Headliner: Cradle Of Filth
Support: Hybrid Nightmares
Venue: The Metro Theatre, Sydney
Review and photos by Tam Schilling (@TamCamImages)
When I was fifteen, I went into my local music store as I did every week to purchase a new CD. I would head straight to the Heavy Metal section and browse through the entire collection. On one particular day I decided to purchase Cradle of Filth – Cruelty and the Beast based purely on the artwork on the case, I was intrigued. I had no idea what this band was, but they looked cool. From the moment I played this CD I was completely hooked and that is when my obsession for Cradle of Filth began, twenty years ago.
When Cradle of filth were touring a couple of years after this in 2002 I was so excited, to only be let down by the fact you had to be 18 to get into the concert. I was one month off being 18, so I couldn’t get in. I was absolutely devastated. I then waited patiently eight whole years before Cradle came back to Australia. It was a long wait, but I was super excited to finally get the chance to see them that I purchased tickets to both the Melbourne and Brisbane shows to make up for that one time I missed out. I have since seen them on every tour to Australia – in 2013 & then 2018. I had figured out that Cradle tend to tour to Australia on average every five years. To hear they were bringing the Cruelty and the beast tour to Australia just over one year after their last tour, I couldn’t contain my excitement. As I have been following this band for so long, I have seen many different band line ups, with Dani being the only original member left. I was interested to see how the current lineup will go performing an entire album that they weren’t originally a part of. I decided to attend both the Brisbane and Sydney gigs of the tour to witness these historical performances.
First up was the Brisbane show. On a cold windy night in Brisbane I arrive at the fairly new venue The Valley Drive In, I walk into a walkway full of hardcore Cradle of Filth fans. Cradle concerts are basically a goth meeting, I love it! Some people dress like this all the time whilst others dress like this for their favorite band to escape everyday normal life for a few hours. In my case, I pulled out the dark lipstick and the black eyeliner and eye shadow for my favorite band!
As I walk into the venue the lucky VIP ticket holders were first in the venue ready for their meet and greet as the rest of us joined them, the excitement was already building within the fans
First up for the night was an extreme metal band from Melbourne – Hybrid Nightmares. This was my first time seeing this band and on the first impression I liked them as they were wearing face paint! I love a band wearing face paint! These guys had the crowd in their hands right from the minute they hit the stage, with their stage antics and constant crowd interaction. They even made the entire crowd raise their beers and then sing into their beer cans before having a drink! This is definitely a band I want to check out more!
The Valley Drive In was filling up as the minutes got closer for Cradle to take the stage. At 9:45 the lights went down and the intro track for Cruelty and the Beast - Once upon Atrocity starts to play. Each band member - Martin Skaroupka (drums), Daniel Firth (Bass guitar), Richard Shaw (Guitar), Ashok (Guitar) and Lindsay Schoolcraft (keyboardist and narrative vocals) comes out onto the stage and lastly the main man Dani Filth enters the stage wearing a cape with a hood covering his head. Off comes Dani’s hood as they smash into the first song Thirteen Autumns and a widow from the masterpiece album Cruelty and the Beast. Continuing to play through the entire album song after song. I personally was most excited for my favorite song off the album track 3 - Beneath the Howling Stars. As they continued song after song off the Cruelty and the Beast album, it was clear to me – this is the tightest I have seen Cradle of Filth live in a long time. Each band member has earnt their spot on that stage tonight. With Lindsay doing the female vocals almost exactly to how they appear on the album from twenty years ago to Daniel, Richard and Ashok sharing the small stage space putting on a 100% performance and pulling out all the evil poses which completes the experience of Cradle of Filth live. Dani was in fine form tonight, moving about the stage with pure evil belting out his howls, which are so evil that I believe he is the only man that could ever go from a really low scream to a really high scream that sounds ever so distant. How this man does this is beyond me, but it surely is something no other band has. With me knowing Dani’s moves, you can always tell when he’s about to do his high, but yet distant scream – he’s got an iconic stand for that one.
They finish off the Cruelty album with the final track Lustmore and the wargasm (The lick of Carnivorous winds) before exiting the stage with Lindsay coming to the front of the stage to take a bow and throw out a rose before leaving.
The crowd begin to chant “Cradle, Cradle, Cradle” wanting more and more from them. After a couple of minutes Cradle take the stage, Dani addresses the crowd “Hello Brisbane! I didn’t know what would be worse coming out here tonight, the jet lag, the poisoning from the burger or the wind blowing our hair in our face”.
Straight into the second part of their set they hit out classics such as Malice Through the Looking Glass , Heartbreak and Séance, Nymphetamine, Saffron’s Curse before closing out the night with an all-time classic Her Ghost in the Fog.
As I leave the venue tonight, I feel like I was so lucky to witness such an iconic black metal album get played in full live. The current lineup for Cradle of Filth is the best I have seen in a long time. Everyone leaving the venue is talking about how amazing the performance was.
Sunday morning I catch a flight to Sydney for round two, as seeing this band once just wasn’t enough.
As I arrive at the Metro Sydney to an alley way full of goths, I was just as excited to see tonight’s performance as I was the night before.
As I enter the venue it is already packed, as Hybrid Nightmares took the stage to warm up the Sydney crowd. Once again, they had the crowd in their hands from the start and also getting the Sydney crowd to raise their beers and scream into them before being allowed to take a drink!
As 9:45 arrives the crowd is chanting “Cradle! Cradle! Cradle!" Cradle didn’t take to the stage until 10:05 tonight. As they entered the stage to “Once upon Atrocity” they smashed out the Cruelty and the Beast album. Seeing the same performance twice in a row, but tonight’s performance on a bigger stage than Brisbane. The stand out for me tonight was seeing Richard Shaw headbanging whilst spinning around and around in circles and playing guitar at the same time! Holy hell, he has to be damn talented to do that! Once again, the band was as tight as the night before. I did take notice that something wasn’t quite right. With the band coming on the stage 20 minutes late, to Dani walking off the stage every so often to cutting 2 songs off the setlist. I said to my friend “I’m pretty sure Dani was unwell tonight”. Later, we see a post on his Instagram apologizing to the Sydney people as he was feeling like utter shit and had come down with some sort of “Lurgy” as he calls It.
To find out that Dani wasn’t feeling well, but knowing he still put 100% into his performance is unreal. I am unsure if other people picked up on it, you could have only spotted it if you were a crazy Dani Filth fan (like me). He still belted out his crazy screams which by the sounds of it probably was painful for him to do. He could have easily of cancelled the show tonight, but instead he powered through it and that makes tonight’s performance even more special. He did it because he didn’t want to let his fans down.
So, my overall experience from Brisbane and Sydney was freaking unreal. As I've mentioned – this is the tightest I have seen the band perform live in a while and each and every single member of this band deserves their spot on the stage as much as Dani. From their musicianship to their outfits to the face paint, to the evil looks they give the crowd. Cradle of Filth is like a theatrical experience. Getting to witness them play their most iconic record live not once but twice was unreal. If you are a Cradle of Filth fan and missed out on this tour, then kick yourself in the head! It truly was an unforgettable experience! They play Canberra tonight before they head off to play their first ever show in New Zealand. Get ready New Zealand – you are in for a treat!
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