red lights


H.I.M. spread the dark love

Congress Theatre
Chicago, IL
May 17, 2006
H.I.M. H.I.M. H.I.M.

Story by Phil Bonyata
Photos by Karen Bondowski

Red hot goth rockers H.I.M. (His Infernal Majesty) are certainly the most famous band to come out of Finland and many might agree - the most talented. H.I.M.'s unique marriage of glam and goth have produced some rabid fans as witnessed by the fervent response shown a couple of nights ago at The Congress Theatre in Chicago.

Opening the show with "Soul On Fire" lead singer and goththrob Ville Valo let it be known who was the master of the house. He exchanged seductive wordplay with a voice that can be darkly full flavored and then turn into a creepily sinister falsetto.H.I.M. Valo's stage presence is at times Jaggeresque in his preenings and something all his own with his devilish smiles that are clouded by the never-ending cigarettes he smokes. "Join Me in Death" had Ville's lyrics and voice grow more evil as the eerie piano and brooding rhythms took shape. The band consisting of Valo, Mige Amour (bass), Lily Lazer (guitar), Gas Lipstick (drums) and Emerson Burton (keyboards) are actually very good musicians who create a swirling disarray of sound that all come together in chaotic fashion under the structure of melody and hook. Their music is rife with love songs about death and darkness. "Vampire Heart" took us to a darkly worded place with it's hook-laden edge and deceiving cheerfulness. "Right Here In My Arms," a testament to togetherness, ended with Valo screaming the chorus "I got a TV eye on you..." from The Stooges "TV Eye." Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" created layers of sound with echoing guitar riffs and crashing drums building on Valo's extreme delivery.

Other songs that built on H.I.M.'s penchant for crushing guitars and glowing melodies were more than evident with "Soul on Fire," "It's All Tears" and "Killing Loneliness." There were three large chandeliers that were suspended above the band and moved about in some strange choreography with the music throughout most of the show most notably on "Razorblade Kiss." The song stormed on with slicing guitar licks and a chorus loaded with a brooding melody. "Behind the Crimson Door" featured much softer verses with a very strong chorus. The band closed their dynamic set with a blistering encore of "Under the Rose," "Funeral of Hearts" and "Buried Alive By Love."

H.I.M. H.I.M.
H.I.M. H.I.M.

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