GIG REVIEW: An Evening With CRADLE OF FILTH Live at The Triffid, Brisbane
Cradle of Filth are a unique band – one which has garnered a ton of attention throughout their lengthy career. As a polarizing force that people tend to either love or loathe, there is little question that their music evokes certain emotions amongst listeners. Following a five year absence, Cradle of Filth finally returned to Brisbane armed with a new album, 2017’s Cryptorania – The Seductiveness of Decay, and intent on re-emerging on Australian shores with a bang.
Emerging one-by-one on stage, the band received rapturous cheers and applause from the crowd, much louder than the introductory theme playing to herald their arrival. It became quickly apparent with the way that the band entered that the crowd wasn’t just going to be watching a band run through the motions, but that they were going to be watching a performance that had been thoroughly worked on throughout this touring cycle.
The band were visually engaging throughout the show, with perhaps the only member not able to contribute too much towards that aspect being drummer Martin Skaroupka. Keyboardist Lindsay Schoolcraft performed admirably behind her keyboard, which was unfortunately relegated towards the back end of stage left, but if we are being honest the whole show was stolen by the three guitarists and main man Dani Filth himself up front. The interaction that these members provided the crowd was at a remarkably high level and was arguably the greatest strength of the show – even above their musical ability.
The interplay between all members was superb and while you could tell that the performance was carefully cultivated with certain queues prompting different stage transitions, the band members added their own characters into it. Guitarist Richard Shaw in particular proved he is a charismatic figure in a live setting purely from the character that he breathed into his performance. Whether it was pirouettes while headbanging, or the period where he played his guitar with a water bottle in-between drinks, there was never a dull moment while watching him on stage, and while these antics might not necessarily fit the very gloomy ethos that Cradle of Filth has, it didn’t feel out place or detract from the overall mood of the set.
Musically the band was tight, with no noticeable musical troubles, but that’s not to say that the show wasn’t without its flaws though. Filth experienced some technical issues during the first song which impacted on his delivery and saw him head to the side stage sound desk once, and provide some further prompts off-stage on more than one occasion, but was quickly rectified after the first song. It also felt like it took him a small amount of time to get warmed up, with the first two songs sounding a bit off until it finally seemed like he had found his groove. Schoolcraft was also a victim of poor sound issues with her vocals sitting horribly low in the mix for the majority of the set, making them quite difficult to hear over the guitars and keys at times, which was a shame – but ultimately not an issue attributable to her and something that she could do nothing to amend.
Filth kept engagement between songs brief but humorous, referring to the band as a bunch of Flaming Galah’s at one point, which was met with warm responses throughout the night. It was only really when he announced that this year the band would be issuing a 20th Anniversary remaster of Cruelty and the Beast that the crowd really issued a sizable response.
Being 27 years into their career, the band obviously had an expansive catalogue to pick from when selecting a setlist, and they did a superb job cultivating one that catered for all eras of fans. But it was a setlist that also seemingly took the notion of saving the best for last, with the band performing tracks that resonated very strongly with the crowd over their final five songs, and in turn, garnering the largest response of the night towards the end of the set leaving the crowd in a state of euphoria.
The mix during these final five songs seemed more balanced than those before the intermission preceding them, with Schoolcraft’s vocals in particular coming through clearer which was a blessing given that her vocals played a much greater role on these songs. This better balanced mix helped make these songs really hit home, and helped culminate the night on a highly positive note.
After being on the road for most of the year, Cradle of Filth showed no signs of road weariness and managed to put on a stellar performance. While it might have taken five years for the band to return to Brisbane, the crowd enjoyed every moment of the performance proving that there will always be a great reception for the band in this town.