Lacuna Coil – photos by Steve Trager
Susquehanna Bank Center
January 26, 2012
Out of the public eye for nearly four years, Gigantour returns to the touring circuit with one of rocks best lineups to date. The tour kicked off right here on the east coast at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden New Jersey. It is always a great moment in time when massive tour like this unfolds on the first night especially when it is a shred fest.
Although the first two Gigantours featured bands that have already been a mainstream established headliner, which sometimes outweighs being apart of this entourage, this year’s lineup not only captives one’s music career as a band, it steps the volume up a notch with four great bands sharing the spotlight – Megadeth, Lacuna Coil, Volbeat, and Motorhead.
The show started quite early, which was to be expected with four bands. Italian melodic thrashers Lacuna Coil opened the first night of the tour to an early set of fans. Oddly enough Lacuna Coil has been in the limelight for more then several years, but really hasn’t inked stamped their trademark as a band. It was their album Comalies, which spawned a stellar hit “Heavens a Lie” which brought them out. They not only released a new CD in the same week as Gigantour, but the band premiered three new songs in their set. As a fan of this band for years after seeing them on two different OZZfests years back, their live performance to date is and always will be great.
For a short set which dwindled down to a mere 25 minutes, Lacuna Coil settled for performing just six songs – and that included the three new songs. With such a massive collection of songs already under their belt as a band, I was surprised that they didn't pull out the one hit that put them on the map in America. Their live show truly posses to the finest degree as one of the most influential bands to hail from Italy. Fact not fiction, Lacuna Coil been around the block for years and like most European Bands, their music might sweep you away mentally, but when you see perform
right in front of you, your musical senses become to take shape of a new sound that only Lacuna Coil can create as band. For an opening slot on this tour, Lacuna Coil had great sound, but not a well lit stage to accompany a great 6 song set to warm up the “Pit”. In any case Lacuna Coil is an inspiration of drift away melodic metal that can overwhelm you.
After a quick set change, Danish titans Volbeat had taken the stage for a mid-length set, which was interesting simply because they been around for several years much like Lacuna Coil. They have established themselves in their native land, but haven’t reached the same levels here in the States.
Volbeat demonstrated their diversity in the set. As a die hard metal fan as a kid, I've always loved bands that can crossover genres’ like Volbeat. During their set, which was about 10 songs, they pay tribute to the great Johnny Cash with Sad Mans Tongue. The sound was great, the production was awesome and their bright light show consisted of just orange and yellow gels propelling around the stage while they performed.
Volbeat made an impression at this Gigantour show, but they also didn’t perform their biggest hit A Warriors Call.
This song alone broke them on Philly radio. If it wasn’t for that song being played religiously, I wouldn’t have actually known who these guys were. But for the most part I truly enjoy the band and the show.
Motorhead took center stage right around 8:25 and quickly opened their set with Bomber. Now here is a band that turns up the volume to a degree where you can’t hear your friend next to you who’s yelling at the top of his or her lunges during the actual performance. Motorhead seemed to be the loudest band ever.
As a band, Motorhead has a 35 year career history behind them with some great albums and stellar fast paced metal that can melt your face all at the same time. Motorhead’s production is quite simple – a wall of Marshal amps stretched across to create an entire wall behind Lemmy Kilmister.
Their set list is filled with brutal neck lashing, bass whipping chords and soaring guitar whirlwinds, ranging from Metropolis to The One to Sing the Blues. Although there are just three songs that define Motorheads’ live strength as a band – Overkill, Killed By Death and Ace of Spades – the band could have played all night and a single fan woudln't have complained. Can anyone top a great set by Motorhead?
For a band that has had numerous lineup changes over the years, Megadeth’s current fold represents them well – with Dave Ellefson, Chris Broderick, Shawn Drover and Dave Mustaine. Like the previous Gigantours, Megadeth has always saved the best for last, rounding out the evening with a short 70 minute set spanning their career.
At 9:45 Megadeth took the stage and opened with 1997's Trust. Keeping focused on the core songs for most of the show, they whipped out fan favorites like Symphony of Destruction, Hanger 18, Peace Sells, Wake Up Dead and Holy Wars, but they also featured three new songs pulled from their last album 13, all in a row (Public Enemy No. 1, Whose Life, and Guns, Drugs & Money). Three new songs in a short set might have been a bit much, but the fans still loved it regardless.
It certainly doesn’t take much for Megadeth to win over guitar fans, espcially with the great axe work of Chris Broderick and returning band member Dave Ellefson on bass. The entire evening wouldn’t be complete without Cristina Scabbia lending her powerful vocals to A Tout le Monde.
With only half of the arena sold, one has to wonder where the fans were because this was another truly great Gigantour. Megadeth is still one of the heavy weights of thrash and they can still deliver a great live show year after year. Period.