Review by Sophie Maughan, photos by Russ Tierney
It’s a baltic Bonfire Night here in Brum, but its aural fireworks that I’m yearning for as the final UK date of the Lacuna Coil and Motionless In White co-headlining tour rolls into town. Having already witnessed an electrifying performance just days earlier in London, I’m hoping to give new adage to the phrase “Remember remember, the fifth of November.”
I manage to plough my way through the throng of over excitable teens gathered round the venue’s Temple room doors just as special guests Devilment take the stage. For those not completely au fait with the band in question, this Suffolk six-piece are fronted by Cradle Of Filth’s inimitable Dani Filth. There are plenty of rumbling drums and groove laden riffs which immediately incite a sea of raised horns. And if you weren’t familiar with these guys to start with, your eardrums will be quick to recognise those vocals. Enamel peeling shrieks are interspersed with low-end, demonic growls and I’m suddenly relieved that the bar staff are serving booze in plastic glasses.
Whilst there’s no disputing the malevolent appeal of songs such as ‘Sanity Hits A Perfect Zero’ and ‘The Stake In my Heart’ (taken from current album The Great and Secret Show), there are certain points where it all becomes a tad tongue-in-cheek. I find myself giggling at Dani’s between song banter – the snarling profanities (“What the fuck was that Birmingham? Make some fucking noise!”) uttered in that quasi-posh schoolboy accent is almost comical. It’s a thoroughly entertaining thirty something minutes nonetheless, and judging by the applause around me, well received even by the diehards watching.
As I head to the front to snag a suitable viewing spot, the room is visibly swelling with bodies and it is an excellent indication of the sheer hysteria which is building in anticipation of Motionless In White’s set. I’m overwhelmed by the oestrogen hanging in the dense air and my eyes are assaulted by a veritable sea of eyeliner and corpse painted faces.
The energy is fizzing and as the Penn state natives come into view amongst an explosion of strobes I can practically see the hormones ricocheting off the walls. Chris Cerulli (aka Chris Motionless) has an undeniable stage presence and as the quintet blast off with an explosive rendition of ‘Reincarnate’, the collective shit of the fan contingent is well and truly lost. I indulge myself and have a fangirl moment when the wonderfully sinister synth drenched ‘Sick From The Melt’ rings out and need zero encouragement to bang my own head. ‘Puppets 3’ is dedicated to “the awesome Mr Dani Filth and Devilment”. Given the fact that Dani actually features on the track, I’m surprised to see that he’s not invited on stage for this one. It feels like a missed opportunity to inject a new dimension in terms of dynamics, but nobody else seems to be overly disappointed by the omission.
The setlist tonight has something for everyone and is a delectable mix of older cuts (with tracks including cult favourite ‘Abigail’ and the wholly infectious ‘A-M-E-R-I-C-A’) and the brand new. EDM stomper ‘Generation Lost’ sounds absolutely monstrous in a live capacity with a chorus of such anthemic proportion that it has everyone bellowing the lyrics back in unison, whilst the Rob Zombie-esque grind of ‘Dead as Fuck’ (dedicated to the ladies of Birmingham) has the bodies writhing and slamming away in the pit. Middle fingers are waving and smartphones are flashing. Oh, and that grin that creeps across Cerulli’s face when he utters the infamous “now she’s going to town with her lips on my boom stick” line almost has me blushing. You naughty boy.
‘Devils Night’ rounds off a thoroughly rambunctious performance and promptly wins the award for loudest, most raucous singalong of the evening. The passion that these guys exude and the gratitude they have for their fans is clearly etched all over their faces, and I would not be shocked if they picked up a few extra after what we have seen here tonight.
2. Sick From The Melt
3. Puppets 3 (The Grand Finale)
6. Generation Lost
7. Dead as Fuck
8. Break The Cycle
9. Immaculate Misconception
10. Dark Passenger
12. Devil’s Night
By the time 9.45 rolls around, the demographic of the crowd has definitely altered with many of the younger faces heading to the merch stands downstairs. That said, I’m seeing a lot of Lacuna Coil tees on either side of me and as Milano’s finest export hit the stage, the reception the band receives is nothing short of rapturous.
That said, the biggest cheers are, unsurprisingly, reserved for the band’s co-vocalists. Cristina Scabbia is a delightfully dark vision – her ripped up white dress is adorned with blood red roses whilst Andrea is resplendent in macabre military garb and all wide eyed as he surveys the scene before him. The Italian maestros tear through ‘Trip the Darkness’, ‘Spellbound’ and the gloriously goth tinged ‘Intoxicated’ in quick succession and in terms of the vocal performance I only have two words – ON POINT. I’ve probably seen Lacuna a dozen times in the past five years or so and this is, without a doubt, the most polished and powerful I have ever heard them. Yes, they’ve faced some adversity over the past 12 months (with the departure of two founding members) and sadly, Marco Coti Zelati is also absent from proceedings tonight, but to be honest all this seems to have done is fuel the proverbial fire beneath them. ‘Die and Rise’ and ‘Fire’ get the entire venue jumping, but it’s the sheer intensity of ethereal classic ‘Heaven’s A Lie’ which truly delights the masses. Ferro has copped a lot of flak in the past for being the sonic thorn in his band’s side, but tonight his gravel-laced rasps hit the mark and are the perfect juxtaposition to Scabbia’s soaring melodies.
In terms of goosebump inducing moments, they don’t come much faster or bigger than on the beautifully brooding ‘Victims’. I remember being unimpressed by this track on first listen of Broken Crown Halo, but I am totally feasting on humble pie right now. Cristina’s impassioned cries on those “People told me I was weak / I told them I’ll never quit / I will never quit!” refrains have the hairs on the back of my neck shooting up faster than the mercury on a July afternoon. There’s some heartfelt interaction from the LC contingent with Cristina sharing how music is “a sort of self therapy for us” before she invites us to join them on their flawless interpretation of Depeche Mode classic ‘Enjoy The Silence’. As a massive fan of both bands, I would be a bare faced liar if I didn’t admit to feeling a lone tear (or ten) roll down my cheek during the haunting outro on this one.
There’s the briefest of brief pauses as the band disappear off stage then return for a blistering encore comprised of the anthemic ‘Nothing Stands In Our Way’ and ‘Our Truth’. It is a stunning end to the UK leg of this tour, and one that not many here are going to forget in a hurry. We have witnessed something very special tonight and for this I have only two words left to say – Thank You!
Lacuna Coil Setlist:
1. Trip The Darkness
4. Die & Rise
5. Heaven’s A Lie
8. To The Edge
11. Enjoy The Silence (Depeche Mode cover)
12. Nothing Stands in Our Way
13. Our Truth