Last night, some friends and I went out to Headliners to see Lacuna Coil, an Italian metal band that we’re fans of.
I’ve been to Headliners twice before, but I’ve never really reviewed the place. Their web site paints a pretty accurate picture. It’s an old warehouse that was converted into three separate clubs: Headliners, Club Ra, and
Saddle Ridge Element. (The club that is Element has been through three different changes in the past three years. They’re about due for another face lift.) Anyways, Headliners is standing-room only (which means they have no chairs or benches) with an upstairs balcony that surrounds the stage. The speakers are set up so that there’s only about one ten-by-ten area off to the side that doesn’t get good sound. Oh, and air conditioning is a myth in this place. That’s really my only big complaint about the place. (I have one other, but I’ll get to that later.) If you’re going to pack sixty people shoulder-to-shoulder in an ex-warehouse, turn on the air. No one wants to be surrounded by funky-smelling people before the main act hits the stage.
I’m also going to take this opportunity to say that there were a LOT of people there. I really expected under forty. The Columbia Music Scene has never had much support for anything that wasn’t mainstream. Maybe my perception of this is skewed because of the poor showing at Pitch Black, an ex-event at the Art Bar for goth/metal/industrial/EBM. Or maybe Pitch Black was just too gothy… (“Goth,” in Columbia, usually means “dress up like a vampire and act sophisticated.”) Don’t get me wrong. I was glad to see such a huge showing. Maybe Headliners will try and pull more music like this into town.
Anyway, Lacuna Coil had three openers playing for them, but I’d never heard any of their music before. (I had heard the name of Within Temptation, though.) Luckily, CSI-Guy checked the MySpace page for the very first band, Stolen Babies, before we drove out. I say luckily because, judging from the music on their page, we decided to skip that act. (No offense to Stolen Babies, but your advertised sound wasn’t for us.)
We got to the show in time to catch three songs by In This Moment. I wasn’t too impressed by the sound, which was a lot of throaty screams, but the lead singer was hot. (Of course we were all hot. But I’m talking about looks here.) It was like a wannabe Hole, except with a hot chick instead of Courtney Love, who is not attractive to me in the slightest.
When they finished their set, the crew came out to do a quick stage-swap, and give people the opportunity to step outside and cool off. I went to the bar to grab a drink and heard a familiar voice at my elbow. It was the fantabulous Matilda Jane and her hottie housemate, KT. I don’t know why I was surprised to see them at a metal concert, but I was. We said our hellos and complained about the heat, and then they went and claimed some standing room while I ordered a beer.
I meandered my way back to my friends before the next band, Within Temptation, took the stage. From what I’d heard about them, I had thought that they might be a Lacuna ripoff band, and when the second hot chick of the night grabbed the microphone, I was expecting to be right. I was surprised, though. This band plays lighter music than Lacuna Coil, and their singer has an equally amazing voice. I really enjoyed their set, and plan on getting some of their music.
The next stage-swap wasn’t nearly as quick, with several problems getting just the right level of sound from the monitors, so I made my way back to the bar for another beer. They were out of Bass by this point, and also out of Yuengling, so I was forced to get a Newcastle. What is it with this town and Newcastle? It’s better than Bud and Mich Ultra, sure, but it seems like every bar in town totes this as their premium beer. I just don’t get it.
I might’ve also bought a pack of cigarettes… and let MJ bum one. I say I might’ve because I don’t really remember much aside from KT punching me in the temple and yelling, “No! She doesn’t want one! Don’t listen to her!” (That’s right. I just out’ed MJ. She had a cigarette last night. Go over there and make her feel bad.) My own friends gave me their brand of grief over seeing me smoke. In my defense, I’ll just say that I couldn’t help myself. Those cigarette packs were lined up in their little cages, looking so playful. I had to rescue at least one of them, to save it from being put down at the end of the week. (And at $5.00 a pack, I was only going to save one!)
The real reason behind the cigarette purchase is my second complaint about Headliners. Like the heat radiating from sixty headbanging music enthusiasts, there is nowhere for the smoke to go. It just hangs in the air. While this makes for some cool lighting effects without the aid of a smoke machine, it also makes for hellacious cravings. I will say that I threw the rest of the pack away as soon as I got home last night.
Lacuna Coil finally took the stage after close to twenty minutes of sound checks, thus completing the triumvirate of hot metal chicks for the evening. You would think after twenty minutes, that the sound would be perfect. You’d be wrong. The vocals were almost completely drowned out by the music. I’ve come to expect this in the Columbia Music Scene, but not from a “big name” band. It wasn’t a matter of the vocals being too low, though. The music was simply too loud. (Can I even call myself a Metal fan and be allowed to say that the music was too loud?) Really loud. The comment I made last night to one of my friends was that I could feel the double-bass drum vibrations in my vas deferens. I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to feel it there. It wasn’t pleasant. My ears are still ringing today. It was a good show, though. On a scale of one to ten, I’d give it a seven and a half.
The Gold Medal of the night, though, goes to Within Temptation. At least as far as the music goes. The Hottest Chick award still goes to Christina of Lacuna Coil.