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From the plague ridden streets of Ipswich

Cradle of Filth Manchester Academy 15/4/05


Whatever your opinion of Cradle of Filth there's no denying their enduring appeal too much of the heavy metal fraternity & this is perfectly illustrated by the fact that tonight's gig is sold out. Manchester Academy is rammed tonight with an assortment of ages from the older long term fans to the newer kids just discovering what they're all about. With only a handful of UK dates on their European tour people have come from far & wide for this, the penultimate gig on what's been a pretty hectic schedule for the band.


There is a huge roar when the lights dim & the band are introduced 'All the way from the plague ridden streets of Ipswich, the ugliest band in the world!', showing that they still have the ability to take the piss out of themselves. Cradle of Filth do however take their music very seriously & there's nothing funny about the relentless assault on the eardrums that starts with the first number (the sensitively titled 'Gilded Cunt') & continues pretty much without respite throughout the set.


On either side of the drum riser are two gargoyles that on first view are thought to be merely props that is until half way through the second number when they start moving! The stage is flanked by two screens onto which a variety of projections & video are shot, in the main this consists of dark horror erotica & video clips.


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I feel vaguely sorry for Wednesday 13, who's record attempt earlier in the week for the most devil horned hand salutes is smashed out of site by tonight's fervent crowd (he does however win the award for best dressed fans this week!).


The sound is loud, very loud but then you'd expect nothing less & were it any quieter CoF wouldn't achieve the same impact. Each song is greeted with a rapturous crowd reaction & it seems that tonight CoF can do no wrong. The only downside is that the sound isn't that good which means that in places the operatic backing vocals are drowned out by the guitars. If you've ever heard a CoF album you'll know that they are much more than a 'noise' band but unfortunately the sound mix tonight means that at times they come across as exactly that.


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Still, there is plenty for the casual observer to go on, not least the huge (& I mean huge!) puppet that stalks out across the stage an hour into the set. By this point the bar is littered with casualties from the pit but for those sticking it out at the front the band don't let them down. Throughout the set all the members (save the drummer) move across the stage, interact with the crowd & generally just go for it. Dani is in fine form, putting everything into the lyrics (although by & large they are indecipherable). The drumming it has to be said is quite sensational, thunderous & fast with little let up. The guitar work is frantic but again some of the solo work is lost in the mix, the band however remain incredibly tight throughout.


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Just before the encore the puppet returns & this time manages quite successfully to dance in time to the music, much to everyone's amusement.


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After an hour & a quarter they leave the stage but it's no surprise that the sell out crowd call them back for more. They duly return with the gargoyles morphed into dancers with angle grinders that gyrate & shower the stage with great arcs of sparks. Two songs later & they're gone again & the crowd is left fulfilled.


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It's been loud, harsh & brutal but also very entertaining. CoF are a band that have made their own sound & have honed their live performance down to a fine art, they know what their fans want & they give it to them in abundance.


To view all photos taken during this set click here. There are 23 available.