A Heartagram shined over the sold-out, LA celebration.
Text, Photographs by Ekaterina Gorbacheva (@ekaterinagorbacheva.art) at
The Belasco on April 18th, 2023:
On January 13th, Ville Vallo (HIM) made his highly anticipated return to the full-length format via Neon Noir (Heartagram Records) — a love letter to those longing the craft of the Finnish goth icons since their departure. Neon Noir found the multi-faceted frontman tapping into his expertise on melancholic composition and delivering the true embodiment of a solo record, especially with him having recorded all the instruments on the full-length. As a whole, it wears its heart on its sleeve and scratches the itch many have had for new synth-driven, slow-driven goth material akin to that of HIM. VV now set out to bring Neon Noir's glamour on the road and on April 18th, Los Angeles was host to a sold-out Night 1 of 2 performances.
The outfits, the chatter, the passion, and the overall electricity of the HIM fandom was heard and seen prior to even entering The Belasco — a sure sign of what we were in for. Icelandic post-punk trio Kælan Mikla were as apt as openers in the live setting as they were on paper, excelling in their dark craft beneath dim lights and occasional strobes. Their pulsing, synth-laden dark wave and post-punk passages moved an eager crowd who stood idle and perplex in anticipation for the headliner. As the tantalizing performance concluded, the main floor filled up and gathered closer towards the front, inching into the expected center of where VV was sure to be.
The debut album's penultimate track, Zener Solitaire, set the mood just prior to VV's entrance, garnering great chair and audible singalongs amidst the crowd. Soon after, new gem, Echolocate Your Love, reverberated throughout and LA erupted as a grateful VV walked onto the stage.
Phones were lifted, horns were raised, and hearts were formed throughout the sea of attendees, each showing deep admiration for the signature Heartagram symbol that now sports an additional "v" to represent VV's latest venture.
Beyond it being a celebration of his new chapter, the performance harkened back to classic HIM material, delivering a showcase across the Vallo timeline. Greats like Poison Girl, Right Here In My Arms, Buried Alive By Love, Wings Of A Butterfly, and more shined on with VV's renowned baritone voice taking control of the show. A large majority of The Belasco sang and danced along to the classic hymns, speaking greatly upon the impact that VV has had on a generation.
Gothica Fennica Vol. 1 (2020) also earned its wings as its three tracks, Run Away From the Sun, Salute the Sanguine, and Saturnine Saturnalia, hit the stage to great acclaim, speaking highly of the musician's contemporary strengths. New additions, such as Loveletting, Heartful of Ghosts, and The Foreverlost, are fairly recent and yet they're engraved in the hearts and minds of many already. Again, the hold that VV commands upon listeners is truly a feat to behold. VV's vocal prowess and ability to build upon melody remains elite. That alone makes the Neon Noir Tour a "must", but for those looking for an additional reason, consider the legendary discography on display, as well as the unique performance that precedes the special, headlining act.
Check out a photo gallery of the performance below along with remaining tour dates.
Ville Vallo Photo Gallery
Remaining Tour Dates (Tickets)