HIM bid Philadelphia a bittersweet farewell
Bang & Whimper
HIM began their career in 1991 as a group of high school kids with a love for bands like Black Sabbath. The Finnish love metal outfit would make a huge mark on not only Helsinki but across the world. In 1997 the band would release their debut album Greatest Love Songs Vol 666. That album would go on to start a whirlwind for His Infernal Majesty. The band soon caught the attention of Bam Margera in 2000, who would feature their music in his widely known CKY videos and later go on to direct the band’s music videos for “Buried Alive by Love” and “The Sacrament.” This was HIM’s cross over to North America.
In 2005, the band became the first Finnish act to hit gold sales in America with their album Dark Light, which featured the singles “Wings of a Butterfly,” “Killing Loneliness,” and “Vampire Heart.” In 2007 the band released “Venus Doom,” which featured the wildly successful “The Kiss of Dawn” and “Bleed Well.” The band’s frontman Ville Valo has always poured his heart into his lyrics, while letting the band have a heavy edge without losing the sentiment behind the songs. Ville would pen his struggles to share with the world; the perfect example: the band’s 2013 release Tears on Tape. The album is Valo’s ultimate expression and it captivated fans all around the globe. Little did we know this would now be the last release from the band.
After years of silence from the band, March 5th, 2017 found the band announcing via their Facebook page they would be closing the last chapter of their 26 year career. Ville Valo described the end in the post saying, “We completed the pattern, solved the puzzle, and turned the key. Thank You.” The band known for beautifully blending metal and hard rock with deep and moving lyrics and being the voice of a generation was done, in that same post they announced the final chapter would be a farewell tour featuring CKY (Entertainment one) and new industrial band 3Teeth (ArtofFact Records). Over the 26 years and eight studio albums, HIM has captivated fans all around the world making their Heartagram logo a symbol to fans across the globe. HIM has played and sold out venues throughout the world and crushed record charts just the same.
I myself have been a HIM fan for as long as I can remember. The band has helped me through countless struggles of being a teenager and all the difficulty that comes with it. I was sincerely humbled by the opportunity to cover one of the bands final shows, so I headed to the third to last U.S show at The Fillmore in Philadelphia.
Made it a point to arrive early, as the show was sold out and I really wanted to take the opportunity as a HIM fan to talk to other fans and get their memories and thoughts on the band’s final tour. I was met with an outpouring of fans my age (30 years old), who have been affected in some way by the band’s music.
I spoke to a girl who showed me her Heartagram tattoo on her forearm covering up old marks from self inflicted scars, another fan Nick from Cherry Hill, NJ told me he once met Ville Valo in New York City and reminisced on how kind he was, and a girl who had a big poster board sign that said “Happy Birthday Ville.” It was really awesome to hear these stories in person and see that HIM had not only built a fanbase but a community.
Got my credentials and prepared for this bittersweet experience. First up to kick off the night was industrial rockers 3Teeth, the Los Angeles based band I can best describe as the love child of Rammstein and early Nine Inch Nails.
The band performed songs like “Consent” and “Dust” off their 2014 self-titled album, along with the tracks “Shutdown” & “Insubstantia” from their newest album Shutdown, which is available HERE.
Their show includes lots of red and blue lights and moments chaotic strobe lights. I had saw the band open for Rammstein over the summer and liked them but after this opening performance, I’m a fan and highly recommend checking out the album but also their live show.
The direct support for the tour and Philadelphia natives CKY definitely made the night special for the hometown crowd on a few occasions.
The first surprise was the band’s introduction by drummer Jess Margera’s parents April and Phil Margera, who you might know from MTV’s hit TV show “Viva La Bam.” The crowd roared as they made their way to the mic stand, followed by chants of “CKY, CKY.”
Finally CKY answered the call and got the party started. The band ripped through a set which included fan favorites including “The Human Drive In Hi-Fi,” “Head for a Breakdown,” and “96 Quite Bitter Beings.” As for the next surprise, singer Chad Ginsburg asked “Do you wanna see our special guest?” That guest was none other than Jess Margera’s brother and star of “Viva La Bam” Bam Margera. They went on to perform the final song of their set, a cover of Turbonegro’s “All My Friends Are Dead.”
The crowd sang at the top of their lungs and when it was over CKY chants rang out for almost a minute after the band walked off. These guy’s still have it and from the looks of it you’ll be seeing much more from these guys as they continue in support of their new album The Phoenix available HERE.
It was finally time for that bittersweet moment. During the 35 minute or so set change, you could feel the energy in the room change. I think many fans, myself included, came to the realization they were about to see HIM for the last time in Philadelphia. As the lights went down the intro song began; fittingly it was The Everly Brothers “Bye Bye Love.” The band made their way onto the stage to loud cheers and bra’s being thrown to frontman Ville Valo; yes he did pick them up, look at them, and put them down behind him. The band began the set with fan favorite “Buried Alive by Love,” with the crowd shouting the chorus “If I should die before I wake, pray no one my soul to take.” HIM powered through a 2 hour greatest hits set, that any true fan would approve of. Stage lighting included everything from intimate purples, pinks, and blues to red lighting with furious strobes. The set included “Heartache Every Moment,” “Funeral of Hearts,” “Join Me In Death,” and “Bleed Well” just to name a few. There was definitely moments where I saw eyeliner running in sadness and for others, they were living in the moment not mourning the loss of HIM but rather celebrating all the great years and memories of watching the band.
The set’s encore finale included “Rebel Yell” originally by Billy Idol, which surely left fans wanting more. As a HIM fan, a long time fan at that, I loved everything about this show. It felt intimate while sometimes feeling huge, and was the perfect way for the band to say thank you to the fans, and perfect for the band to feel the love people have for HIM and it’s history.
Under normal circumstances I’d highly recommend this show, but a this point if you haven’t seen it already it’s probably too late. At least in North America, since the tour wraps up with the final show Friday Night November 17th in New York City. Next up for the band, they will finish the last dates and close out the band’s career with dates in Europe which you can see below.
See them while you can: