Concert Reviews

Lacuna Coil, Starset, Incura at Opera House

Incura started the fun metal night off with tar smeared bodies and equipment. Every clean surface had black fingerprints dragged across them and their set felt kind of the same way. With their best intentions, I’m not sure if it was a mixing issue or just an off night,  but their playing and singing felt a bit forced. I understand that they are a theatrical band, but that of which takes place on a stage shouldnt have to feel staged. What saved their set is their innocence and good hearted nature,  where there wasn’t a painful ego attached to their efforts. Vocalist Kyle Gruninger actually seemed thrilled to be there, and he kept having conversations with the crowd. He told us we were mote active than the crowd in northern Ontario, and you could tell he wasn’t just trying to get in our good books. Suddenly, they seemed forceful because of their enthusiasm, not because of their obsessions, and it made their set easier to get through. I actually missed the band once they were gone. Their heart was in the right place.

With a less organic set, Starset came out in outfits that looked like the space gear from Prometheus. These suits came with light up helmets, full body padding and make belief breathing apperatuses. The singer had a massive screen that he controlled sounds with, as if he was Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Yes, the set was heavily influenced by science fiction – a progressive genre – and yet it still felt a bit stagnant. Maybe the music itself didn’t match the level of ambition, even though it was an industrial burst of energy. The set was still redeemable since Starset did try to go the extra mile. This wasn’t just with the get up either. Every member threw all of their excitement into their performances.  Even the drummer went to infinity – and beyond – with playing that was so flashy that it dared to rival that viral video (this drummer is at the wrong gig; you know the one). You can’t say that neither opening band didn’t try their damn hardest, at least.

The Devil You Know didn’t show up because of a possible hiccup in transportation (or so I heard), so this paragraph is far shorter than I pictured it would have possibly been initially. I hope to catch them sometime in the future to see what they’re all about.

On the topic of no shows, Lacuna Coil came on stage and there was a notable member missing. It was bassist Marco Biazzi, of whom is actually sick  (but is fine, as vocalist Cristina Scabbia promised us). With actual line up changes that have recently affected the band (drummer Criz and guitarist Pizza), this is the first time the new line up of Lacuna Coil was in Toronto (guitarist has taken on most guitar duties alone, while the new drummer is ).

Despite these changes, the band was thrilled to be there.  Both the bands vocalists Scabbia and Andrea Ferro were fixated on the crowd’s participation,  as they were whenever I saw them before (nothing’s changed). Lacuna Coil shows always have followed standard rock show protocol, yet they always feel special, and this night wasn’t any different. Maybe it’s because of the band’s authentic appreciation for their fans. Scabbia sat on an amp and told us a recent story of how someone wished to propose to his wife and he had asked her to make a video for the occasion. She said it’s moments like this that remind her that her fan base truly is like a family. If that’s the case,  it’s because were always taken care of at their shows with a huge sense of Italian hospitality.

Mostly newer songs were played, and only one song from the band’s more gothic-metal days made an appearance (2002’s Heaven’s a Lie). Everything else came from their album Karmacode or after. If any band could benefit from a show that went through an entire catalogue, it’s Lacuna Coil,  whose earlier work is so pretty that it’d add many dynamics to their set. Nonetheless, the show mostly had intense rock songs and was meant to mostly be fun. They played their popular cover of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence, where the falsetto singing at the end proved that Scabbia’s still got it (even in her 40s). Every member was on top of their game, with drummer even bursting his bass drum from playing so heavily. After about an hour and twenty minutes, they were done (even with their encore), and they were eager to talk to fans with a meet and greet pass (these were given out during the show). Their love for their supporters has always been clear, but one time I’d like to see Lacuna Coil with a lengthy, wide ranged set. They’re already great live, but they have the capabilities of being truly exquisite and even above many poppier metal contemporaries. Either way, they were as good as always.

About author

Former Film Editor & Music Writer at Live in Limbo. Co-host of the Capsule Podcast. A Greek/South African film enthusiast. He has recently earned a BFA honours degree in Cinema Studies at York University. He is also heavily into music, as he can play a number of instruments and was even in a few bands. He writes about both films and music constantly. You should follow him on Twitter @Andreasbabs.