HIM – Academy, Manchester 24/10/13

It’s been a while since HIM toured the UK and the fans were already out in their droves, as there was already a long queue outside Manchester Academy over two hours prior to the doors opening!

As there were only two bands on the bill, there was no rush to squeeze everything in, and the venue was already quite full by the time Caspian took to the stage to play for what could well have been the longest 45 minutes of my life.

After a massively long introduction, things finally got underway and it swiftly became apparent that as the opening song progressed, this band was a purely instrumental one. There are some absolutely stunning instrumental bands out there, but with Caspian it just felt like they were a band missing a vocalist. The songs were long and repetitive with no distinctive sections and they all merged into one long and dull entity. The fact they had three guitarists seemed a little excessive as well.

Although the five-piece were clearly talented, there was absolutely zero stage presence or performance skills from them and it felt like they were trying to be one of those ridiculous ‘epic’ bands (think 30 Seconds To Mars or Angels And Airwaves), but ultimately failed at it. I found my interest waning more and more as the set progressed, and they weren’t exactly one of the finest supports I’ve seen, to say the least.

Of course, the night truly belonged to HIM, who played a blinder of a set that contained a perfect blend of old and new material – enough to showcase their new album Tears On Tape but also playing a great mix of some of their more well-known songs, with highlights being Buried Alive By Love, Your Sweet 666 and their fantastic cover of Wicked Game. The lighting in particular was also a sight to be seen, with it adding a hell of a lot of ambience to the show, and the sound quality was also top-notch with everything sounding crystal clear and well defined.

The band as a whole have a fantastic chemistry, with bassist and guitarist Migé and Linde respectively constantly interacting with each other throughout the show, and at one point during Passions Killing Floor, frontman Ville climbed up onto the drum riser and held his microphone over the drum cymbals! A band that interacts well with each other is always a lot of fun to see live, and it was definitely the case with HIM.

One of the set highlights was Kiss Of Dawn, which included a fantastic extended solo with all members jamming out what appeared to be a completely improvised section which was breathtaking to witness. Another great inclusion was their old song Drown In This Love, which sounded phenomenal and had a fresh and new feel to it, almost sounding like a twist on the original version.

They closed their main set with fan favourite Funeral Of Hearts, which got one of the biggest cheers of the night, before finishing off completely with their fantastic track When Love And Death Embrace, and you could really tell they gave it their all, making sure that everybody left completely satisfied.

An utterly fantastic performance from the band, and one that won’t be forgotten in a while. HIM really outdid themselves and it was a pleasure to see.

8/10

HIM: Website|Facebook

About Natalie Humphries 1780 Articles
Soundscape's editor, who is particularly fond of doom, black metal and folk (but will give anything a chance). Likes to travel to see bands abroad when she can. Contact: nathumphries@soundscapemagazine.com or @acidnat on twitter.

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