One trick shenanigans
There was some controversy amongst the Bloodstock faithful regarding the inclusion of Lacuna Coil on the bill let alone be Friday's headliner. Many people have come to regard the Italian gothers, along with In Flames and perhaps Arch Enemy to a certain degree, as Download bands. To see these bands on at Bloodstock, to many, meant the festival was trying to become Download and were worried that this year's festival would be full of idiot baggy trousered kids. What actually happened was more people were drawn to the festival due to the more popular acts on the bill and with more people you get more idiots. Just because Lacuna Coil have become popular enough to play at Download, it doesn't mean they shouldn't be at Bloodstock. The band were on many people's wishlist prior to their increased popularity, suffice to say the band haven't changed only the metal elitist attitudes towards them. For myself they had a right to be there and since I hadn't seen them before I was looking forward to their headlining set.
What is it with bands these days? Almost all who have a specified singer allow the band to do their thing before the singer waltzes on in his own time in a 'hey I'm the singer, I should be last on the stage' kind of way. Lacuna Coil were no different as the band chocked out their goth metal before Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro decided to tread the boards. There was a good crowd reaction from the outset mainly due to the fans of the band and also the Cristina fan club being near the front. Even from further back near the sound desk the reaction seemed positive. All the talk of whether or not they should be there seemed to evaporate into slick metal bliss as Cristina and the rest of Lacuna Coil ran through polished version of such great tracks as 'Swamped' and the awesome 'Heaven's a Lie'.
Like with Testament the previous night, the lighting rig was behind the band causing them to appear more in silhouette than in any other lighting effect. This helped the dark music somewhat and the red/black image illustrated that this is a band who know what they're doing and how to effectively portray their music. Whilst I'm not in the Cristina fan club by any stretch of the imagination, confirmed after she warbled annoyingly over Megadeth's 'A Tout le Monde', she was very impressive both with her voice and stage presence. Whilst her vocals sounded more powerful than they do on disc, her enthusiasm and charisma added to the whole package, and I think any naysayers would be hard pressed to whinge at her overall performance.
For all of Lacuna Coil's positives they were perhaps, Epica aside, the dullest band over the 3 day festival. After a day of solos, accordions, instrumental breaks, dramatic orchestration and fast up beat metal, Lacuna Coil's one trick pony music, slow lethargic beats and lack of any kind of musicianship other than chords just started to get a little predictable. 20 seconds of an intro led to Cristina wailing for a little bit before they went into verse/chorus/verse/chorus/20 second mini break/chorus end. After 30 minutes I'd effectively seen the show and was getting increasingly irritated by Andrea's 3rd rate out of tune Karaoke screams. The guy came across as superfluous to requirements, a competition winner who had the chance to sing with his favourite band. The is a little harsh but both my colleague and I couldn't actually work out why he was actually in the band apart from stealing Cristina's limelight.
By my calculations their 90 minute slot finished after 60 minutes, which included the encores, and the fans trudged back to their tents. I felt a little unsatisfied by the band who, on the most part, were extremely slick and performed their style of music well. By this performance however, it'll be a long time before I'd consider going to see them again, especially if they cut their set by a third (please correct me if this is incorrect but I was timing it). I think an overhaul in the song writing is also needed to purge the nu-metal simplistic style from their set because at the moment the band are just a little too one-dimensional. But hey! They're extremely popular so what do I know?