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Live Review: HIM – Dingwalls, London – 26/03/13

HIM returned to the UK for a one-off show at intimate Camden venue Dingwalls – this is what we thought…

Band: HIM
Venue: Dingwalls, London
Date: 26/03/13

HIM fans are a sentimental bunch so it only makes sense that with the release of new studio album ‘Tears On Tape’ the band should make a quiet but much desired return, with a tiny but packed out tour across Europe leading up to their slot at Download 2013. 

There’s no support tonight, and the crowd is left to generate their own momentum in the hour or so before the band appear on stage. When they finally appear, to the ominous chimes and doomy bass line of instrumental intro ‘Unleash The Red’, there’s no doubt that the legendary Finns have still got the remarkable charm that’s gotten them so far already. As frontman Ville Valo appears on stage like he’s just wandered out of a fifties vampire horror movie, the momentum explodes into sheer, senseless excitement, the first few notes of ‘All Lips Go Blue’ ringing out pitch perfect. It’s great to see the band still in such great form after all the trials and tribulations involved with the new album’s recording process, but with all personal demons vanquished, Ville & co. deliver crowd-pleaser after crowd-pleaser, with ‘Buried Alive by Love’ and ‘Rip Out The Wings of a Butterfly’ leading the charge of hits.

HIM are at the stage in their career where they don’t even have to say anything to get the crowd moving or singing along, it’s all effortless and organic – even the new songs like ‘Hearts at War’ and title track ‘Tears on Tape’ are screamed back with as much adoration and ferocity as classics like ‘Right Here In My Arms’ and ‘Join Me In Death’.  It gets to the point where the madly screaming fans almost become a downside, drowning out the band’s performance – one man on stage left was doing a particularly grand job of mutilating ‘Your Sweet Six Six Six’ at a high enough volume to override Ville’s voice. Regardless, it exposes the degree of passion the band instils in its fans, and is oddly inspiring to behold.

It’s rare to see a band like HIM play intimate gigs, but when they do, they completely nail it, and this show was no exception, the small but dedicated crowd treated to an ambitious encore in the form of epic ten minute doom metal drawl ‘Sleepwalking Past Hope’. It’s the perfect conclusion to a show only hampered by the almost aggressive adoration of the audience (try getting past the army of girls assembled at the barrier – you’d have an easier time convincing Ville to stop smoking). It all just stands to prove how much HIM still has to offer after all these years, and spells very, very good omens for the upcoming Autumn tour. Miss this band in their newly renewed prime at your peril.


Review by: Lawrence

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