Noir Rock in the Flesh
Italian five piece, Belladonna, hit London's Borderline for a special one off launch party for their fourth studio album Shooting Dice With God. One thing is automatically clear from the cross section of the gathering crowd, a good mix of locals and Italian ex-pats, which is hardly surprising, Belladonna are considered near legends back home and with this 75 minute set, it's not hard to see why.
The entire band were dressed all in black, well this is 'Rock Noir' after all. The drummer, Mattia Mari, went one step further and had dark glasses on which drew similarities from the cool vampire played by Tom Hiddleston from Jim Jarmusch's latest film Only Lovers Left Alive.
Lead singer, Luana Caraffa, donned various hats during the set, including a Slash style top hat during their cover of Sweet Child of Mine, which started as an acoustic version but was joined by a sinister sounding bass. One thing that was noted by many onlookers was that when there was a brief solo the rest of band had a tendency to either sit or kneel down to take away the spotlight from themselves and put full focus on the soloist. This did draw mixed reaction in the post gig discussions.
Highlights of the set include Karma Warrior, which had the guitarist Dani Macchi going loco, head in hands as he rocked away, and the great set finale I Set My Controls To Overdrive. Both tracks are great full on in your face rock tracks.
The sound mostly was what you expect from the Borderline, superb. There was a brief moment of bad feedback but not enough to stop the gathered crowd enjoying themselves. Everything was in place, great vocals, coupled with quality music from the guitars, bass, keyboard and drums. Could not fault one aspect here. The band even had people dancing on the staircase.
While the set may have just missed out on that wow factor that left you blown away, there was quality in abundance complete with diverse music that kept the 75 minute set fresh, entertaining and above all - left no one in doubt that Belladonna are one impressive rocking outfit.