EPICA / LACUNA COIL - What A Pair! Showin' Philly What They've Got

September 29, 2017, a year ago

Mark Gromen

gallery heavy metal epica lacuna coil

In the death throes of the North American tour, just two gigs left, including tonight, at the Trocadero. As Epica began "Edge Of The Blade", raven haired Simone Simons bounded onstage, in a sleeveless black stretch pants cat suit. Surprise #1, delving back to the debut for initially red lit "Sensorium". An additional pair of risers flank drummer Ariën van Weesenbeek, allowing Coen Janssen to roll his entire keyboard set-up from one side of the stage, to the other. Green lit "Wheel Of Destiny" sees the guitarists switch sides. From his elevated raiser, at the edge of the stage, founder Mark Jansen introduced the red bathed "Essence Of Silence", adding his growling vocals to Simons' trill, before joining her center stage. Unlike the massive, outdoors Summer Breeze performance, witnessed five weeks earlier, there were no flame throwers in an American club setting. "Universal Death Squad" sees the crowd and band, smiles on their faces, jumping in place. For blue hued "Storm Of Sorrow", the showered/cleaned up Lacuna Coil singer Cristina Scabbia (in leather jacket and black lace panel pants) sang alongside (often arm-in-arm) with Simons. Begun with Simone virtually alone onstage, proper set closer, "Cry For The Moon" had a half dozen banks of bright white lights piercing the crimson veil, before a brief barrage of strobes. 

The encore kicked off with old school "Sancta Terra". nice. Despite the small, indoor confines, the "Consign To Oblivion" finale began with a Wall Of Epica, their version of the Wall of Death, where opposing factions of the crowd charge pell mell into each other. Distancing herself from the "carnage", Simons relocates to one of the upper risers and stays there, for a good portion of the lengthy track, which relies liberally on Jansen's death metal intonations, as Coen Janssen uses his keyboard contraption like a scooter. A rousing fist thrusting send-off.

What's up with Lacuna Coil, seemingly undergone another stylistic and visual makeover, just two years removed from the 70,000 Tons cruise (where Scabbia was smeared with black charcoal about her neck)? Adopting a harder edge and a visual sensibility seemingly derived from her decade long romance with Slipknot's Jim Root, the corpse-painted non-singing members wore strait jackets. Either side of the stage was a Psycho/horror film shower curtain scrim, with Delirium scrawled across it. Scabbia wore a thigh length smock, emblazoned with sayings, and white spandex leggings, which, like her hands, were smeared with "blood". A theatrical two-pronged claw scratched "scar" raked across her right eye. Perennial hit "Heaven's A Lie" was up fourth in the running order, further demonstrating a move away from the past. Prior to "Nothing Stands In Our Way", she mentioned next year will be the band's 20th anniversary and a commemorative, career spanning book will be published. A large portion of the crowd was there, exclusively for the Italians, but a shame they missed a cool double bill.

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