With lines starting as early as 3 pm and running down several city blocks in two different directions, HIM was the show to see in St. Louis May 20th.
Virtually everyone in the audience was garbed in black, and the HIM ‘heartagram’ symbol, which adorned the majority of T-shirts and caps, now needs no description. This 80s throw-back, big guitar, darkwave band has evolved into a religion unto itself, with the evangelical Ville Vallo as its messianic leader. And why not? He’s got the charisma, gothic good looks, vocal pipes and lyrics to bring in plenty of converts to his congregation. The spooky stage set included chandeliers and a candelabra, with impressively creepy lighting to seal the deal.
Opening the show with “Soul on Fire,” the band then launched into “Vampire Heart,” a song that begins sounding like the track to a horror movie. Lacking his usual black brocade, Poe-like coat, Vallo nevertheless tantalized the sold-out crowd, especially with their fine cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game,” a haunting love song that fits this band to a T. Their big radio hit, “Wings of a Butterfly,” got the venue surging, followed by “Razorblade Kiss,” the sound of which suffered due to drowned-out vocals. “Poison Girl” showed off a John Bonham-worthy drum solo, followed by “The Sacrament” and a rousing encore. All in all, a fine show---however we wish they’d played more from the Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights albums. Can I get an Amen?!
Photo by Mary Parker, taken at the November 2005 Pageant show.