|» HIM 2005 08 29||
When HIM enters the stage at around 8:15 pm, you get the impression that there are only girls in the audience. Even a band like the Backstreet Boys would be proud of this kind of sound level. The girls' reactions are easy to understand, since front man Ville Valo is both handsome and imposing. This gig sold out in a matter of days, one reason might be that this is the only concert by HIM in Scandinavia this year. But let's also not forget that the much anticipated new album "Dark Light" is just a mere month away, a reason as good as any to get an impression what the Finnish quintet are up to this time around.
HIM decides to give us a sample of the new album right away, with "Vampire Heart". This track will most likely open their gigs for the next few years, something I don't mind at all. This is pure HIM; with an addictive chorus and the customary keyboard-hooks. Even better is "Killing Loneliness", which upon first listen strikes me as being one of the best songs ever made by Ville & Co, a fact that really makes me eager for the new album. The ordinary set is concluded with another new song, the recent hit-single "Wings of a Butterfly", which even gets the best reception of the whole evening.
At first glance, Cirkus seems like a rather inappropriate venue for this kind of concert (this place sometimes houses musicals). However, HIM feels at home right away, with their fascinating mix of rock, metal and goth. On stage there is an impressive backdrop behind the band, displaying cool short films which help the songs forward. Ville doesn't move around that much, which matters little when he does such an amazing job with hits like "Your Sweet 666", "The Funeral of Hearts" and the suicide-anthem "Join Me". Credit must also be given to the dedicated fans who sing along to the depressing and heavy lyrics.
Other highlights are the two covers; firstly the breakthrough-hit "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak, but also the interpretation of The Ramones' "Poison Heart", which can be found as a B-side on the "Wings of a Butterfly"-single. The recent cover of Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man" is strangely absent, though. One also asks himself why HIM (whose song catalogue includes several killer-ballads) only play faster songs this evening. A few ballads would definitely have prevented the HIM-formula from feeling a tad predictable and monotonous at times. But this is just errors in the margin, since the length of the gig feels just right, and mostly because HIM plays my personal favourite "Soul on Fire" towards the end.
Mark my words, when "Dark Light" hits the stores, HIM will be an even bigger act for even bigger venues. The concert at Cirkus might therefore be their last before the big breakthrough. I will remember it as a night when I was mighty impressed by HIM. And that's the whole band, not just Ville Valo.
8 chalices of 10