Lacuna Coil

Barfly, Liverpool on Sat 1st Aug 2009

With a tiny floor space flanked by steep steps, the Liverpool Barfly is a strange place for a metal gig - there's no room to swing a cat never mind for a moshpit. Even more strange is that ten years and five full-length albums into their career and fresh from scoring number 16 on the BillBoard chart with new release Shallow Life, Italians Lacuna Coil are still playing small-time venues like this. Although if recent success is anything to go by, they can't expect to be playing such intimate shows for much longer.

"We're tired," chanteuse Cristina Scabbia confides to eGigs backstage before the gig. "We just flew back from America and we're all jet-lagged. We need a day off." Sleep deprived or not, never once does this seem like a band that is just going through the motions. On the contrary they seem utterly ecstatic to be here. Cristina, as always, is beautiful, faultless, note perfect, while joint-vocalist Andrea's vocals sound less ridiculous than when committed to tape, less over the top, more disciplined, more tuned to the matter at hand.

Lacuna Coil

Picking up pretty much where 2006's 'Karmacode' left off, from the first spin of 'Shallow Life' it was obvious the band were pursuing an openly radio-friendly sound, eschewing their ethereal metal foundations for pop hooks, basing their sound on huge infectious choruses. It's a move that's been met with a lukewarm reaction from fans, but if any of the aficionados gathered here tonight are disgruntled at the new aural direction, they don't show it. After all, this is a band that have always had plenty of melody in their music.

Tonight the newer material jars lyrically alongside the likes of 'Entwined', with the buoyant 'I Won't Tell You' and 'I'm Not Afraid' lacking comparable depth. But sonically, the same tracks cut more mustard live than they do on record.

Lacuna Coil

'Spellbound' for instance sounds just as potent as 'Swamped' or 'Heaven's a Lie', while the driving thunder of opener 'I Survive' provides the set's heaviest moment. What's sad, is the apparent eagerness, or ease with which the band are able to distance themselves from their older material, performing songs solely from 'Shallow Life', 'Karmacode' and 'Comalies', albeit only the hits from the latter. But deliberately disregarding the debate surrounding the sacrifice of their musical integrity, its obvious Lacuna Coil are just having fun with their music.

The band are no longer a metal act, of that there is no doubt - the straightforward, somewhat vacuousness of 'Shallow Life' reveals exactly where they stand musically now. But in a live setting they remain tight, captivating and magnetic; there are worse things to get lost in than irrepressible melodies like these.

article by: Dannii Leivers

photos by: Sophie Maughan

published: 06/08/2009 10:33


sorry, we currently have no gigs listed for this act.