VV live at Bristol’s O2 Academy

VV kicked off the UK leg of the Neon Noir tour at Bristol’s O2 Academy, putting on a fantastic show!

On a chilly night in Bristol, thousands of people, young and old, queued up outside the O2 Academy to see VV.

Many, if not all, were there as long-time HIM fans excited to see Ville Valo live again and also to experience the fantastic debut VV album Neon Noir in the flesh.

First up was Icelandic trio Kaelan Mikla. The trio put on an eerie set but it just didn’t grab me the way I was hoping it would. The majority of the crowd enjoyed them so it’s just personal preference rather than a bad performance.

What I did enjoy, however, was the use of the flute during the set. As someone who played the instrument as a child, seeing it being used in alternative music makes me smile.

The iconic Heartagram logo appeared as the backdrop, with one slight difference, the VV centered in the logo, which lit up as the set was about to begin.

Now anyone who’s heard Neon Noir as an album knows it is a great record, but it is definitely enhanced further with the colour changing backdrop and the heartagram lights.

While VV is promoting Neon Noir during this tour, the set is a straight split of tracks from the album and some of HIM’s biggest hits.

Coming on to instrumental track Zener Solitaire, we’re treated to the upbeat Echolocate Your Love from Neon Noir before classic Funeral of Hearts. VV alternated between his two incarnations titular track Neon Noir being followed by Right Here in My Arms, Loveletting and Buried Alive By Love.

Unsurprisingly some of the biggest cheers and singalongs came from the HIM tracks such as Wings of a Butterfly, Join Me In Death and When Love and Death Embrace but the Neon Noir tracks including In Trenodia, Heartful of Ghosts and Run Away From The Sun had almost as loud a reaction.

VV’s vocals were unsurprisingly spot on and his band showcased their talent, with VV leaving the stage during When Love and Death Embrace and final encore track Saturnine Saturnalia to allow the band to shine during the final instrumentations.

There was a lack of crowd interaction between songs which usually annoys me, but with the amount of great tracks, going straight from one to another didn’t bother me so much.

Plus during the four-song encore, he spoke at length, thanking the crowd for coming to ‘witness the demise of the sequel’ after one of the guitarists left the stage, for him to smile and say that said guitarist had rejoined the band when he returned a few moments later.

The encore had classic singles Soul on Fire and Poison Girl as well as Neon Noir tracks Salute the Sanguine and Saturnine Saturnalia, which is a very good track to end on as it sticks in your head for days.

VV in Bristol was a cracking night and, while unsurprising to long time fans of HIM and Ville Valo, would have surely impressed those who were dragged along by friends and family due to the sheer masterclass of a performance put on by VV.

Elizabeth Birt

March 14, 2023

Band management assistant. Goth princess and lover of all things music and sport.


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