Paradise Lost/Lacuna Coil/Katatonia – ABC – 31/10

A gig where the headlining band describes themselves as “pop metal” is one of the best you could possibly attend on Halloween, even if there were a disappointingly low number of creatures of the night in attendance at the ABC.

First act Katatonia played for a solid forty-five minutes, not particularly exciting anyone except for those who were clearly already hardcore fans. Like metal with a soft edge, they were nice enough to listen to — when their lead singer could be clearly understood. As a live act, they weren’t the greatest, but their recorded music is worth a listen.

Italian band Lacuna Coil took the stage with minimal face-paint and a bit of dramatic flair. The vocal exchange between the female and male lead singers is always wonderful with this band; Andrea Ferro tends more towards the growling favored by heavy metal or screamo bands, while Cristina Scabbia’s big voice shines with a richness that is often absent on recorded albums. The best song of the night was undoubtedly ‘Intoxicated’ which Scabbia prefaced by describing as a song about being pulled to people who hurt you.

Paradise Lost are the “headlining” band for this tour, which celebrates twenty-five years of the band. Though the lead singer made a few light jokes about that, their age never showed. Energetic and comfortable (it’s hard not to love a singer who takes a drink of his beer and then declares: “Alright, let’s play some heavy death metal shit!”), they fit the surprisingly mellow atmosphere in the venue. Occupants of the crowded room ranged from head-bangers keen to mosh to folk sipping on a pint, while the band played songs from the heavier “Gothic” to softer numbers, “in complete fucking contrast.” The range was nice, and the band excelled at each song they played.

[Pam Pearce]

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