Finnish rock band HIM returns to the USA for their winter Love Metal Archives Tour by kicking things off properly at Webster Hall New York City.
One of the most undeniable things about the band HIM are their fans. Dedicated to the core, fans will follow this band all over the country and abroad with a certain intensity unrivaled by any other band still relevant today. Respected and inspired by countless bands and musicians, HIM brought along Motionless In White and Ireland’s Wounds to the party for a well rounded lineup with different styles that meshed perfectly for a few limited tour dates on the East and West coasts.
After two decades of being a band, HIM re-released their first few albums on vinyl in a special boxed set edition entitled, Lashes to Ashes, Lust to Dust (The End Records). The pearl in the oyster is their debut EP,Â 666 Ways to Love: Prologue. With only about a thousand CD copiesÂ released in Finland back in 1996, 666 Ways has always been the Holy Grail for HIM fans worldwide. With this new box set, fans throughout the world have a unique opportunity to own a once truly rare item and on vinyl for the first time. Although the band had already toured earlier this year in multiple US cities, they surprised fans by returning this winter for an exclusive East and West Coast tour supporting their aforementioned release found through The Omega Order (link below).
HIM’s ambitious 24-song set list with tracks rarely played live like “Love’s Requiem” and “This Fortress of Tears” set Webster Hall on fire with the audience singing practically louder than their crooning savior Ville Valo. The band seemed in good spirits and kicked off their tour with smiles and energy by easing into one song after another, keeping the momentum going all the way until their closing bombastic cover of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell.”
New York fans varied in enthusiasm by swaying to ballads, screaming “I love you” to the band and rarely seen crowd surfing occurred on more than one occasion. The solid audience in a mid sized venue, it was easy enough to see the stage from any part of Webster Hall and to get some space when needed. Having personally been to many HIM gigs, it’s always interesting to see how audiences vary from state to state and country to country. New York brought the noise that made the entire venue bounce throughout the duration of the concert.
New Jersey’s Starland Ballroom may have been smaller, but the club’s seating and multi-level vantage points more than made up for its lack in size. The smaller stage and more intimacy, fans were just as enthusiastic if not a bit more punk rock in their antics. HIM towered like Nordic giants and having been warmed up from two previous gigs on the tour transitioned through every song without effort. HIM fans never disappoint with hand held signs, street team shirts, and making sure that they are decked out in every heartagram they own from head to toe to ink. You’ll not find a more loyal fan than a HIM fan in this particular genre of music even though Motionless In White might beg to differ.
Motionless In White surprised HIM fans by honoring the band with kind words and sentiments declaring their love and respect for HIM as an iconic band. MIW’s vocalist Chris Motionless made a point to mention how much HIM had influenced their career and expressed gratitude and humility for being added to the tour lineup. Touring for their latest release, Reincarnate (Fearless Records),Â MIW delivered a hard riffing, ghoulish set complete with musical interludes from popular television shows like Hemlock Grove and American Horror Story. Having their own dedicated-to-the-core fans, it was refreshing to see all camps getting along in the audience as opposed to other bands HIM has toured with in the past.
Adding a delightful cornucopia of punk rock realness, Ireland’s Wounds gained a whole new group of fans by getting in on their label mate’s tour. It’s never easy being the opening band, but Wounds found themselves playing to huge early crowds due to the dedicated fans of MIW and HIM getting to the venue early to jockey for the best front row spot. They quickly learned that HIM fans are savvy and if their favorite band is playing with others, they want to know who else is mucking about in the sandbox. Wounds was always around after the show selling and signing merchandise and it seemed they were taken by surprise how well received they were. With catchy anarchistic songs like “Dead Dead Fucking Dead,” what’s not to love. Wounds debut album,Â Die Young (Razor and Tie), was released in late November and from all the albums being stuffed into purses and backpacks, it seems like their sound and style is being received rather well. Wounds delivered the perfect warm up with crowd pleasing banter, high energy, and the self awareness of a cliched angry shot of Jameson.
Going to any HIM gig is a great experience and some would say almost like family to a degree. The band has been touring non-stop since their latest album,Â Tears On Tape, dropped in 2013. Now that their tour season is winding down, fans can only wonder how long it’ll be before the Finns come to America again. Then again, if any fandom could keep a light on for the return of a favorite band, HIM’s Sweethearts will be sure to stay close to the flame.
HIM Set List:Â The Sacrament, Razorblade Kiss, Right Here In My Arms, This Fortress of Tears, Your Sweet 666, Wicked Game, Gone With The Sin, Soul on Fire, Heartache Every Moment, Love’s Requiem, Rip Out The Wings of a Butterfly, Buried Alive by Love, Kiss Of Dawn, Poison, Girl, In Joy and Sorrow, Bleed Well, Join Me, No Love, Killing Loneliness, When Love and Death Embrace, Stigmata, Diaboli, Funeral of Hearts, Rebel Yell.