Monday, May 30, 2016

Concert Review: Lacuna Coil

Anticipation was running high as the crowd filtered in, everyone well aware of the impending midnight release of Lacuna Coil’s new album “Delirium.”  In the meantime, everyone would have to make due with a full evening’s performance punctuated by new moments couched within old favorites.  Lacuna Coil gleefully took the stage, combining their confidence in their performance with their own personal excitement over their new album.  With that, the fans focused in and the lights went low and the show was on.

Located literally in the middle of the Casino of the Earth at Mohegan Sun, the Wolf’s Den is a uniquely presented venue, part club and part open-air stage, slot machines in easy view as patrons who did not arrive early enough to get inside the gate instead hung out leaning on it.  The sound is good and the sight lines very good, but it does present an odd stage for a metal show – as Cristina Scabbia herself joked, being in the middle of the casino made it feel like she should be singing Celine Dion covers.

The attention of the casino patrons was snapped to the stage as the band began the evening with the head-banging rhythm of “Nothing Stands In Our Way” as the assembled devotees cheering loudly and in full throat.  It was impossible to be anywhere in the immediate vicinity of the Casino of the Wind and not be overwhelmed with the power of the band’s sound; it permeated all through the area, attracting many to the rail and pushing the woefully uninitiated away from their slots.

Decked-out entirely in a straitjacket motif, the band continued the hits of “Broken Crown Halo” by rolling into “Die & Rise,” thus assuring all present that this would be more a night to celebrate new classics than past histories.

The album “Dark Adrenaline,” which some critics panned as ‘too pop’ at the time of its release, was vindicated through the band’s recitation of multiple excellent selections over the course of the evening.  “Fire,” a song built to tap toes and possess crowds to sing along, may have been the evening’s best selection, Scabbia smiling through the uplifting chorus, further exhorting the crowd to participate.  Those gathered in the inner circle of the casino club gladly took part in the show, repeatedly showing their love for the band in an infectious, friendly atmosphere.

“Cybersleep,” a beautiful tune that sounds more like a James Bond theme song than anything else, thrilled the crowd, even if meant Andrea Ferro had to momentarily take a back seat.  What astonishes the most is the way Scabbia can sing this piece album-perfect, making the life performance live and breathe every bit as much as the one listeners are used to.

Naturally, there were a few teasers of “Delirium” sprinkled throughout, in the form of the title track for starters.  The first single, “House of Shame” changed the mood of the show into a deeper hue, much the way this new record stands as a darker exhibition of the songwriting prowess of Lacuna Coil.  The band, new members injecting a sense of fresh enthusiasm into the proceedings, was all business for this cut, pounding out the sinister bass rhythm while Ferro and Scabbia erected the harmonies, bringing the song to life.

Of course, even as much as this was a celebration of Lacuna Coil in the new decade, there were some throwbacks to the heady days more than a decade ago when the band was first becoming known on these shores.  It’s hard to envision a Lacuna Coil show where the band doesn’t indulge the crowd with “Heaven’s a Lie,” but an energetic run-through of “Swamped” came as a pleasant surprise.

Close to the end, after playing one crowd favorite after another, the band kicked off the show’s closing act with their cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence,” demanding that the audience help them through the chorus.  A two-song joyous and lionized performance of “Zombies” and “Our Truth” encouraged the crowd to embrace their individualism, and then with fans chanting and cheering, the band soaking in their adulation and reciprocating graciousness, the show was over, the bright lights of the slot machines weirdly accentuating the ongoing reverie of the fans.

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