Mar 16, 2010

HIM - Sonar

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com

DRIVE A / HIM / WE ARE THE FALLEN

March 16, 2010

Baltimore, MD

My buddies in the band Drive A were the openers for this show and Drive A is a kick ass, youthful, part punk/part hard rock band that was TOTALLY different from the style of music HIM plays...infact, NONE of the bands on this bill even come close to matching what Drive A do, musically! Jason & the boys play music that I consider to be heavily influenced by New York styled Punk & Hardcore...there's some elements of metal & hard rock, but the catchy hooks, the attitude & the guitar driven tunes are really very punk driven for the most part & HIM's style is more of a melodic, contemporary goth brood compared to Drive A!

Singer Bruno was a crazy hyper child this particular night, he dove into the crowd a few times, sang from the mosh pit which he personally started, he hung from the lighting rig that hung in the middle of the crowd & when Bruno did this, I watched, as did the bulk of the crowd & even tour manager Tim watched on, part laughing, but also with concern...Bruno was swinging from the very top of the venue & the lights didn't look that safe, but the man took his life into his own hands, laughed at danger & rocked like an MF both on & off the stage!

I've seen Drive A several times, I actually saw them the first time they played the Maryland area, back before their debut record even came out, I had an advance copy & I showed the band the advance version for the first time & this was back when they had a different bass player & drummer too! What I'll say about Drive A is that they've been touring heavily for the past few years, they've grown as performers, they know how to convey their message, their music & their energy while they are onstage, & I remember the first time I saw Bruno onstage...he was a little shy & a little awkward at first....well, let me tell you something...at this point, the man is a rocker, he's strong, he's crazy, he's intense & he's taken his performance to the next level & it's pushed Drive A to go from being a good rock band, to being a GREAT rock band! I remember seeing these guys back when they had no tattoo's...now they are getting inked up & growing into their rockstar status...Drive A played a short opening set, BUT, they killed it & got the crowd all worked up!

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I ended up going outside for a few minutes during the next band, so I'll skip their set & go directly to We Are The Fallen, who essentially are Evanescence minus Amy Lee! Singer Carly Smithson, a former American Idol contestant, is the bands lead singer & she sings just like Amy Lee in all honesty...I, along with many, many people in the crowd, all agreed that this is a much better version of Evanescence! In the bands set were 2 covers, "Like A Prayer" by Madonna & "Flight of The Icarus" by Iron Maiden.

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What can I say, I walked away a fan & if you hit up the bands merch table, on this particular tour they have some cool merch, probably the thing that I noticed right away though was they were selling autographed event posters for $40 & they were limited to 100 copies, but if you are smart, keep an eye on their merch table...the entire band comes out briefly & meets fans between their set & HIM's set!

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HIM were the nights main event & it was funny to look at the entire front of the barricade, up against the stage, & see ALL females...mostly under 21 girls who were all there to swoon over Ville Valo, the focal point of everything HIM!

His Internal Majesty aka HIM played a lengthy hour plus set that covered mostly newer material with a few older gems tossed in, including "666" in the encore.

Ville took the stage after his band members were already onstage & Ville has cut his hair just a little shorter at this point & when I stood on the left side of him to take pictures, I couldn't help but occassionally see an eye ball tattoo popping out from his low cut top he was sporting under his dress jacket. Ville crooned his adult contemporary goth music for the crowd that ate up every moment of the bands set & the interesting thing to point out was that all the guys were in the back of the venue while all the girls were up front salivating over Ville!

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Bassist Mige has cool guitar pics that say "Meat is Murder" on them, but I couldn't see what was on guitarist Linde's pics. In my personal opinion, from a musical stand point, the man in the band with the longest dread's, Linde, holds down the music end of things; HIM is centered around Ville 100% of the time, but Linde is a solid guitarist & he has a great tone, his fills & rhythm & leads area what make the music interesting for me, as a player, & the thing about a HIM show, atleast in the past, was that Ville was known for chain smoking onstage, but since that passed the No Smoking in public places laws in Maryland, the usually chain smoking Ville was fag-less this particular night, or atleast he wasn't smoking all night!

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Love 'em or hate 'em, there's no denying the fact that HIM deliver a decent live show...they have great sound, they have a good light show that makes the HIM live experience a memorable experience. A little side note to things is that, the lights HIM use, they make everything RED look Purple-ish & I noticed this when I looked at the carpets that were scattered on the stage were placed in their designated postions, then they tested the HIM lighting...everything the color red appeared purple; I proved this point also when I looked at my red bracelet that appeared purple when I got next to the stage!

Bam Margera & Hot Topic made HIM an international success when they brought HIM & their heart-a-gram over to the USA, & no matter what you say or do, HIM are a part of the rock scene, they've made their mark & they are a good live band.