Thursday, May 17, 2007

The mirror has two faces

So I just got back from seeing two bands that are ostensibly from the same scene, but with vastly different approaches. Italy's Lacuna Coil and the Netherlands' The Gathering. Both are female-fronted European goth-metal bands, but couldn't be more different.

We got there too late to see the first opener, Stolen Babies, and only caught the last two songs of In This Moment's set (again, both female-fronted metal bands, but not goth-metal).

This was The Gathering's first night on the tour, replacing their countrymen Within Temptation--whom I would have preferred to see, but The Gathering were quite good. They have more of a slow-paced, somber alternative sound than a true metal sound (though their earlier stuff is heavier). Here's an example; one of their more popular songs, "Saturnine":

Also interesting is how, well, normal The Gathering are. They dress quite casually--jeans and shirts, no weird hairstyles. Like my sister (who was with me) said of lead singer Anneke's outfit, "That's something I would wear". They were very humble in appearance and mannerisms. The guitarist, René, looked like a shy geek (complete with glasses) and the bassist, Marjolein, gave these cute little golf claps to the audience. At one point, Anneke mentioned how their last stop had been New York City: "It was nice, but also, not so nice," she stammered. "But tonight is like bliss for us."

Lacuna Coil was the complete opposite. They were very theatrical with very showy PVC outfits and a fairly impressive light show. The two lead singers, Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro, were incredibly dramatic in their stage presence and rapport with the audience. During one duet, Andrea was on his knees while Cristina towered over him. Of course, being Italian they were gesticulating wildly all the time. Here are some pics from my phone:

Lacuna Coil in blue Doppler Shift.Lacuna Coil in red Doppler Shift

Here's Lacuna Coil playing Jimmy Kimmel Live:

So, it was a pretty cool night, even if both bands stuck pretty close to the recorded versions of their songs and didn't really mix things up much.