Lacuna Coil Live in Ottawa

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Correspondent
Tuesday, March 2, 2004 @ 11:38 AM

Lacuna Coil Live at the Babylo

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Lacuna Coil, A Legend Falls and Tribunal Take The Stage At Babylon, Ottawa, Canada, September 22; Correspondent Sets Record For Taking The Most Time To Submit Review; Blames Job-Hunting Schedule For Delay

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I promised a Lacuna Coil review, just not one right away....

First things first, having arrived in Ottawa after my near-decade sojourn in Saskabush, this was the perfect homecoming gift for me. Well, I didn't really know anyone at the concert, save for this one dude I met at the ticket lineup who couldn't of been no more than 17 years old and knew his Euro-metal. Not exactly the high school reunion I was expecting but if most of my classmates were alienated by what I listened to back then they'd be even more shut out by what I listened to now. One time I had to tell a friend the difference between a song and a sample having heard Spandau Ballet's "True" on the radio and called it "that PM Dawn jam." I couldn't begin to tell you how I know these sorts of things....

Surprisingly, my mom -- on vacation to see me and knowing that I wasn't into her types of community-oriented activities -- was cool enough to actually pay for my ticket -- in return for endless hours of Shania Twain. You gotta give to receive somehow. But let's cut to the chase....

Local three-piece death dealers Tribunal were the first band to take the stage that night. Pretty tight and technical for the most part and reminiscent of Testament and Death at their most energetic. Probably some shades of early Nile and Marduk in places. Only drawback was that they played so loud and fast that even they forgot which songs they played, but they get the honorable distinction of being the first opening band I knew that got a rowdy moshpit going before the opening act could. In this city, at least. Check them out at http://www.thetribunal.cjb.net and hopefully by the time this review ever gets posted the band will have found an alternative to mp3's to get their songs broadcast worldwide. Judging by the talent on display that night court is in session for this band.

Whereas Tribunal were abrupt and to the point, A Legend Falls took things about a fraction slower than their predecessors but still every bit as brutal. Part of me wanted to invoke comparisons to Brand New as most of their songs sounded like 6 minute or longer Wagnerian emo tributes at the first listen (and not announcing the songs half the time didn't always help for the first time fan) but then the dueling guitars came out and it was starting to sound like a prog-rock version of Killswitch Engage. And I'll be damned if their second guitarist didn't invite Sammy Hagar comparisons from just his identical Red Rocker guitar that he was playing most of the night. Songs that I eventually made out from their setlist that night included "The Voice Inside," "The Lesser Of Evil" and "Chaos Becomes Us." Not bad, although the singer's got more potential in him to invoke a better crowd reaction. They've been together for over a year and a half now so I'm guessing that they're past stage fright at this point. Check them out at http://www.alegendfalls.tk/.

Lacuna Coil took a pretty big risk in playing a concert in a town whose market for metal is, admittedly, not that big, if even that noticeable. Even their record label advised against this concert at first citing the amount of money that they'd be losing. Not to mention that the comparisons to Evanescence would be too much for the band to bear. Actually, I made that last one up just to confuse the Evanescence fans reading this. Since I'm at a loss for a punchline I'll go to the songs that I could remember:

"Swamped": Didn't catch the opening song but the lead up to this song really got the crowd pumped. Vocalist Cristina Scabbia reminded me of this one girl named Antonella back in high school with this really small body physique on stage. Antonella wasn't into metal and we both attended a Catholic high school with uniforms and the like but I'm guessing that if she was into metal she'd be like Cristina with the whole black goth miniskirt outfit happening. The rest of the band dressed in black and despite the nu-metal bouncecore jumping the guitarists did they didn't miss a beat.

"Heaven's A Lie": I'm guessing the entire front row that night just found KNAC online a few days prior to the concert while this song was just getting into heavy rotation. Honest to God, they sang along word-for-word throughout the whole song. In unison. I think the crowd knew the words better than the band members themselves at one point. Ottawa radio isn't exactly well-renowned for being cutting-edge (although some 13 years ago the much-missed 54 Rock's setlist read like the current BITD setlist) and about the only song on the charts right now that's even close to sounding like this song would be *sigh* "Bring Me To Life." But, I stress very strongly, with better rapping, which in this case would be none.

"Daylight Dancer": Not bad, although not really a stand-out track. Backup singer/rapper Andrea Ferro's vocals help the song out a bit but not by much. I'd need to hear it more often for a definitive opinion.

"Aeon/Tight Rope": This song gets the attention of the audience back again. The stop-start intro helped got me to blink my eyes and go "Huh?" and took me along for the ride.

"Halflife": This is where they start going back in time (well, to 2001's Unleashed Memories anyway). If Cristina hadn't been taking control of the singing before, she's totally dominating now. The crowd must've been weaned on the very early material since other than during "Heaven's A Lie" they're even more psyched up.

"Falling Again": This is going even more back to the first full-length album. Pretty bombastic. I think they actually played this song at the end. Sorry. I was too busy also being stricken with actually getting to drink something a bit harder than water at an all-ages show (so that's why the sXe kids were pretty mellow despite rushing the stage half the time). I discussed that piece of irony with a couple of the audience members after the song. First person to agree with me won a couple of stickers.

"The Ghost Woman And The Hunter": Back into the recent material. Cristina and Andrea's singing/spoken word dialogue really brought out the song's character. Almost like watching a play. Nice.

"Comalies": The closest they come to sounding more like Queensryche that night with haunting female vocals. And I'm not just saying this to avoid any more future analogies and similarities with Evanescence.

"Senzafina": The band's only song of the night sung in their native Italian. My fluent trilingualism only goes as far as English, French and Spanish so your guess is as good as mine as to what they're singing about here.

"Stars": Not the Hear 'N Aid classic but Lacuna Coil's song for us, the fans. It preceeded a monologue about how great the fans were and again about how their label laughed at their idea at first to do an Ottawa gig because of the lack of a real market here for their music. But it worked, considering how many people knew the words to most of their songs that night.

"When A Dead Man Walks": Back into familiar territory again since this was probably the song that got me hooked on them.

"My Wings": Actually this was probably the first song that KNAC's played by them. Probably by AJ Motts or Vicki whatshername some 4 years ago. It was either to showcase new talent or they got tired of me badgering them for delaying my request for Korn or something. Which worked. Now if they could only do something about the Korn...

That was probably the end of the concert right about then although after the backstage meet-and-greet with the band and a game of, um, pull-my-finger with Cristina (although the drummer got the rest of my stickers that night) I tried in vain to nab the setlist from someone else near the stage but just wasn't quick enough so I'm going on hearsay as far as the setlist went. And yes, I did take over 5 months to get this out which doesn't seem to have affected LC's popularity that much since they recently got a slot on the Ozzfest second stage this summer. This very belated review can only improve their profile on this side of the Atlantic at this point. And the issue here isn't about how long I took in doing this review but on how good Lacuna Coil are live (and this review may as well be a Best of 2003 Concert piece by now). They've probably done a good two other North American tours since I last saw them but don't let that stop you, wherever you live, from seeing them live. At $20 a ticket this was money well spent. Plus I dodged the proverbial bullet in having to make friends in town again by going to tai chi or macramé classes.

Lacuna Coil's website can be found at http://www.lacunacoil.it.

Plus special mention goes to http://www.ottawametal.com member Rory a.k.a. Soup for the lowdown on live metal events in Ottawa. More to come, hopefully.

Send your live reviews to submissions@knac.com

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