with Bleeding Through
Hard Rock Live, Orlando, Fl • Nov. 24, 2007
How many cigarettes can one man smoke during a two-hour concert? HIM frontman, Ville Valo, sets out to answer that question each and every time he steps out onto the stage. Bringing back chain smoking in a big, big way (the negative health effects of smoking may not yet have reached the ears of him and his Finnish friends), Valo coolly fondles his cigs while wooing the hearts of the already adoring Orlando audience.
Orange County’s interpretation of metalcore, Bleeding Through, attempted to open the ears of the otherwise gothically-minded crowd. Though there may have been a few banging heads and a sprinkling of devil horns tossed into the air, the majority of the kids just seemed to be going through the motions rather than actually feeling the music. I can’t really blame them. A band like Bleeding Through feeds largely on the chaos and mayhem of a too-packed dive bar. Since the Hard Rock Live has a no moshing/no crowd surfing policy, the band seemed a little lost on the big stage — having to rely solely on their music and not just the energy of an overzealous audience.
“We’re not trying to be macho or anything up here, we’re just trying to open your ears to a different kind of music,” said frontman Brandon Schieppati, “…but we also don’t really give a shit if you like us or not.”
I don’t give a shit if you like them or not, but — please — make up your own mind about it! Don’t just turn to your neighbor, see them bopping their head along and think that you’ve got to follow their lead! The same can be said in regard to HIM. Though the band had a fairly hefty following overseas, it wasn’t until Bam Margera came along and set off on a PR blitz, proclaiming them the greatest band in the world that American audiences began listening to them. If you’re one of those millions who “found” HIM thanks to Mr. Margera, and you really, truly love their brand of love metal, then great! Enjoy it, love it, go to the concerts wearing black eyeliner and fishnet sleeves and scream your bloody face off!
…on the flipside of that trendy coin, if you’re merely stepping into the shadows of others and waving your hands in the air on Saturday night so that you can go back to school on Monday morning and tell all of your friends that you were there — get the hell out the building! I’m so sick of mediocrity, be it on the part of the band or the audience.
I’m not a huge fan of HIM, but I can understand why some people hold this band so close to heart. Valo’s baritone is haunting, his stage persona engrossing (though he seems to be copping a too large portion of his “look” from the irresistible lesbian character Shane from The L Word), and songs like “Passion’s Killing Floor,” and “Rip Out the Wings of Butterfly” are definitely scream worthy. The band even does justice to a Chris Isaak cover of “Wicked Game”. These big gun songs were shot out right from the start, and yet the band still had an arsenal of hits to deliver later in the set (“Killing Loneliness,” “Kiss of Dawn”).
On a colorfully decorated stage, the band with the great logo (the strength of the heartagram as a symbol cannot be denied!) may not have made history on the Orlando stage, but they surely embedded themselves into the memories of many young fans.
To see more photos of this show, and others, go to www.jencray.com.