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Lacuna Coil and Co. put their stamp on Slinging Ink Tattoo Expo . . . from afar

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Lacuna Coil @Wonderland of Americas

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A buzz permeated the air over the weekend at the Wonderland of Americas Mall. Make that several of them. Inside and out.

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While the sound of needles painting flesh was omnipresent as the annual Slinging Ink Tattoo Expo tatted up three days' worth of people indoors looking for that shiny, new, permanent memento, Saturday's outdoor concert featured veteran Italian band Lacuna Coil headlining with Kyng, Eve To Adam and Cilver providing support.

The free (admission and parking) festivities provided an unusual set-up for rockers and fans. Situated between the Wonderland's stage and the audience, which was either seated on the lawn or standing on the sidewalk or along the balcony, was a sizable fountain (slideshow, top left). While the unorthodox scenery had the musicians reacting to it in various ways, Eve to Adam vocalist Taki Sassaris took a more direct approach. He defied any thought of being electrocuted by bravely, crazily, (insert other description of choice here) performing his band's finale in the ankle-deep water.

In the mall's defense, it's not as if the fountain popped up overnight. Although the venue has occasional jazz concerts and other forms of casual musical entertainment throughout the year, it was not designed for the purpose of staging a rock concert, as evidenced by the fact Slinging Ink has been held at various venues, such as Freeman Coliseum, in previous years. Everyone on hand simply had to roll with it on a drizzly afternoon and evening in the low 60s and high 50s.

Mic issues preceding Lacuna Coil's scheduled 70-minute set were temporarily more of a problem, forcing the band to axe a couple of tunes from its original setlist. But that hardly dampened the band's or fans' enthusiasm. Playing a mere four days after the release of Broken Crown Halo, dual vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro delighted roughly 1,000 fans with their talented pipes on a good mix of new and older tunes (click the video box at left for the SAMME's footage of new tune "Zombies" and classic "Heaven's A Lie").

Guitarist Marco Biazzi and bassist Marco Coti Zelati posed for pictures with fans during the afternoon while partaking in a huge funnel cake topped with an ice cream cone (see slideshow). After briefly coming out of the tour bus to check out the food trucks and take a photo with a pair of San Antonio's finest, Scabbia interacted with the crowd throughout the performance. On one occasion, she recalled while looking skyward: "Last time we came to San Antonio was many years ago with a guy named Rob Zombie. We had to cancel because of the rain. So thank you, whatever is up there, for allowing us to play today." Prior to that, Lacuna Coil's most recent "actually played" visit may have been a 2007 stop at Sunset Station opening for Stone Sour.

Somewhat surprisingly, Lacuna Coil sang four tunes off 2012's Dark Adrenaline and only one tune off its highly successful 2006 Karmacode: "Our Truth." That was saved for the finale and received some of the biggest cheers of the evening (although Karmacode's "Fragments of Faith" was one of the songs cut for time). Classics "Swamped" and the aforementioned "Heaven's A Lie" off 2002's Comalies also were met with boisterous approval, while the crowd reacted favorably to other new offerings such as "Die & Rise," "Victims" and "Nothing Stands In Our Way."

If you thought Lacuna Coil was missing a member, well, it only appeared that way. Guitarist Cristiano Migliore and drummer Cristiano Mozzati announced their retirement on Valentine's Day after 16 years with the group, relegating all of the guitar responsibilities to Biazzi. The band's drum tech (and lone non-Italian), Ryan Folden, is filling in behind the kit on tour, turning the group's six-piece into a quintet.

Lacuna Coil is known for its dual harmonies and melodies with the contrasting styles of female Scabbia and male Ferro that complement one another in mostly 3- and 4-minute hard rock songs which resonate with their faithful, and that was on display throughout. It's also the main reason the band had to make a mad dash of sorts after the show from the upper reaches of the mall to the bus while shielded by security to avoid the rush of autograph seekers.

While Scabbia initially spoke of the "strange" distance between band and fans before warming up to the "beautiful" reflection in the water of the onlookers, Kyng singer/guitarist Eddie Veliz was more blunt: "This is B.S., this design," he said before specifying, "I mean, for a rock show." The Los Angeles stoner rock trio, which opened for Sevendust and 10 Years at Backstage Live last Sept. 13 (SAMME coverage below), had mic issues of its own, adding to Veliz's frustration. Still, the band held it together as best it could and received a supportive response despite being limited to 30 minutes. Look for their new album Burn The Serum one week from today.

Prior to Kyng, a pair of New York City bands played while there was still daylight among the clouds. Eve To Adam's set was heavy on tunes from 2013 release Locked & Loaded (watch SAMME's footage of the title track here), then they got the crowd singing on Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell." But before flashbacks of spending an evening at local nightclub Sherlock's could set in, Sassaris took his life into his own hands by singing in the middle of the fountain. And that's not as much of an exaggeration as you may think.

Cilver kicked things off a half-hour late due to the drizzle and was limited to 20 minutes. But the band made the most of its time and was grateful to be playing around the "lake," as vocalist Uliana joked, and for having the chance to bring its music to the Alamo City. Their debut EP was released Feb. 20.

San Antonio's Nothing More jumped off the tour last Tuesday and didn't play its hometown on this day. But they will be opening for Chevelle and 10 Years at the annual Oyster Bake on Saturday at St. Mary's University (see the SAMME's preview below).

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