No Mere Support Act

Support act or not, there’s no getting away from the fact that a large majority of the fans here tonight are just more than a little excited about seeing Lacuna Coil. Even those decked out in the full Bullet For My Valentine merch catalogue ensemble are finding it hard to hide their enthusiasm for the support act.

There’s no ostentatious pomp and ceremony from Lacuna Coil, everything is about the music, about putting on a rock show pure and simple and as the six piece suddenly take to the stage, there’s a rush of delighted surprise rippling through the crowd. As the body crushing thump of a bass line menacingly throbs across the crowd, Lacuna Coil explode into ‘To The Edge’, with Cristina Scabbia’s powerfully dark voice bursting with energy, only fuelling the surge of the crowd as Andrea Ferro’s adrenaline fused growl pummels in for the chorus.

Immaculately dressed in white shirts and black trousers, Scabbia and Ferro are an engaging double act, perfectly complimenting each others voices as Scabbia’s soaring harmonies ooze a haunting beauty as it nestles alongside the force of Ferro’s rough edged tones, both hugging the front of the stage as they attempt to get as close to their fans as possible. By the time ‘Fragments Of Faith’ makes its entrance, only three songs in, Scabbia has had enough, jumping off the stage in order to actually touch those on the front barrier, never missing a note as guitars and drums combine to inflict some darkly pulsating beats that make way only for the industrial gothic stomp of ‘Closer’ as Scabbia crouches once again at the front of the stage. ‘Fragile’ meanwhile transforms the crowd into a sea of moving bodies, hands raised, moving in time to the beat as the front woman's relentless vocals stretch higher and higher, radiating with a breathtaking beauty that strangely matches the songs harshness as Marco Coti Zelati’s hammering bass attempts to bring everyone to their knees.

Inviting the crowd to sing along, Scabbia asks if anyone has heard of Depeche Mode, a question that is met with a rousing burst of approval before the band dive into a cover of ‘Enjoy The Silence’. Gaining an added dose of dark industrial bite, ‘Enjoy The Silence’ sees the band claim the song as one of their own, brilliantly wrapping it in an extra layer of deliciously dark menace and anguish as a sea of bodies jump in appreciation before Scabbia invites them all to throw their fists in the air for ‘Heavens A Lie’, complete with bouts of hand clapping leaving only ‘Our Truth’ to bring the Italian’s set to a euphoric close.

Lacuna Coil may have been billed as a support act but for many, tonight the Birmingham Academy witnessed a joint headliner show, pure and simple.