Good Karma

Lacuna Coil have come up with an interesting idea tonight infront of a sold out crowd at Manchester Academy 3, supporting themselves with a 20 minute acoustic set! Leaving the drums and bass until the electric set the expectant crowd are faced with a seated performance comprising two acoustic guitars with Cristina and Andrea providing vocals.

The sound is excellent and only serves to highlight what a good band Lacuna Coil are, consummate musicianship is accentuated with a stunning vocal performance from Ms Scabbia. The packed crowd and the relatively small venue all make for an intimate performance and Cristina's vocals really shine, in places they are chillingly haunting yet beautiful and the crowd love it. The arrangements of the usually electric numbers work extremely well, particular highlights being 'Unspoken' and 'Heaven's A Lie'. They pull it off with ease with well crafted harmonies and some solid guitar work. Andrea finishes the set by thanking everyone for coming and states (with tongue firmly in cheek) 'see you next time!'. All very good humoured and it rounds off an impressive and intimate short set that the crowd here will remember for some time to come.

As you might expect after a nine year career there's a good mix of ages in attendance from kids to middle aged punters and nobody here is going to be disappointed tonight. Bang on time the lights dim and the intro tape to the electric set kicks in, they hit the stage and go straight into 'Tightrope', which sees the whole band indulge in some communal headbanging (with the exception of the bass player, who probably feels left out amongst the long hairs with his braids!). Predictably they get a pretty euphoric crowd reaction and despite the fact that Andrea's vocals are a little quiet, it's an impressive start. Cristina encourages plenty of crowd interaction throughout and it's not long before a sea of arms is raised in answer. Together with Andrea they make an engaging front pairing and seem genuinely pleased to be here, taking every opportunity to shake hands with the front rows.

They play a couple of songs from the forthcoming album 'Karmacode' tonight and on first listen I don't think anyone's going to be disappointed, a bit darker and heavier perhaps but they fit into the set well, retaining the hallmarks of the big chorus and uplifting vocal harmonies.

Despite the fact that this is Lacuna Coil's crowd and that every song is well received, the crowd are rather subdued at times (with the exception of the front row). No matter though, nine years together has turned the band into a very tight unit and they certainly put on a good performance. Cristina's vocals really make it though, soaring above every song virtually note perfect, she really is a class act. '1:19' features some decent solo guitar work, which if you want to nit pick has been missing thus far and is a welcome insertion. After the evening's second rendition of 'Heaven's A Lie' they leave the stage although nobody's in any doubt that they will return and after a couple of minutes they're back with crowd favourite 'When A Dead Man Walks'. This finally sees much more audience activity, which continues into the final song 'Daylight Dancer' during which Andrea calls for a metal horn salute, this never fails to amuse and sure enough the crowd tonight don't let him down.

It's no surprise that the band leave to an ecstatic reaction and rightly so, Lacuna Coil have given their fans something special tonight, not only with the acoustic set but with their overall enthusiasm for what they do and the people that listen to it. The new album will surely see them build on this and no doubt they'll be back to promote it in bigger venues, which will make this performance even more special for those lucky enough to be here.