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69eyes introGloria Theater, Cologne, Germany
29th April 2016
The 69 Eyes & The Ghost Wolves

April 22 and April 29, 2016 – these two dates must have been marked and highlighted in the mental, electronic, or actual, old school calendars of countless German Goth rockers. The first special day was obviously the long-awaited release date of ‘Universal Monsters’, the eleventh studio album by the iconic THE 69 EYES from Helsinki, Finland. And the second one, exactly one week later, was the night we would get to hear and see the vampires live on stage at the Gloria Theater in Cologne. With its red velvet wallpapers and a stage framed by red curtains, the venue seemed like a perfect location for a musical evening with THE EYES. Gathering with the other fans in front the stage made me realize how buzzy the atmosphere was as we waited for the Scandinavian rockers to show up and bring their timeless melodies upon us. Their huge black backdrop banner with the white THE 69 EYES logo was hanging behind the drums like a firm promise for an undeniably amazing Goth'n'Roll show, which would be worth the wait since we encircled that special day in our calendars. And indeed, Jyrki & Co. didn't just meet, but actually exceeded all expectations. Many, many thanks for your music and the show, you guys!


The Ghost Wolves

THE GHOST WOLVES is a dynamic duo from Austin, Texas: Carley “Carazy” Wolf on guitar and  in front of the mike and Jonathan “Little Hammer” Wolf on drums and doing some backing vocals. This summer, they're going to release their second album entitled ‘TEXA$ PLATINUM’ via the German label Hound Gawd! Records. On it we'll get to hear fourteen genre bending tracks based on a one string guitar and minimalist drums. THE WOLVES aren't just great musicians who have created their very own version of Rock'n'Roll including some Punk Rock, Blues, Pop, Noise, and Death Western, but they also have a great sense of humour. According to their Facebook profile, they're playing “songs the lord taught [them]” and describe their sound as a meet up of “THE CRAMPS from the crypt” and THE RAMONES under the influence of “all the cocaine Hasil Adkins left on the floor.” Those who are into Rock'n'Roll, Country, Blues, Rockabilly, or Psychobilly, know the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist HASIL ADKINS well for his unusual one-man band performances. http://www.theghostwolves.com / https://www.facebook.com/TheGhostWolves

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Music & Performance
One has to say that Carley and Jonathan were quite an unusual special guest for this “Universal Monsters Tour” making one rather think of vocalist Jyrki's Rockabilly side project THE 69 CATS. As Jyrki 69 has recently told us in an interview, THE 69 EYES had been supported by “similar sounding bands” in the past and that's why he was quite excited to “bring along one of his favourite bands this time” for a change. The two musicians Carazy and Little Hammer kicked ass putting on an energetic show with their ruthlessly raw Western bar tunes. Shortly before eight o'clock, the Gloria stage was drowned in red lights and the duo from Texas, both wearing a black hat, hit the stage. On a long stake there was also a white wolf mask with a wild mane grinning at the audience with its bared fangs. From the very first song, the Southern rock tune ‘Gonna Live’ from their album ‘Man, Woman, Beast’, THE GHOST WOLVES put the petal to the metal. The cheerful vocalist dressed in a white, sparkling top and white leggings was a high-spirited whirlwind sweeping across the stage with her cowboy boots – also in white.

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Carazy shouted out “I got that dangerous moves!” and rocked out with her guitar, shock her blonde hair, sang at the top of her lungs in her higher registers, and interacted with an interested audience. Even though, most 69 EYES fans seemed like they haven't heard of THE WOLVES before, Carazy succeeded in making the dark clad Cologne crowd join her in singing along “Grandma's a rebel, raised by the devil!” during ‘Shotgun, Pistol Grip’, while smiling Jonathan kept on bashing the drums with vigour shaking his “Frodo” curls. Finally, THE GHOST WOLVES thanked their “fans from Finland” for having them on the tour and played their final song ‘Journey On’. After about half an hour their quirky Rock show was over and someone behind me asked in disbelief: “What? That's it?!” Yes, indeed, it's been slightly less than 30 minutes of fast-pasted wolven Rock'n'Roll, balls to the wall, which made some of the audience listen attentively, while others shook their hips. But all of them gave the Texan wolves a big hand and then it was time for the break and a soundcheck while we were waiting for the Scandinavian vampires to come out on that Friday night.

Setlist
01. Gonna Live
02. Fast 
03. Dangerous Moves
04. All The Good’s Gone
05. Attack Attack Attack
06. Cry Babies Go Home
07. Shotgun, Pistol Grip
08. Journey On

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 7 / 10

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The 69 Eyes

The one and only 69 EYES from Helsinki, Finland, are of course Jyrki 69 (vocals), Jussi 69 (drums), Timo-Timo (guitar), Bazie (guitar), and Archzie (bass). After numerous performances in local clubs THE 69 EYES got a contract with the Finnish underground label Gaga Goodies and released their debut ‘Bump’n’Grind’ in 1992. Three albums later, they switched to Roadrunner Records and took the Finnish single charts by storm with their record ‘Wasting the Dawn’ and the same-named single, on which fellow countryman Ville Valo (HIM) contributed some barking vocals. What followed was an extensive tour through Europe, a gig at the M’era Luna festival, and supporting bands such as PARADISE LOST. About 25 years later, our beloved “Helsinki Vampires” can look back on by now elven studio albums as well as various live, best-of, and re-mastered releases. With such a legacy in their hands they haven’t just managed to survive as a band, but also to constantly reinvent their unique version of Goth’n’Roll. Last April, in 2015, THE EYES released a Best-Of collection (‘The Best Of Helsinki Vampires’), and this April, just one week before the gig in Cologne, their eleventh opus called ‘Universal Monsters’ was unleashed on the world. http://www.69eyes.com / https://www.facebook.com/the69eyes 

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Music & Performance
Sharp at nine o'clock the chanson ‘Exodus’ by EDITH PIAF resounded as a dramatic intro. It suited the classy theatre ambience of the reddish and velvety Gloria and build up some tension until the long awaited Helsinki vampires graced the stage one by one. With the smasher ‘Devils’ they got a true Goth Rock party started. The entire Theater started to clap and sing along, nod their heads, tap their feet, and dance in step with Jyrki, Jussi, Timo-Timo), Bazie, and Archzie. THE 69 EYES were back – as usual in black and in leather, Jyrki wearing his usual sunglasses and an unusual newsboy cap, and ripped Jussi as usual shirtless behind his drums. As expected, the band was in perfect shape; they are masters of their instruments and vocal chords and played with the greatest of ease showing a joy of making music together as a live band and together with and for the fans, without needing many words. THE 69 EYES let their gloomy glam tunes speak for themselves and the crystal clear sound in the Gloria made it indeed a memorable musical evening.

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The show was a dance down memory lane all the way across a quarter-century long band history together with our favourite monsters, THE 69 EYES. The setlist was best of the best as they presented 17 timeless songs from their Goth'n'Roll repertoire covering seven albums, namely ‘Wasting the Dawn’ (1999), ‘Blessed Be’ (2000), ‘Paris Kills’ (2002), ‘Devils’ (2004), ‘Angles’ (2007), ‘X’ (2012), and the latest ‘Universal Monsters’ (2016). After the opener ‘Devils’, the band  headed straight for one of their current singles, ‘Jet Fighter Plane’, and the crowd already knew the lines to sing along this Cold War tune. Later on, there would also be a celebration of the other single  ‘Dolce Vita’ during which the fans danced, raised their hands, and screamed along the catchy chorus. Finally, this Finns chose French themed and fast-pasted ‘Miss Pastis’ from the new album and I have to say that particularly live this song was real fun because of its riff and drive. THE EYES raised the roof with ‘Miss Pastis’ as Jussi went wild on the drums while Bazie, Timo-Timo, and Archzie rocked out with their guitars and bass next to the singing Jyrki who was dancing all across the stage. “Salut! Ça va?” This Friday night at the Gloria everyone had a great time. There were vibes of energy on and in front of the stage.

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Jyrki introduced the beautiful song ‘Betty Blue’ from the album ‘Paris Kills’ (2002) with the words “Let's go back to Paris!” Archzie and Bazie joined him once again in the backing vocals during the wonderful chorus about running away and blue eyes. One highlight followed the other, for example, when Bazie started to play the iconic and melancholic first guitar notes of the next song, ‘Gothic Girl’. And also the following song ‘Tonight’, the only one to be performed from ‘X’, was another treat for our ears with its typical melancholic verses bursting into a chorus that simply calls for feet and knees to bob up and down while hands, fists, and horns are raised in the air: “Tonight! The world is not enough/ Tonight! We wanna reach the Heaven above!” Further pure Goth'n'Roll smashers were ‘Angel on my Shoulder’ from ‘Blessed Be’, ‘Never Say Die’ from the ‘Angels’ album, ‘Feel Berlin’ from ‘Devils’, THE 69 EYES' version of ‘I Just Want To Have Something To Do’ by THE RAMONES, and of course the encore song ‘Lost Boys’.

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Next to the rocking stompers just mentioned, the set was enriched with quite a few expressive tunes full of atmosphere. THE 69 EYES created soulful moments by sharing with us their melodic gem ‘Sister of Charity’ from ‘Devils’, the doomy hit single ‘Wasting the Dawn’ from the same-named album back from 1999, and three amazing tracks from ‘Blessed Be’ which all dark hearts would die for: the sombre ‘Sleeping with Lions’, the powerful ‘The Chair’, and the all-time favourite ‘Brandon Lee’. During these magical tracks many Gothic girls and Brandon Lees in the audience raised their arms and swayed their hips in slow motion singling along with emotion. Jyrki's vocals were stunning at all times and when he sang the chorus of ‘Sleeping with Lions’ he folded his hands to rest his inclined head on them. Finally, everyone recognized ‘Brandon Lee’ when its unmistakable guitar intro resounded and so the Helsinki Vampires concluded the set with their “The Crow” tune.

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Obviously, there was a hurricane of applause which brought THE EYES right back on stage for an encore and drummer Jussi challenged the audience to make some noise. No idea, if the crowd in the capital would succeed in being even louder the next evening, but what's for sure is that the “Universal Monsters” shows must be have been a blast at any city that THE 69 EYES played. After playing some RAMONES the band presented a final gloomy love song, ‘Dance D’Amour’, and lastly, the classic vampire hit ‘Lost Boys’ during which the Cologne crowd went nuts one last time. On the whole, the fans could enjoy some incredible THE 69 EYES live music that went straight to our hearts and made us shake a leg. If you're into some original, melancholic and at the same time rocking dark Rock you better don't miss this well attuned combo from Finland next time they're on the road again! You should also check out the Gloria some time in case you've never been to this great venue in the south of the historic district of Cologne.

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After the gig, at the merchandise, some of the already perfectly happy fans were beyond happy to get the chance of meeting the timeless and “Universal Monsters” in person and were thankful for the vampires' patience and kindness.

Setlist
01. Devils
02. Jet Fighter Plane
03. Betty Blue
04. Gothic Girl
05. Tonight
06. Sister of Charity
07. Angel on my Shoulder
08. Dolce Vita
09. Sleeping with Lions
10. Miss Pastis
11. Wasting the Dawn
12. Feel Berlin
13. The Chair
14. Never Say Die
15. Brandon Lee
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16. I Just Want to Have Something to Do (RAMONES Cover)
17. Dance D’Amour
18. Lost Boys

Rating
Music: 10
Performance: 9
Sound: 10
Light: 9
Total: 9.5 / 10

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All pictures by Layla Ayobi


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