Live music has risen! After a harrowing series of postponements and cancellations due to the pandemic, Finnish symphonic cello metal band Apocalyptica finally made their way to Los Angeles over Easter weekend for the long-awaited Cell-O tour at the historical Belasco Theater with the support of Italian gothic metal band Lacuna Coil.
After both Lacuna Coil and Apocalyptica had released their most recent records so close to a time that completely robbed everyone of live music, fans were waiting and filling the venue with open arms. The bridge that music brings between its artists and fans is one that has proven to be impossible to take away completely. Lacuna Coil had just begun touring to promote their 2019 Black Anima album and Apocalyptica had just released their Cell-O album in 2020 when the world went dark. To alleviate the void of live music, Lacuna Coil put on a live stream show from the Apocalypse Theater in Milan Italy as they played to an empty venue while millions of fans tuned in worldwide. It was a Band-Aid on the wound and gave everyone something to hold on to in the interim.
When the doors of the Belasco Theater opened at 6:00, fans who had been waiting outside in a line around the block rushed to grab some of the tour merch from both bands and then made way to the closest spot they could find near the stage while others headed upstairs for a birds-eye view. A few minutes before 8 pm, Lacuna Coil took the stage amidst the roaring and cheering of the sold-out crowd. Starting with Blood, Tears, Dust from their 2016 album Delirium and Trip The Darkness from their 2012 album Dark Adrenaline, vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro filled the venue in their dueling vocal exchange between Ferro’s growling and Scabbia’s melodic prowess as Marco “Maki” Coti Zelati (bass guitar) Diego “Didi” Cavalotti (lead guitar) and Richard Meiz (drums) brought forth unmatched energy that had been pent up for over two years! Finally, the Band-Aid had been ripped off and life felt normal again.
Scabbia announced their next song with some heart-felt words of excitement and relief to be performing again in front of their loyal fans. “It feels like a dream to be back out here. Twenty-six fucking months away from you guys. But we are back and it’s the best feeling ever” Scabbia exclaimed. “Are you guys ready to party with us? We’re fucking ready!” The crowd cheered as soon as the first chords of Reckless from the 2019 Black Anima record echoed throughout and allowed everyone there to let out all of the energy and array of emotions they had held in for such a long time.
With the energy level set on high, Lacuna Coil slowed things down with their song Apocalypse and when listening to it now, it seems like the anthem to what everyone in the audience and each band member lived through the past two plus years. Ferro unleashed his growling vocals to the heavy guitar riff as Layers of Time sent the crowd into an electrifying frenzy. Throwing a few more classics into the mix with Heaven’s A Lie and Our Truth in juxtaposition with more of their recent music, Save Me and Venefecium, Lacuna Coil ended their set with the positive anthem Nothing Stands In Our Way. It is transparent that Lacuna Coil is beloved by their fans and that they are a band that consistently brings an unmatched dynamic to the stage and left everyone wanting more.
As the stage once again went dark with only a blue light shining, the suspense was building while fans patiently waited for the Finnish symphonic metal band Apocalyptica to take the stage.
Eicca Toppinen walked out with his cello and positioned himself to be centerstage between Perttu Kivlaakso (cello) and Paavo Lotjonen (cello) and Mikko Siren on drums as the deafening cheers of the audience from the stage to the balcony began to quiet as they played the first note of Ashes Of The Modern World and continued to rise and fall as the set progressed with Path from their 2001 Cult album and Grace from their 2007 album titled Worlds Collide.
First known for their Metallica covers, Apocalyptica has managed to integrate a phenomenal connection between two music genres without the use of conventional guitars. Instead, the classically trained cellists have created a new style of metal that collides to create a perfect balance as every note effortlessly distended throughout the venue. Toppinen, Kivlaakso, and Lotjonen took turns effortlessly picking up their cellos and moving around the stage all while not missing a note. Former Scars on Broadway guitarist and current touring Apocalyptica vocalist Franky Perez joined the cello trio for the 2015 single Shadowmaker as well as fan favorites I’m Not Jesus, which originally featured vocals from Corey Taylor (Stone Sour, Slipknot), Not Strong Enough featuring Brent Smith (Shinedown) and I Don’t Care featuring Adam Gontier (Three Days Grace). The crowd sang along to Perez’s all-powerful vocal performances as he pushed through the limits with his incredible range leaving some to forget he was not the original vocalist on some of the tracks he was singing. If Apocalyptica ever decided to forgo the strictly instrumental performances and bring on a frontman, Perez would be the obvious choice as fans made it clear how much they enjoyed hearing him.
As the show went on, the intensity and attention of everyone in the room remained intact through songs like Rise, Scream For The Silent, En Route To Mayhem and as Toppinen made a soulful speech about the message behind I’ll Get Through It, the crowd continued to rock through the heavy cello solos and the refined classical tones. Finally, the moment everyone was waiting for had arrived, and although Apocalyptica’s original songs are beloved by all their fans, it would not have been the same without their cover of Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters. As fans wholeheartedly listened, there were phone lights in the air and every single person inside the venue was singing along, which was a reminder once again about how music brings everyone together regardless of where they came from or what they are going through. Music is a universal language that allows everyone to forget the divides of the world and focus on what matters. Apocalyptica kept the audience captive with Inquisition Symphony and a cover of Metallica’s Seek And Destroy. As the band said an appreciative farewell and ended the night on a theatrical note with Hall Of The Mountain King, the only thing missing from such a memorable evening would have been for Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia to join them on stage to perform their 2007 hit S.O.S. (Anything But Love), but this was a show that everyone who attended will remember for the rest of their lives.
Be sure to check for tour dates in your area at www.apocalyptica.com
CLICK HERE for pics of Apocalyptica.
CLICK HERE for pics of Lacuna Coil.