) this year by touring together with INFECTED RAIN. The show took place on December 13th, 2019, as part of the Ategnatos European Tour 2019! Check out the full gallery here.
I admit that it’s unfortunate that some bands tend to tour in December, as it’s the time of year when I lose interest in attending gigs. However, fall 2019 had a decent line-up in Finland, so I still had some stamina to go see two of the bands that were my favorites when I moved here 10 years ago, at the same time! I missed the last Eluveitie show, so it only made sense to come this time. Due to the need to drop other Musicalypsers off at Jäähalli though, I had to miss INFECTED RAIN‘s set.
With a few minutes to spare before showtime on a long-sold-out night, we were surprised to find there wasn’t a queue and that all the people outside were just smoking. Tavastia was nevertheless quite full so INFECTED RAIN must have pulled in a pretty nice crowd.
LACUNA COIL was set to take the stage at the unusual time of 20:10, but the intro music began already at 20:05. Having seen LACUNA COIL at both Nosturi and Yo-talo, it really is a shame to see them on smaller stages, though the intimacy was really nice. We had to wonder if Nosturi was booked this night, or what the reason this show was in such a small venue might be.
Drummer Richard Meiz was first on stage, leaning ominously over the drums to the crowd. LACUNA COIL has caught our attention recently as an interesting visual band in the sense that their style seems to change from album-to-album despite the band not having a theme (like TURISAS or GLORYHAMMER). They are now fully in corpse paint, following their… I don’t want to call it the “ICP phase,” so let’s say the “Delirium institution” outfits, and the rest of the style is white-on-black (presumably custom) -patterned clothes of a simpler style – hoodies, dresses, and the like.
They opened with “Blood, Tears, Dust” and then took the old fans right back with “Our Truth.” The older material sounded great, though the overall sound from the stairs was a bit murky. You have to love when the classic bands keep up the classic material and don’t let the quality slip over time. It’s also clear that Andrea Ferro has gotten a lot better at growling in recent years.
Ferro and fellow vocalist Cristina Scabbia greeted the audience and encouraged them to do whatever they want as long as they take care of each other, and then told everyone to get “Reckless.” I want to take a moment to mention that during this song, we saw a guy in the front row helicoptering his beard braid and it was great. We were not, however, impressed with the rest of the audience’s effort to get reckless. The front few rows were dancing a bit but the rest were just grooving to the music. The really high notes Scabbia sings on the album were just as insane live and it’s so cool how her voice naturally sounds like it has effects on it.
They moved on to another new track “Layers of Time,” which was hard and heavy. These guys are so into their music and both fronts are so connected to the music, as well as the crowd. Scabbia then enticed the full venue into the now-de facto crowd singalong, their cover of DEPECHE MODE‘s “Enjoy the Silence.” Scabbia did her utmost to encourage our shy Finns to sing and on the whole she seemed quite successful, as we counted more moving than unmoving mouths. The audience started screaming for her last few notes though! “Sword of Anger” proved to be a great addition to their live set, and while Scabbia tried to do a dramatic intro to “Heaven’s a Lie,” she had to give it up because the crowd was so hyped that they guessed the song before giving her a chance to finish.
Scabbia explained the correct pronunciation of “Black Anima“ and that “anima” means “soul” in Italian, before going on to say that “Save Me” is about how no one should be afraid to ask for help. Near the end, they gave a shout out to the other bands and told the crowd to fear nothing and follow their dreams, to a drum beat no less, before “Nothing Stands in Our Way.” The last song had the stairs shaking from everyone started jumping and the audience seemed to have enjoyed the show on the whole.
This set was yet another episode of a band doing a great job but the crowd being only somewhat responsive. While things did pick up towards the end, it really is a shame that there wasn’t more movement to show the band the crowd is loving it. Nevertheless, it seemed as though everyone who bought a ticket had come for LACUNA COIL because it was hot and packed in there!
Lacuna Coil setlist (Tampere)
1. Blood, Tears, Dust
2. Our Truth
4. Layers of Time
5. Enjoy the Silence [Depeche Mode cover]
6. House of Shame
7. Sword of Anger
8. Heaven’s a Lie
10. Save Me
11. Nothing Stands in Our Way
ELUVEITIE‘s playtime was a mere 30 minutes later, which gave the crowd little time to refuel before round 2 (or 3, depending). A few minutes before start time, a symbol on a screen appeared as a white-clad woman appeared on stage and blew a very loud horn. She was joined by two more be-hooded women, chanting to the music that began.
Dramatic lighting flashed behind the screen until it dropped, revealing seven of ELUVEITIE‘s members and giving me my first taste of Fabienne Erni in the place of Anna Murphy. The immediate first impression of her was positive and she seemed to fit in with the band perfectly. Admittedly, the same enthusiasm couldn’t be so easily mustered for Michalina Malisz on hurdy-gurdy, who seemed cold and bored, but after a while appeared more like a musician who’s used to playing but not entertaining per se, and hasn’t yet learned how to have fun on stage. At first she appeared aloof, but after a while it was kind of sweet to see some little smiles breaking through.
After a mere one song, Chrigel Glanzmann greeted the crowd, saying that it has been too long since they had been in Helsinki and how much they love to be here, and then said the crowd could sing the next song in English or Swiss, which led to “De Ruef vo de Bärge.” It was hard to tell at this point if Erni was having a bit of trouble balancing power/passion with quality, or if the mediocre sound balance in the venue was what was causing some strange effects in the sound.
Guitarist Jonas Wolf and violinist Nicole Ansperger had nice stage chemistry together, interacting well without encroaching on the other’s territory. She pulled off some sharp quick sounds with nice precision early in the night, though the flute duel between Glanzzman and flutist Matteo Sisti in “Quoth the Raven” could have arguably been even cooler. Sisti, incidentally, appeared to be sporting some fresh ink, so we wondered if he had been tattooed while in Finland or Estonia.
Unless I remember wrong, Erni‘s presence also meant that live shows now include a harp. While the effect of the harp in the show is great, it was (unsurprisingly) quiet in the mix and very hard to hear most of the evening. There was a small but rowdy moshpit in “The Slumber” and the band did an interesting choice by playing “Epona” followed by “A Rose for Epona.” The song has always felt like it has tricky timing vocally and it seemed like it may have had some hiccups (though again it might have been caused by the strange sound quality). Malisz got a chance to rock out following the drum solo and “Havoc” was by far the rowdiest song of the night, audience-wise.
It was nice to hear that “Thousandfold” has survived 10 years in their set, as a personal favorite. I even saw Malisz crack a smile as the crowd responded to it. Glanzmann gave a raucous shout-out to INFECTED RAIN, LACUNA COIL, and the audience for coming to be a part of what they do. Erni dorned a new tattered dress for “Breathe” and “Helvetios,” and the band returned to finish with “Rebirth” and “Inis Mona.” Glanzmann gave another huge thank-you to the audience and Sisti jumped down to play among the front-rowers for the last half of the final song before they said their final good-nights.
It really was a shame that the mix was so poor during the event because both bands had some proper power to unleash and ELUVEITIE lost a lot of their musical nuances in the muddled mess of sound. Otherwise it was a pretty strong night of music. Both bands had put out solid new albums that added some nice new material into their live repertoires. It was certainly worthwhile to have gotten a ticket before this show sold out.
3. De Ruef vo de Bärge
5. Quoth the Raven
6. The Slumber
10. A Rose for Epona
16. Rebirth (encore)
17. Inis Mona (encore)
Written by Bear Wiseman
Photos by Marco Manzi