Putting Lacuna Coil and Rob Zombie together on tour isn't what you call an obvious pairing. The former is an Italian group who cloaks its melodic music in exotic atmospheres, whereas the latter peddle

Putting Lacuna Coil and Rob Zombie together on tour isn't what you call an obvious pairing. The former is an Italian group who cloaks its melodic music in exotic atmospheres, whereas the latter peddles industrial monster rock. However, their material shares a harder metal edge and dark overtones -- one baroque, the other sinister -- so the two acts' diversity made for good variety.

Lacuna Coil are experienced road dogs who are right at home during a performance, although they had to work for a reaction beyond the first rows of the stage. New York's notoriously jaded crowd was out in force, as the excitement in the GA area didn't touch the back of the house. The room had come for Zombie, who only concentrated on entertaining the audience instead of winning it over. But he couldn't get anyone who was stoically seated to nod their heads, either.

Lacuna Coil was also unfairly saddled with a bad sound mix. Singer Cristina Scabbia's microphone sometimes dropped her voice, and co-vocalist Andrea Ferro was barely audible. The muddy tone diminished the duel guitars of Cristiano Migliore and Marco Biazzi, making it hard to discern their different parts.

The six-piece unit put on a tight show, bowing and tossing their heads in choreographed unison. Its two previous hits, "Swamped" and "Heaven's a Lie," went over best. The band also gave a big taste of new album "Karmacode," such as its first single, "Our Truth," a well-received cover of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" and "Fragile." The group had the fresher material down pat, its self-confidence evident in its smiles.

Props for Zombie's set weren't as theatrical as previous tours: no caged women, no blood, no skulls. The main element was the video screen that displayed B-horror movie footage and topless '60s go-go dancers. He did have a towering robot with a hydrocephalic head stalk onstage for "More Human Than Human," where his band's amped-up delivery turned the floor upside down. The simpler production didn't detract from the music, although Zombie fans longed for more of his vaudeville camp.

The man himself stood motionless, bathed in a black light, as he sang the first half of propulsive opener "American Witch" before throwing off his hat and leaping about the stage for the rest of the night. Industrial strip-club joint "Living Dead Girl" made the ladies shake their goods; conversely, the hard-hitting "Never Gonna Stop" stoked the gents, with Zombie jumping onto the floor to sing behind the crowd barrier and slap people's hands.

Bassist Rob "Blasko" Nicholson and drummer Tommy Clufetos were well-matched for "House of a 1,000 Corpses," sending out a funky, thick beat for the theme to Zombie's directorial film debut. John 5 (formerly of Marilyn Manson) served as stunt guitarist. Zombie's latest single, "Foxy, Foxy" and "Thunderkiss 1960" were interupted for the six-stringer to impressively toss out passages from Manson's version of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," Poison's "Nothing but a Good Time" (for comic relief), Pantera's "Respect," Jimi Hendrix's salute to "The Star-Spangled Banner" (complete with the teeth picking) and Black Sabbath's "Paranoid."

Zombie kept two of his best weapons for his encores. The boom-boom-boom of "Superbeast" thudded like cannons, followed by high-speed chase track "Dragula," replete with footage of "The Munsters" and their classic drag racer. He returned for a second encore to close with "Lords of Salem" before pulling stakes and rolling his macabre carnival to the next town.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print