Lacuna Coil @ Blender Theatre at Gramercy (5/12/2007)

Lacuna Coil was headlining a tour that was labeled as “The Hot Chicks Of Metal”, and each of the groups had a female lead vocalist leading their charge into Metal. The bands featured this evening were Stolen Babies, In This Moment, Within Temptation and Lacuna Coil and while we had seen both Coil and In This Moment before, it would be the first time seeing Stolen Babies and Withn Temptation. To my knowledge WT was making their very first NYC appearance tonight. Peter Parrella and I were on point at this incredible show to document and photograph so scroll past the logo to see the full scoop.

lacuna coil logo

Artist: Lacuna Coil
Venue: Gramercy Theatre (New York, NY)
Opener: Within Temptation, In This Moment, Stolen Babies
Date: 5/12/2007
Label: Century Media Records

When you hear about a tour being called “The Hottest Chicks In Metal” you know your curiousity is going to flare up to see what it is going to be about and believe me folks I am glad that I had my attention called to this one. It was a tour that would feature Lacuna Coil in the headlining spot and most of the Metal Male demographic can agree that Cristina Scabbia is one of the calendar pinup favorites when it comes to female lead singers. To up the ante on this in terms of appeal and interest they would also feature Holland’s Within Temptation, melodic Metalcore upstarts In This Moment and the quirky Stolen Babies. Tonight the show would be at The Gramercy Theatre and be my second visit to the venue. Since I had just attended the Dark Tranquillity show at this same club I was able to know in advance that this would be the perfect setting for the goings on. As I walked in I was informed that it had been sold out for weeks and that’s never a bad thing in Metal. Here is the scoop on an incredible evening of music.

Stolen Babies: When I first heard “There Be Squabbles Ahead” by The Stolen Babies I admit that I was both intrigued and confused at their use of a more avant-garde theme. The band comes across like a Gothic Cabaret act meets some wildly experimental Dark Metal. Led by Dominique Persi they would be the perfect opener for this run of dates. Ms. Persi comes onstage all decked out in Gothic attire but also wears a combination of clown meets kabuki makeup and appeared as some sort of sinister Cabaret chanteuse when it comes right down to it. She sings in both melodic and dark styles and plays the accordion for the group. Joining her were Ben Rico on keyboards and a giant steel drum percussion device, Rani Sharone on bass with Gil Sharone on drums. I did not catch their touring guitarist’s name but needless to say everyone who was witnessing the goings on were enthralled by what they saw. I remember one person in the audience asking me what I make of this and I said it was what the band made of it that mattered most. Dominique interacted with the audience well and during “Hide Your Eyes” asked that we all turned around. Interesting would be the understatement when it comes to TSB and while they focused on their recent release it was clear that they were making new fans during the set whom I believe would never have heard of them if they were not that placed alongside Lacuna Coil and Within Temptation. I was enjoying myself quite a bit but sadly the set was on the short side yet not short enough to leave you unsure of what just happened. It’s my hope that they return rather quick for a headlining set at a smaller venue as I would like to see more of what this group can do. Thanks for keeping it interesting folks.

In This Moment: I first caught ITM when they were opening up for Kittie several months ago and I was quite happy to find them included on this tour. Given this was my second chance to enjoy them I knew full well what most of the audience would be in store for and it was nothing less than a Melodic Metalcore throttling. ITM is a band that shows that they are a headlining capacity act very early out of the gate and this is for a number of reasons. Lead singer Maria Brink is a tattooed beauty that comes across like the girl next door who you thought was cool enough to be one of the guys. She is nothing less than high energy and gets the audience to a fever pitch from the second she gets on the stage. Their major label debut is “Beautiful Tragedy” and I feel this album successfully mixes the brutality with the melody better than many others that have come before it. Maria sings in both guttural growls and melodic tones during the songs often switching back and forth between the two styles several times in each song. She also has the habit of shouting things to the audience between the raging riffs of guitarists Chris Howorth and Blake Bunzel and this seems to get the audience going all the more. Rhythms by bassist Jesse Landry and drummer Jeff Fabb are relentless as well, and most of the guys keep that cool smile during the set and it just shows that they know they are reading you when they play. Given this is their debut recording on Century Media Records, they focused mainly on the songs from this release with my own favorites of “Prayers”, “Daddy’s Fallen Angel” and “Beautiful Tragedy” being part of the all too short set. The songs were new to many of the audience members but there is something catchy about the choruses that allowed them all to be sung along to. I was glad to see no short supply of horns held high as they played. They will finish this tour and then be one of the Second Stage bands on the 2007 Ozzfest so that should increase their reach a little more. I sense bigger things ahead for this group so I suggest you all pay attention because I am sure you will enjoy them as well.

Within Temptation:
I could write this entire section with but a single word about the band Within Temptation and that is “FINALLY!!!” Yes, Within Temptation has arrived in the USA and let us be thankful to the Gods of Metal for that fact. It’s primarily due to the bands recent signing to Roadrunner Records who will be handling their newest album “The Heart of Everything”. For those that don’t really know much about the band let us quickly recap. The group is from the Netherlands and was formed in 1996 and one of the main groups responsible for the Gothic Metal sound that eventually became popular by bands who came after them like Evanescence. Led by the stunning Sharon den Adel the group mixed more Symphonic elements with the Gothic and delivered classic releases such as “Mother Earth”. While they would be opening up for Lacuna Coil this evening it would not take much observation to realize that more than half of the audience was here for them and rightly so as this would be their very first performance in New York as they embarked on the bands first North American trek. I like to think that they know in advance about potentially energetic crowds but as Sharon walked onstage to the roaring audience you could tell that she was a little overwhelmed by the reaction. Enjoy it Sharon, you deserve every accolade.

The interesting part about their performance was that the new album is still far from being released in the States and even though this is the case – the set list would focus very heavily on it. Of the eight selections they would do, the first six would come from the new release. I loved what I heard in the live sense and was a one of the fortunate ones to have an advance promo of it in order to be more prepared for reviewing them. Overall the sound was great and quite powerful on every track. The main single from the release is “What Have You Done” and features Keith Caputo from Life Of Agony but he was not present tonight so instead Sharon sought the aid of a young man in the audience. The crowd went wild as she reached over them and allowed him to sing the chorus section for a moment. Having heard the track before tonight I can say that he did a good job as well and takes away a special memory of the show. Their opener of “Our Solemn Hour” is a very heavy Gothic track that uses elements that they helped originally create very well and it’s sure to win them some fans for the new record. I was sad to find them also playing a very short set but at least they would close with two of their classic numbers of “Mother Earth” and “Ice Queen” – each of these tracks being considered among the best that they had ever recorded. After the show I luckily found a moment of Sharon’s time and inquired about a return for those that already wanted it and she said it was looking like sooner rather than later. I guess we can live with that one for the time being.

Lacuna Coil: I had just caught Lacuna Coil as part of the Jaegermeister Tour that found them opening for both Stone Sour and Shadows’ Fall so it was nice to see them doing a headlining spot on a tour like this. As a band they have been mixing the Gothic Hard Rock style into some other aspects for a couple of years now and with “Karmacode” they have found slight Industrial flavors on a couple of tracks. I first heard Lacuna Coil when they opened for Type-O-Negative a few years ago and felt that they had the potential for bigger things and now they prove this thought had come true night after night. Led by singer Cristina Scabbia they are an energetic group on stage and the unique practice of dual lead vocalists seems to work for them very well. With Andrea Ferro countering the lyrical play of Scabbia they are now delving more into the Alternative set than traditional Gothic Metal like that of Within Temptation and others who progress down this path. One again the audience would be going crazy and at this point I had to applaud them because this had been one night of surprises as far as entertainment value was concerned. The bodies had been in constant motion since the night began and Lacuna Coil was not going to offer them a chance to stop. They focused on music from the latest album but also visited my favorites from “Comalies” and even dropped in an unexpected cover tune by Depeche Mode with “Enjoy The Silence”. Cristina had the entire audience singing along and I never thought I would live to see the day where a room full to capacity with Metal heads would be singing along to Mode music. The Lacuna Coil set was longer which is understandable since they were the headliner, but on the new album a lot of the riffs blend together a little too well and could come off as repetitious in the live sense of songs feeling like you just heard them. If they had cut maybe 20 minutes off their set and given the extra time to Within Temptation or the others somehow I think they could have avoided this feeling from coming into play. Of course I loved what I was seeing, but was not alone in this perception. It was nice to see the response being so good as they are really a hard working group and very energetic on the stage. Rarely does movement stop on the deck which simply adds to the excitement of the show for everyone.

I left exhausted from this one and also found myself speaking of all the bands to anyone who would listen to me. Talk about getting your money’s worth, well I think everyone who attended this one with me was left feeling the same way. Later I found out that some nights on this tour would feature The Gathering instead of Within Temptation. To be honest that band does not fit within the context of Metal much anymore and would have been very out of place especially for the NYC show. We would luckily have an evening of music with them anyway as the following week would find them performing a full set at another club in the area. That will be a tale for another review so watch for it.

Within Temptation Set List:
1. Our Solemn Hour
2. What Have You Done
3. Stand My Ground
4. Frozen
5. The Howling
6. The Heart Of Everything
7. Mother Earth
8. Ice Queen

Lacuna Coil Set List:

1. To The Edge
2. Fragments Of Faith
3. Swamped – com
4. Closer
5. Senzafine – Unl
6. In Visible Light
7. Fragile
8. Within Me
9. To Live Is To
10. Daylight Dancer
11. Enjoy The Silence
12. My Wings
13. You Create What I See
14. Heaven’s A Lie
15. Our Truth

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