Gordon shares his experience as 10 years a Coiler
I had originally planned to post this about a week and a half ago, pretty much on the tenth anniversary of the first time I listened to Comalies. It was going to be a recap of every Lacuna Coil-related memory I had from the ten years I’ve been a fan.
Alas, by the time I finished it, it was rather over-long, and I felt sure that no-one would read it all the way through.
Instead, I’m just going to unleash (sorry) a handful of stand-out memories.
I first heard the name Lacuna Coil maybe sometime in 2003, or possibly early 2004 (I don’t remember exactly). But, at that time I only had dial-up internet (broadband wasn’t available in my area until 2005), and in any case we didn’t have the online music resources we have now, so they were just another band that I’d heard of, but couldn’t tell you anything about.
However, in late summer 2004, I found myself heading off to Ibiza on holiday, my first ever time flying anywhere. Forewarned that the flights would be a couple of hours of boredom, bookended by a few minutes of pitching and rolling, I picked up a few guitar magazines (because guitars) to read on the plane. One of them, Guitar World, had a short interview with Cristina Scabbia and Cristiano Migliore. It spoke about the then-current Comalies album, comparisons with Evanescence (who were a big thing around that time, having achieved mainstream success with, and on the back of, Bring Me To Life), and so on.
Well, Comalies sounded interesting, and the promise that “our live show is really intense” was the clincher. I did look for Comalies in record shops while on holiday, but this being Ibiza (and neighbouring Formentera), they pretty much only had rave music. I had a look in a couple of shops on my return home, but this being Scotland, they pretty much only had rave music. And whatever was in the charts at the time.
Instead I turned to Amazon (still quite a novel thing at the time), and still having not listened to any of Lacuna Coil’s music, I ordered Comalies. The order went in on September 6th of that year, but it wasn’t dispatched until the 20th (because back then Amazon UK wasn’t as big as it is now), and it arrived a few days later.
It was very much ‘love at first listen’, from the opener Swamped, with that riff that reminds me just a teeny wee bit of Faith No More’s The Real Thing, all the way through to the bilingual title track that closes the album. And everything spiralled from there (pun totally intended, and I make no apologies for it).
I first saw them live in October 2005, at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut (a small venue of about 300 capacity) in Glasgow. The gig had sold out quite a way up front, this being Lacuna Coil’s first ever time playing a gig in Scotland. I was offered £40 for my ticket outside the venue. I declined.
In fact, it was Lacuna Coil’s first proper UK tour (they had previously played the odd show here and there as part of wider european runs), and it was worth the wait, as this was theirEvening With Lacuna Coil tour.
They didn’t have a seperate support band. Instead, they played an acoustic set, then went off for a bit, then came back on and played a full electric set.
Lacuna Coil plus special guests… Lacuna Coil. As a first show, it was pretty bloody awesome, and that’s probably an understatement.
The first time I met any of the band was in the arse-end of 2008, when they were supporting Bullet For My Valentine. The gig was at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh, I think still the only time LC have performed in that city. I checked out the start of Bullet’s set, then went outside to try and find anyone from LC.
I did in the end get a hold of Maus. The others were milling about outside, but Edinburgh can be (and was) pretty cold on a winter night, so not unreasonably they all had big heavy coats with the hoods pulled up, and because the Corn Exchange has the full array of barriers to keep stalker/weirdo folk like me away, it was hard to get anyone’s attention.
As a mildly amusing footnote, I remember another Coiler who’d appeared asked Maus to tell Cristina she was pronouncing Edinburgh wrong. You see, even though it’s spelt ‘Edinburgh’, it’s supposed to be pronounced like ‘Edinborough’. Hey, at least the gig wasn’t in Milngavie…
The following year, they came back and played a trio of UK headlining shows, the Glasgow show once again being in King Tut’s. I had resolved to meet the band properly this time, and I would be 5/6ths successful (I didn’t get Maki that time). It’s a bit easier at King Tut’s, as you can just walk into the lane behind the venue, where the tour bus is parked.
It did mean waiting a while; I think it was 1 a.m. before I left to go home. Now, there is a photo of me with Cristina, and I’m wearing the dumbest smile you can imagine. I don’t think anyone needs to see it again, so I won’t reproduce it here. I was a happy chappy though.
Easily one of the best LC gigs I’ve been to was in 2011, at a venue called The Doghouse in the Scottish city of Dundee, which lies on the north shore of the Firth of Tay. It’s a really cool venue; it used to be a church, and had been converted to a bar / gig venue. There’s an array of twinkling lights in the roof, which looks awesome (but is really difficult to photograph), there was a TV above the door which showed you a feed from inside if you were out for a cigarette (I don’t smoke though), and the front door has windows, so if you rocked up early (as I did) you could look in and see (and hear) the band doing a soundcheck. Just a really nice intimate venue.
The previous year, LC had started to offer VIP / Meet And Greet packages. They were fairly formal, and I guess they had to be, most of the time. You queued up, got your stuff signed, got a photo with the entire band, and then if there was time you could go around each of the band members for individual pics or just for a chat.
Well Dundee didn’t really go like that. We went in, we couldn’t see a thing because there was a blinding spotlight and the smoke machine had been running, and then LC just sort of appeared out of the mist. No signing table and no group photos this time, you just worked your way around the band members. I had somehow got into a group of Cristina Scabbia, Cristiano ‘Criz’ Mozatti, and a couple of other Coilers. This was when Criz pulled an epic wind-up, and said “You want to kiss her? You can put your tongue in her mouth.”
I laugh about it now, but at the time it was a real ‘rabbit-in-the-headlights’ moment. I didn’t want to say “eww, no”, ‘cos that wouldn’t be very nice, but at the same time I didn’t want to say “oh yeah”, because that would be creepy.
During that gig (I was on the barrier, yay!) Maki leanded forward during one of the songs (I forget which one now) and handed me his pick. Not threw it to me. No. Handed it to me.
At most gig venues you get huckled out fairly soon after the gig finishes. Not so here. We effectively had another meet-and-greet after the show, and it was about 1 a.m. before the staff even got us outside. After some more chatting outside, I finally left about 2 a.m. -ish. I had some food, then drove back down through Fife and West Lothian to my home in North Lanarkshire. I went to bed at approximately 5 a.m.
Later on that same tour, I caught them again, this time at University of London Union. This was my second time seeing them in London. After a post-gig KFC (or Kentucky Fried Shittin’ as it became known), I ended up back at their tour bus, drinking lots of Criz’s Jagermeister. As you do.
I lost count of how many shots I had, but ‘twelve’ seems plausible. All I can remember for sure is that I went back to my hotel, had a grand total of about three hours sleep, then got up, showered, packed my gear and then walked across to Euston station for my train back to Glasgow. I felt fine, actually.
In 2013 LC were supporting Paradise Lost, and I saw them twice (Glasgow ABC and Manchester Ritz). The Glasgow show fell on halloween, which involved me dressing up as a panda. I’ve wrote about that before, so I won’t go into detail about it again. I kind of look back on those gigs with a bit of sadness now, because they turned out to be the last times I saw Lacuna Coil as the classic six-piece, the departure of Criz and Pizza being announced the following February 14th (probably my least favourite day of the year).
I’m glad I did get to see them though, and of course their final album with LC, Broken Crown Halo, is a stunning parting gift.
So there you go, ‘edited’ highlights of the first ten years. Hopefully you can guess how long this post was originally, and can understand why I decided to hold it back.
Rather than give you my memories of the albums individually, I’ll sum it up like this;
I got In A Reverie, Unleashed Memories, and The EPs after I had got Comalies. Not to say that I didn’t like them, because I did, but I think I appreciate them more now than I did to begin with.
Karmacode is a kick-ass album, but sometimes I have to be in the mood for it.
A lot of people weren’t keen on Shallow Life. I like it (like it), but I can only speak for me.
Dark Adrenaline and Broken Crown Halo are maybe, maybe, technically the better albums, but Comalies remains my favourite thanks to the special place it holds in my heart. That’s really all I can say.
I would also like to thank all the Coilers I’ve met, and all the Coilers I’ve yet to meet but have got to know a bit better.
Props to Knight of the Coiler Realm, Sir Matt Wrycraft. Without Emptyspiral, I honestly don’t think I would have become as much of a fan as I did.
LC gigs attended: 15 at the time of writing.
LC stuff I have:
- The EPs (2005 single CD presentation of Lacuna Coil and Halflife
- In A Reverie (original artwork)
- In A Reverie (re-release, new artwork)
- Unleashed Memories (original version)
- Unleashed Memories (2012 re-release)
- Comalies (2CD version)
- Karmacode (UK version)
- Karmacode (Japanese version)
- Shallow Life (Digipack with Oblivion bonus track)
- Shallow Life (Deluxe Edition)
- Dark Adrenaline (alternative artwork version)
- Dark Adrenaline (medical box version which also includes the vinyl)
- Dark Adrenaline (Japanese version)
- Broken Crown Halo (Limited Edition CD + DVD)
- Broken Crown Halo (vinyl)
- Broken Crown Halo (artbook version)
- Our Truth CD single
- Enjoy The Silence CD single
- Comalies-era LC pendant
- Maki pick
- Maus pick
- Several posters
- An incalculable number of t-shirts
Will I get another ten years? Who knows. Ten years is a long time. And it flies when you’re having fun.