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Live Reports – Los Angeles: Toadies @ El Rey, Clutch @ HoB, Lacuna Coil @ HoB

28 July 2009 11 Comments

By: Darius

It’s been a busy week. I saw three shows, The Toadies, Clutch, and Lacuna Coil and had a blast at every one of them. These are three diverse bands that broke at completely different times and have markedly disparate sounds, so it was fun to have a variety-filled week of live music.

    The Toadies- El Rey Theatre: 7/17/09

The Toadies

The Toadies

The Toadies were always a one-hit wonder band to me. It’s safe to say that most of us have heard the song “Possum Kingdom,” which was ubiquitous in the 90’s. However, I definitely did not pay any attention to the Toadies beyond that song. Well, I can confirm that they are alive and touring and do have actual fans that pay money to see them. Just a couple of months ago, I was re-introduced to the band and listened to a live record and was pretty impressed with what I heard. The songs were catchy and the music was pretty heavy at times.

Possum Kingdom – Toadies

The Toadies played this past Friday at the El Rey Theatre and sold about half of the venue’s 900 person capacity. The El Rey was an ambitious venue to book them; I heard they sold out the Roxy (capacity 550) last year so they were bumped up with high hopes. Regardless, there was a solid energetic crowd in attendance that seemed pretty fanatical to me; they were singing every word, jumping up and down, and were really having a great time.

The band played a good set, with every song being met with shouts of approval from the audience. I was relieved that “Possum Kingdom” was played in the middle of the set and not during the encore. Lead singer Todd Lewis has a great voice and uses 2 different microphones for different vocal effects, which was pretty cool. However, I didn’t exactly love the performance. My main issue is that The Toadies are mediocre performers. They all just stand there and play. All the songs sounded note for note like the records and there was little to no crowd interaction.

Regardless, they sounded great and it was a fun night. I just wouldn’t jump at the chance to see them again. I’d like to give special props to the dude with construction boots and shorts, Donovan McNabb jersey, and mustache-goatee combo. You were hilarious.

    Clutch- House of Blues: 7/21/09

Clutch

Clutch

I was really looking forward to this show. I’ve never been a Clutch superfan or anything, but have always appreciated their blues-metal hybrid sound. The band is on tour in support of Strange Cousins From West, and played at the fantastic House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard to a packed house.

The first thing that struck me about these guys was how little they care about looking like rock stars. I love that! Clutch looks like some dudes you’ll see at your local townie bar, drinking pitchers of beer and throwing darts.

The band puts on an awesome show. Clutch fans know that each song migrates from heavy metal, to blues, to funk, to hard rock and back again. Watching it live definitely brings this uniqueness together though. Neil Fallon is an awesome frontman; I really dig how he changes his vocal delivery with each song and has huge stage presence. As great as he was, the true strength with Clutch lies with drummer Jean-Paul Gaster. The man is out of control. He plays a lot of jazz influenced beats that carry a vast majority of the songs. It’s just not the kind of beats that you usually hear with heavy music and it really works with this band.

Solid set, great performance, good times at the House of Blues. I’d also like to mention that Sonny Mayo from Snot/Sevendust fame was standing two feet in front of me and was singing every word.

    Lacuna Coil – House of Blues: 7/22/09

Lacuna Coil

Lacuna Coil

Lacuna Coil is an Italian gothic metal band that has intrigued me for many years. It’s not everyday you hear a band with two lead singers, particularly one male (Andrea Ferro) and one female (Cristina Scabbia). I remember when they first broke in the U.S. with the “Heavens a Lie” single. While very popular in Europe, the band was on the road playing small clubs and bars just trying to get some kind of traction here. Well, “Heavens a Lie” and the follow-up single, “Swamped”, propelled Lacuna Coil into the public consciousness. The album, Comalies, eventually became Century Media’s highest selling record ever, with over 300,000 units sold.

The follow-up record, titled Karmacode, was released and than everyone, including myself, really started to take notice. Four videos were made, the band played the Ozzfest mainstage, and they headlined bigger venues. However, I never did get a chance to see them live.

Lacuna Coil - Live

Lacuna Coil - Live

Lacuna Coil released their latest studio effort, titled Shallow Life, this past year and it’s getting great airplay right now, riding the strength of the lead single “Spellbound.” “Spellbound” is terrific and definitely one of the strongest Lacuna Coil songs to date. By this point, I was dying to see the band live, so I jumped at the chance to see them at the House of Blues. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but knew it would at least be nice to check out the beautiful Cristina Scabbia in person.

Well, the band went on stage and absolutely tore it up. Scabbia and Ferro effortlessly worked the crowd; their voices blend very well and really bring a unique dimension to the music, particularly live. It was a packed house and the crowd ate it up. All the hits were played and the new songs went over very well with the audience. After playing a solid set, Lacuna Coil returned and played a short encore with “Spellbound” and “Our Truth”. It was a great show and was definitely worth the wait.

Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia

Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia

I can now confirm that Lacuna Coil is a good band and is really great live. They showed me a lot this past week. One final mention before closing out: the direct support for Lacuna Coil this evening was Kill Hannah. This band should be called Kill Yourself. I can sometimes handle a little emo here and there, but I swear this band has to be the lamest group I have ever seen on stage. It was horrifying. The guitar players had laser pointers on their instruments. I’m not kidding. Laser pointers. On their instruments.

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11 Comments »

  • KARNOV said:

    Checking the site on lunch, always a blast to see an interview with 2 great bands and the caption on the home page is the CD cover of The Toadies. They are a 1 hit wonder Darius.

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  • Carla said:

    I second KARNOV. I was just going to write that.

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  • 1942 said:

    All the guys in the photos are so ugly. God is Christina Scabbia so damn hot.

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  • Oscar said:

    I look forward to live shows and being able to call and speak to you fine gentleman. One thing I respect about AKF as opposed to other “metal” sites is I truly believe neither of you (especially Andrew) could give a shit less what people think. You would never see anyone writing on a “metal” site even admit knowing The Toadies. You would certainly not see them writing about Cracker or Better Than Ezra. I applaud and respect AKF for that because it shows how grounded y’all are as people.

    The reviews were amusing. My curiosity was sparked at the mention of Sonny Mayo. Does anyone know what he’s doing these days? Snot fell flat on their face. Everything Mikey Doling touches turns to shit. A year or two he was wrapping himself in tinfoil for that disaster Invitro.

    Great stuff Darius. I enjoy reading your work.

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  • 1942 said:

    Oscar is applauding something that should be done everywhere. I’ve met Andrew and he’s an intimidating looking dude. He can get away with listening to Enya.

    Andrew – can you please take 2 seconds to respond to my email about All Points West? How long does it take to respond to a simple question?!

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  • mAAT said:

    THE ONLY BAND WORTH A CENT OF BEING IN THIS ARTICLE IS CLUTCH. CRISTINA SCABIA IS AN OLD ROTTEN PIG AND TOADIES SUCK BALLS. WHO ARE THEY ANYWAY?? I BET IF FAGBOY WAS THE ONE WHO POSTED THE ARTICLE HE PUT THAT CUTESY LINE IN THERE TO BE CREATIVE

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  • SUiCiDE MeSSiaH said:

    There’s something so wrong about that Toadies group photo. I could deal with hot girls standing still on stage but those guys look like a bunch of toolboxes.

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  • froggerx19 said:

    Hilarious! Lazer pointers! I can’t believe the talented and wonderful Lacuna Coil allowed those posers to tour with them!

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  • Vinny said:

    I just posted in the Stereomud audio thing. Get Toadies. Get Clutch. Get Lacuna Coil. What are you waiting for? I’m dying to hear them promote the latest single hear Andrew say he likes a completely different song.

    God she is so fucking HOTTTT!

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  • slayers said:

    us peoples have not liked lacuna coil overseas the like us only coverage came after startum!

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  • Carla said:

    In my post # 2 above, I meant “article” and not “interview”.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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