Heavy metal, like clockwork
Thu, Oct 15, 2009 (6:53 p.m.)
What is it with heavy metal shows being so punctual? You’d think that metal bands would be disdainful of schedules and curfews, but it seems like every metal bill I check out in Vegas goes off perfectly on time, with concise sets and quick changes. Last night’s Hard Drive Live Tour at the House of Blues moved like clockwork, with each of the evening’s four bands playing a short, powerful set, and the whole thing wrapping up before 10 p.m.
Locals Taking Dawn opened, followed by Christian metal act Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, confusingly touring without vocalist and founder Dallas Taylor (he’s been temporarily replaced by Schuylar Croom of He Is Legend). The band’s Southern-influenced sound produced songs that started with promising grooves only to degenerate into generic metal sludge. Croom proved an able frontman, but obviously doesn’t have the same connection to the songs as the guy who originally sang them.
Even during the brief set change, the growing crowd (a decent turnout for a Wednesday-night show that started at 6 p.m.) started getting impatient to see Italian goth-metal act Lacuna Coil. The unfurling of the Lacuna banner got a huge cheer, and crowd response was lively for the band’s 40-minute set.
Thanks to the relative dearth of women in heavy music, Lacuna co-lead vocalist Cristina Scabbia has become the biggest sex symbol in metal, and the audience made its (perhaps slightly creepy) appreciation known. “I’ll do you!” yelled some dude in the audience right as Scabbia was trying to introduce “a song about respect.” Musically, Lacuna was solid, but the band really ought to just recruit a keyboard player, since the piped-in synths sounded pretty cheesy. And it’s painfully obvious that male singer Andrea Ferro is increasingly performing in Scabbia’s shadow.
Headliner All That Remains took the “What, are you guys tired?” approach to rousing the crowd (as opposed to Lacuna’s “You guys kick ass!” tactic), and got the mosh pits going. The rising metalcore sensation isn’t as musically diverse or exciting as vocalist Philip Labonte’s former band, Shadows Fall, has become, but its show was tight and extremely heavy (bassist Jeanne Sagan, another rare woman in metal, demonstrated a growl as fierce as Labonte’s), and Labonte successfully brought up the place’s energy. In less than an hour, ATR thoroughly pummeled the crowd, and then let them go with plenty of room to get home by bedtime.