12

A triumph in BLACK!

"Are you sure it's Cradle of Filth you've come to see?" said the doorman as I tried to get in. The problem was that my jeans and Nevermore t-shirt were just a little underdressed in comparison to the other ninety-five percent of the crowd. Maybe it was because I had my hair in a ponytail, I'm not sure, but tonight it was gothic to the extreme. Like a set from the film Blade, the Academy 1 was awash with black, black clothes, black exotic make up, black hair, black everything. It was a tremendous sight and a testament to Cradle of Filth and their draw, and perhaps their appeal as the crowd were a whole mix of ages and creeds. Maybe in light of the recent BBC2 documentary regarding satanic and black metal, the girl to my right was accompanied by her mother. Her face was like thunder but apart from that she seemed to enjoying the proceedings.

This was my first time watching Cradle of Filth, musically they've always left me cold even though I like the genre of music. The black backdrop revealed a stage on several levels over looked by two gargoyles. The band appeared, clad in urbane black attire, longhaired, white faced and menacing. Dani arrived to one of the loudest cheers I've heard in the Academy 1; he was like a god, the leader of all he surveyed. By the second song the stone gargoyles started to move and creep about the stage to the crowd's delight. Dani has one of the greatest blood curdling screams in metal history and to hear it live is just something to behold. He was in good voice, screeching and wailing like a banshee as he strode about the second level of the stage. The band played to the crowd without going over the top, chocking out complex riffs and thunderous beats. With the two gargoyles, the band, keyboardist and choral backing singer the stage was full, and with nine to focus your attention on it was apparent a lot of your 16 entry fee was up there on stage for all to see. The gargoyles disappeared and the actors re-appeared later whirling batons of fire around Dani. With the emergence of a twelve-foot puppet striding across the stage and overlooking the crowd, memories of Iron Maiden's Eddie sprang to mind, and it was great to see a band pushing the entertainment level and imagery of the music.

On the slight downside the guitars were lost in the mix. Whenever I hear Cradle's music I always think the lack of oomph! in the guitars is one of their failings. Certainly tonight the guitar players were giving it their all and it seemed a shame that they didn't come across as loudly as they could have or should have. That said, it didn't really detract much from the actual show, and with the actors re-appearing to emit fountains of sparks from their midriffs, it led to a totally enthralling production. At the start of the evening I knew very little of Cradle of Filth's music but they entertained me and put on a great gig. I would go as far to say they were one of the best bands I've seen at the Academy one, and musically I have been moved to listen to more of their black metal post performance. I'll definitely be in attendance the next time they come round, I'll just have to make sure I dress up next time.