February 26, 2014
The difference between listening to an album and the experience of a gig, in most of the cases, is in those small details that make the live gig unique and exciting, for those who attend, but especially for those who, on stage, finds himself expressing the ego gained through years of songwriting and touring, in front of an audience. And if the place where the esoteric noir ritual of Belladonna is consumed is the Borderline, legendary music bar in the heart of London, a short walk from Denmark Street, a sort of Mecca for any music lover, the uniqueness of the atmosphere is ensured. Going down the narrow stairs to the basement, what strikes my attention most is a bouquet of roses, blood red, which, as wild plants in a Victorian garden, surround the shaft of the microphone. The wooden floor, velvet drapes behind the drums and soft lighting create the perfect atmosphere for the music of Belladonna. The Italian band that, over the years, has established itself among the best in Europe with its noir rock, between echoes of Led Zeppelin and lyrics inspired by E.A. Poe tales, mixing the real ancestral soul and purely rock spirit of its members.
I’m not good at taking pictures, to be honest, and in 2014 I still do not own a camera. But if I had to describe the concert at the Borderline with a single image, those roses would be just the perfect snapshot: red like passion on stage of Luana Caraffa, who thanks the fans who filled the room, with candor of those who have dedicated body and soul to music and now reaps the well-deserved fruits; brittle, thin and mysterious, like the sound of Valentina De Lullis on piano, which at times embroiders classical melodies, sometimes unleashed all the power of her music on the lower-pitched keys, and Taya Angelini on bass, aggressive and delicate at the same time; majestic and elegant, like the touch of Mattia Mari, that behind his old fashioned drum set shows how the music of his own band is not only emotional just for the audience, reaching the catharsis led to tears of relief during a disruptive solo that tore a long round of applause; thorny and sharp, like Dani Macchi on the guitar, the real engine of Belladonna, with his Les Paul straight from the 60s, witness of battles on stage and studio, who, with every strum, seems to recall the strength of the angels and demons that feed on the music of Belladonna. If every concert is unforgettable, some shows are unique, and judging by the power that Belladonna performed on stage, this last on at the Borderline is one of those that the five Italians will always carry in their heart, eyes and soul. Probably those roses that wrapped the microphone will now be in a thorn on Les Paul’s case or a luggage along with clothes the band wore on stage. But wherever they are now, as in the “Portrait of Dorian Gray” by Wilde, I’m sure they have not lost even one tenth of the charm, mystery, passion, elegance absorbed by the music of Belladonna