Words and Pictures: Rebecca Bush / Rebecca Bush Photography
Thursday night in Highbury and all the goths and vampires are gathering , as I wander around tonight’s venue before the show begins I’m greeted with familiar faces and fellow fans I have encountered over the years, all huddled together for what promises to be a dark and rock and roll fuelled evening!!
Kicking us off with a strong start are London four piece Diamond Black , all members are masters of their craft and immediately have the audience captivated. Front man J.I Turunen’s romantic tones perfectly reflect the mood of the lyrics and are wonderfully accompanied by the intricate and catchy riffs of guitarist Ben Christo ( Sisters of Mercy , Night by Night). Their music is a perfect combination of the dark emotional and melancholic with a plethora of rock influences meshed together to create a rich sound that really packs a punch!! With a more than solid rhythm section in the form of bassist Adam Lightspeed and drummer Jan-Vincent Velazco providing ground shaking levels of power!
As well as having a kick ass set of catchy songs these guys have a great stage presence and are a well oiled machine which is awesome to see in action. All in all a brilliant start to proceedings tonight , the crowd are definitely well and truly in the zone.
Next to take the stage tonight are German band Lacrimas Profundere. Established in 1993 the band have had a few line up changes but most recently in May of last year new vocalist Julian Larre joined , perfectly fitting the bands image since their shift into a more gothic rock and metal sound. With deliciously dark and rich vocals Julian completely commands the space exuding pure energy and charisma as he moves around the stage. Hands are all immediately in the air and the whole room is united. His energy is complimented by guitarist Oliver Nikolas Schmid’s and bassist Ilker Ersin’s powerful riffs and by Dominik Scholz’s raw talent on the drums.
This is the most crowd connection and interaction I have seen from a front man in a long time , really feeding off their energy directly Julian often took to the barrier to reach out to fans much to their excitement!
Drawing from a wonderful body of work spanning quarter of a century(!) the set list tonight was a real mix and testament to the incredible range of Julians vocals. Breathing new life into and adding a richness to older songs such as ‘My Release in Pain’ from 2013 release ‘Antiadore’ and ‘My Velvet Little Darkness’ from 2006 release ‘Filthy Notes for Frozen Hearts’ which were truly revived. And then new songs such as ‘Celestite Woman’ and ‘Father of Fate’ from latest release and first to feature Julian as vocalist ‘Bleeding the Stars’ which had such power and made for a truly inspiring and moving performance! He certainly made every song completely his own.
It’s always a wonderful sight to see all members of a band so animated and alive , the whole room was buzzing as Julian took to the crowd and was surrounded by people jumping and singing along with him! The set was over much too soon with the crowd calling for more as soon as they were done!! I will definitely be looking out for future shows!
The 69 Eyes
I took a moment to catch up with old friends whilst waiting for tonight’s headliners but it turns out I didn’t have as long as I thought as the lights went down 20 minutes before the advertised stage time! The band’s wonderfully dramatic intro music of Phantom of the Opera becoming the theme tune to my fight from the back of the venue, camera equipment in tow, through the crowd and into the pit with mere moments to spare!
It’s been a decade since Helsinki Vampires the 69 Eyes have graced our shores and it’s a very welcome return!
Opening number ‘Two Horns Up’ from new album West End immediately has everyone singing along and throwing their horns in the air! The whole band are on top form dressed in their signature leather skeleton emblazoned jackets and shades, fully embodying the horror rock and roll vibe they so wonderfully established 30 years ago this year!
The performance has everything you would want , brooding dark vocals from the charismatic lead singer who needs no introduction – the one and only Jyrki 69, lively and skillful drumming from the dynamic Jussi69 and killer riffs and hooks from Bazie and Timo-Timo on Guitars and Archzie on bass!!
The set list tonight is a perfect concoction of solid favourites and new hits each song perfectly in its place and complimenting the next. It’s amazing that their music manages to sound classic and at the same time new and fresh across the board – perhaps their songs are vampires too – timeless and immortal!! They are all so energetic and full of attitude and its incredible to watch – I’m hot just dancing along in the crowd!!
Since it’s release in September, West End has clearly made it’s mark , the crowd sang along to new tracks ’27 and Done’ and ‘Chayenna’ as easily as they did firm favourites such as ‘Perfect Skin’ and ‘The Chair’
Once their set is finished they leave the stage and the crowd goes uncharacteristically quiet – there are a few whoops and cheers but not the usual ruccous you would expect from a crowd who had been so animated just moments ago. When the band come back on Jyrki talks to us – ”we were actually getting tweets from you asking us to come back!!” so that explains the silence!
The encore ends in the wonderful crescendo that is ‘Lost Boys’ easily one of their most iconic songs which invokes the most enthusiastic response yet.
They have the audience in their hands for the duration , we are all hungry for this show and our patience has been hugely rewarded, the 69 Eyes have burst back into action and this is very much the right time, nothing about them feels at all out of place and it’s amazing to be witness to it true rock and roll really does never die!!