GIG REVIEW: Lacuna Coil, Eluveitie & Infected Rain Live at The Academy, Dublin
On a cold winters night in Dublin, Cristina Scabbia clutches her microphone and sings “Tonight it’s going down,” in front of a sold-out crowd in The Academy. It’s an evening when these words feel more appropriate than ever. In support of their ninth studio album, a new fan favourite ‘Black Anima’, Lacuna Coil have battled snowstorms, health scares and more than a few defeated tour buses while touring relentlessly across the world. But despite the best efforts of Murphy’s Law and the elements, Lacuna Coil have prevailed. And their first Irish performance in a decade served as the perfect testament as to why this band are one of the best live acts around.
Which cannot be said of everyone on the night? With opening support from Moldovan outfit, Infected Rain, blending nu-metal grooves with hardcore vocals, two songs in it becomes clear this hardworking band are failing to produce anything original. Like their image, it might seem exotic for half a second, but take a walk up toward Cyberdog in Camden Town and you’d be forgiven for thinking Infected Rain were staff members. Despite dealing in styles seen and heard before, invested vocalist simply known as Lena, earned a positive response from the Irish audience for giving it her all. Enough to suggest if Infected Rain didn’t show enough power on the night, they certainly have some promise.
Directly following were the highly anticipated, eight-piece, Swiss folk metal party, Eluveitie. Yet as parties go, it might have been better had they shown up fashionably late. When a large ensemble of musicians with traditional folk instruments walks on to a stage in Ireland, you’re in with a pretty good chance of receiving a warm reception, which Eluveitie did. Yet by the end of the night, much of the audience were faced with a conundrum. Announced as co-headliners on this tour, with the final performing slot rotating depending on dates and territories, many were wondering why? Not that Eluveitie haven’t got something. Even if it feels like two very different bands colliding, often to the detriment of one. But even the heavy support they had in attendance will have to admit that Scabbia and Co. stole the show by some distance.
While some Eluveitie songs, and most members, hinted at something wonderful trying to get out, there simply wasn’t enough room on the stage, with front-man Chrigel Glazmann bullying his way into the spotlight every chance he got. Vocally, Glazmann’s unimaginative, one tone vocals drowned everything and everyone else out, droning like a train over everything else. Which is a shame, for there’s some great music and musical prowess here. Enough to make you wonder what the band would be like fronted by Fabienne Erni, whose voice, presence, and superb playing disclosed the true heart of the band. As opposed to her counterpart who demonstrated that it’s easy to look like you matter more than you do when you’re standing next to the people who really matter. And there were many times when Eluveitie really did matter until they were elbowed out of Glazmann’s way.
With Lacuna Coil theatrically attired and arriving through a wall of smoke, the Irish audience greeted them with such an eruption it filled the decade they’d waited to welcome them back. And Lacuna Coil did not disappoint. Opening with “Blood Tears Dust” from their acclaimed album ‘Delirium,’ an album which saw them transitioning into a heavier incarnation, the audience’s overwhelming response confirmed that this new direction has indeed proved fruitful. Yet everything worked on the night. Blending songs old and new, classics like “Trip The Darkness”, “Our Truth” and “Layers Of Time” played off one another in an almost familial fashion.
Throughout, Lacuna Coil, as a unit, were a force to be reckoned with. A well-oiled machine that once it got going, there was no stopping. Bassist Marco Coti Zelati, guitarist Diego Cavalooti and their charismatic new drummer Richard Meiz shook the room with their explosive chemistry and musicianship. Meanwhile, vocalists Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia were just short of pulling the audience on stage in what was an epic yet intimate performance. While contrasts may seem unkind, Ferro was everything Glazmann was not, his vocals fashioning phrases that complimented the musicians and his fellow vocalist, and rendered his own voice, and the performance, far more powerful for stepping back and letting the others play.
At the heart of which stood Scabbia, like a wild bolt of unleashed passion, providing the gravitational centre around which the Lacuna Coil universe turns. Larger than life, Scabbia treated each audience member as if they were her best friend. Delivering an immersive and impeccable performance that has to be seen to be believed. As the night came to a close amidst cheers, Christmas hats, and catching bouquets, hits such as “Swamped”, “Heavens A Lie”, the cheeky but irresistible “Naughty Christmas,” and finally the band’s anthem “Nothing Stands In Our Way” brought the night to a perfect end. If the night proved to be a four-star gig overall, Lacuna Coil proved to be a five-star act on the night, letting nothing stand in their way in reuniting with friends in a connection that can never be broken. A reunion ten years in the making. You can be certain Lacuna Coil and their Irish Coilers will be eager to reunite once again. Sooner rather than later.