Tuesday, May 6, 2003 @ 3:25 PM
Opeth, Lacuna Coil, and Yakuza
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REVIEW BY: Chris Slack
There certainly have been a lot of shows in Seattle lately, good ones at that. I was a bit worried that I wasn’t going to be able to take photos because I couldn’t obtain permission in advance (I consider it rude to shoot without permission) but managed to get permission from Yakuza and Lacuna Coil before they started. Due to the fact that I was running around trying to secure a photo pass for Opeth, I was unable to get my customary position front and center which hurt my shots to some degree. There was a LOT of people at this show, even for openers Yakuza, which is somewhat surprising as Seattle folks generally skip lesser-known opening acts.
The evening started off with a thirty minute set from Chicago’s Yakuza. I’d heard of them but had never heard their music so I had no idea what to expect. When I saw their vocalist come out toting a saxophone I knew they weren’t going to be a typical metal band. The music sounded like a chaotic blend of Miles Davis and Dillinger Escape Plan, very unusual stuff. The band put out a lot of energy during their set and got a decent crowd response. Unfortunately the sound mix wasn’t very good during their set; there was way too much “mud” in the bottom end. I couldn’t really get into the music, too much chaos and confusion for my metal ears, but give Yakuza kudos for being creative and having an original sound.
Photos of Yakuza from this show can be found here.
After Yakuza’s set I spent more time hunting for Opeth’s tour manager but had no luck so I popped into the bar for some water then headed back to the showroom to wait for Lacuna Coil to go on. I only had permission to shoot for the first three songs so I didn’t want to lose any time trying to fight for position once they started.
When Lacuna Coil came on stage the crowd went nuts and the floor became very densely packed. They played a solid set of their style of goth rock/metal and got a great reaction from the Seattle crowd which surprised me a bit since Lacuna Coil still isn’t that big of a name over here. Cristina Scabbia proved to be a strong frontwoman, showing a great deal of range and control in her vocals but still headbanging viscously enough to compete with the men of metal. Her voice and mannerisms, along with her dark good looks and shiny red/black dress made it hard to take ones eyes off of her (as evidenced by the photos I managed to snap) while the band was playing. Andrea Ferro did a good job as a frontman as well, at least in the vocal department. I thought some of his facial expressions and posturing came off as cheesy but hey, his vocal work was solid and that’s really what counts. The rest of the band did their jobs but Christina stole the show. To be completely honest I found myself getting a little bored after the first 4 songs (I was tired the mellowness of the music wasn’t helping) so I left the showroom to once again try to find the elusive Opeth photo pass. If anyone has Lacuna Coil’s set list for this show please e-mail it to me to complete my review.
Photos of Lacuna Coil from this show can be found here.
While Lacuna Coil was finishing up their set I headed outside to get some fresh air and cool down, the Graceland can get very hot at time and tonight’s show was definitely one of those times. At this point I had pretty much given up on taking photos of Opeth as I couldn’t find anyone to talk to. Turns out that luck was in my favor because when I got outside Opeth’s tour manager was standing outside their bus and was happy to help me out by giving me a photo pass. After that I quickly headed back inside to try to get a good spot in the packed venue.
I thought the Graceland was pretty packed while Lacuna Coil was playing but it didn’t even compare to the pre-Opeth crowd. The venue must have been very near to capacity as it took me nearly 10 minutes to work my way through the crowd to get anywhere close to the stage. Front and center were several very tall guys which made it very difficult to get off good shots when I had no chance of getting myself to the stage. Once Opeth got on stage the Graceland became as crowded and hot of a venue as I’ve ever experienced. I am almost at a loss for words on describing just how good Opeth was in a live setting, I found myself in sheer awe for the duration of their 105 minute set. They played their set perfectly, never missing a note of beat through even the most complex parts of their songs. Unlike many heavier acts, the entire band appeared to be very relaxed while they were playing, almost as if they were in a Zen-like state of blissful well-being. When Mikael Akerfeldt spoke to the audience it was almost as if he were addressing an audience at a new age type concert, speaking with a soft and pleasant voice, never shouting or growling. He joked about “Sleepless in Seattle” being the only thing he know about the town and promised to come back in support of the “Damnation” album in a few months. Surprisingly Opeth chose not to play a single track from their recently released album “Damnation”, stating that they would be doing a separate tour for it. I’ll wrap this up by saying that Opeth is one of the best live bands I have ever seen; they are masters at their art and obviously love what they are doing. If you like any form of metal, do yourself a favor and check these guys out the first chance you get, you will not be disappointed.
Opeth set list:
The Drapery Falls
A Fair Judgment
Demon of the Fall
Photos of Opeth from this show can be found here.
(Photos by Chris Slack)