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It sort of came down to a mass gathering of screaming, black-clad teenies and their accompanists who stood afflicted in the background. The first joint tour from HIM and The Rasmus is a meeting of the Scandinavian gothic rock giants whose 2 singers as sex symbols drive the fans crazy. The rock´n´rollers from Negative in between feel quite comfortable with their role as a warm-up act and they topped off the Finnish evening.
„HIM and The Rasmus live in Helsinki, we are from Tampere, that´s why we don´t see each other that often. Here on tour we´re finally together again and we have fun!” reports singer Jonne Aaron before the concert. The fun that the lovable rock´n´rollers - with their addiction to a Guns ´n´ Roses dress style - have in their Suomi-family package is translated perfectly to the stage. It´s rare to see that much delight in one´s own songs. The diverse crowd not only yawed for blackened anthems of the night but also benevolently took up straight-on stadium rock with a lacing of Finnish melancholy. Extroverted outfits and stage show mixed with the smash hits from both Negative albums “War of love” and “Sweet & Deceitful” like “My May, Hey, Hey (Out Of Blue)” brought a very diverting and entertaining performance which sadly ended way to early.
For many The Rasmus exist only since their 1,5 million seller „Dead Letters“ but the Finns are around since 1996. After the impulsive show from Negative the opening of frontman Lauri and co was a bit lumbering, also because the lightshow wasn´t that colourful and flashy anymore as with the predecessors but was limited to red and blue. In the middle of the set which focused to a great deal on songs from their latest album “Hide From The Sun” came the change from a quite good performance to a fantastic gig when Lauri “Lintu” (Finnish for bird) buckled an acoustic guitar on his lanky body and with “Sail Away” and impressing vocals from bassist Eero showed the true potential of the band. Logically, the übersongs of the band “In The Shadows” and “ First Day Of My Life” were most frenetically celebrated at the end.
10 years after their formation Ville Valo´s band HIM is regarded as the forerunner of the gothic rock genre and the frontman himself as the reason for dark-erotic dreams of many young girls. In spite or just because of his appearance the auditorium was filled with about 70% of female adorers of all ages but also the male fraction succumbed to Ville Hermani Valo´s charm and charisma. Scrawny, chalky and endowed with a voice of a chain-smoking opera singer he defines HIM´s character. Accordingly, the decadent stage is ablaze with 4 pendant candle chandeliers and crimson light in a very vampire-esque atmosphere for the princes of gothic rock. Ville Valo had to enter the stage a bit peaky but you couldn´t see that with his black jacket and woollen hat on. Vocally, there were only here and there some insecurities and so he impressed despite having laid down in the afternoon with a convincing performance.
Even in good shape the Finn has a action radius of about 1,5 beer mats and so his health problems have probably escaped the bigger part of the crowd. Only the reserved consumption of beer and the first lit cigarette after half an hour pointed to a feeble health.
HIM started from the beginning on with fireworks of hits, in a way with the setlist-becoming motto “Greates Lovesongs Vol. 666” and many thought after 20 minutes that they had already shot their wad after having played“Wings Of A Butterfly”;”Join Me”, “Right Here In My Arms” and “Wicked Game” but far from it! Also the new and more quiet songs took off well and so every tearjerker was celebrated as a hit and was received with rapturous applause from the 2500 concert goers. And rightly so because at the moment there´s no other band that can combine catchy melodies with melancholy and a good deal of heaviness.
A sample of HIM´s sense of humor came as an encore when they covered “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” from the old men of doom metal with wafting keyboards in a more dynamic version. Ville and co revealed once again their musical roots and preferences but the reaction of the crowd surely must have lacerated their hearts because the crowd couldn´t do anything with that song and so the singer gave some lessons in metal history and started “Black Sabbath” chants. Brilliant!
Ingo Gießmann, translation: Kathleen Gransalke
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