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Ville ValoAmager Bio, Copenhagen, Denmark
30th April 2024
Ville Valo - European Tour 2024 - Support: Zetra

VILLE VALO is completing the ‘Neon Noir’ cycle with a massive world tour. Following the enthusiastically welcomed new album and the live tour in its favour, as well as a US tour with BLACK VEIL BRIDES, VV has a new batch of dates on offer, including the return of Valo’s legendary New Year’s Eve “Helldone Festival” on 31 December. In addition, VV will headline one of the most prestigious and revered music venues in the world: the Royal Albert Hall in London on 10 May 2024. I was lucky enough to report on a fabulous VV show in the lovely Scandinavian city of Copenhagen, and even on the night of Beltane. Let’s go on a little journey...


You haven’t heard of the name ZETRA yet? No problem, because what is not, can still be, and we are sure that the band name will be on your lips a little more often from now on because the mysterious duo is now under contract with Nuclear Blast Records. With their mixture of Gothic, Shoegaze and Synth Wave, the band has been making the scene unsafe since 2020 with several releases. From now on, the combo will be operating under a new roof, heralding the start of a new era: “The portal has opened. The darkness is calling. Absolution can only come through loss. A sacrifice must be made. ZETRA asks the question. Do you believe enough?”

Music & Performance
Opening the concert was ZETRA, a Gothic / Darkwave / Electro / Synth Rock duo from the UK. The band showed a captivatingly dark sound and atmosphere that perfectly complemented the evening. Their music evokes a storm of emotions and a wide variety of feelings. ZETRA’s set was relatively short and they left the stage to the applause of the audience. Do you feel my hunger. Will you bless my soul: ‘Sacrifice’ is definitely a Darkwave masterpiece, from the dark, philosophical lyrics, fuelled by soft vocals, to the gorgeously creepy video, some shots of which are reminiscent of the movie ‘The Call’ (it’s all about a mysterious well consuming a victim wrapped in steel chains).

zetra byIrynaKalenska11

It is this combination of melancholy, vulnerability, and horror that makes the band stand out and catch your attention. To be honest, I’m very impressed by the band’s work, so I watched all their videos in one breath. In my opinion, each video is like a work of art, in a dark style of course. And ‘Starfall’, where a beautiful girl dances in the rain, and again the chains, but here not as an act of enslavement, but as a freedom. Although at the end the girl is still imprisoned, all through the element of water. Such are ZETRA, catchers of souls. So, I sincerely recommend you to have a look at the setlist of the concert and the video works of the band in general.

01. Sacrifice
02. Starfall
03. Beauty Has Her Way
04. Sacred Song
05. Mirror
06. The Angel Cries
07. Call Of The Void

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 8.3 / 10

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Ville Valo

As the front man of Finnish Dark Rockers HIM (His Infernal Majesty), VILLE VALO became world famous in the late 1990s and early 2000s. HIM became a true idol for fans of the Gothic and Metal scene, making an outstanding start with the album ‘Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666’ and hits such as ‘When Love And Death Embrace’ and a Chris Isaak cover of ‘Wicked Game’. The story of HIM is the story of a wild romance. The Finnish band’s love turned music, unabashedly referred to its distinctive style as “Love Metal”, had its ups and downs, burned brightly - and eventually died out bit by bit. Drummer Gas Lipstick called it quits in 2015, the remaining members took a break in 2016 and in 2017 they also went their separate ways after a farewell tour. It was a divorce by mutual consent, the creative spark simply faded - an all too credible explanation after the mixed ‘Tears On Tape’ (2013). However, singer VILLE VALO is clearly not over his old flame and so his first solo album ‘Neon Noir’ sounds like a question that has been asked all too often in vain: “Shall we try again?” /

vv byIrynaKalenska62

Music & Performance  
Of all the ways to celebrate the Celtic holiday of the beginning of summer Beltane, I chose the most beautiful one, namely to make a reportage of the VV concert. This is my second VV concert within the “Neon Noir Tour”. A year ago, I was at his concert in Hamburg, but then the Icelandic Postpunk band KÆLAN MIKLA played as a warm-up act, and Ville’s mum and her friends came to the concert. And he greeted her warmly from the stage, which was very touching. This time in Copenhagen we managed to get accreditation and make an official photo report which was another special experience for me. After all, like most of my friends and acquaintances, I also grew up (fell in love, broke up) with HIM songs. Now I can only regret that for various reasons I was not able to attend HIM concerts in a full band. But I am also grateful for the circumstances in which I was able to experience Ville’s live performance and listen to both old and new songs. And I can say right away that those who stayed faithful to HIM even during their creative slumps (‘Deep Shadows And Brilliant Highlights’, ‘Tears On Tape’) will also enjoy ‘Neon Noir’.

vv byIrynaKalenska01

The session musicians accompanying Ville on the live shows did their job perfectly, providing a dynamic, heavy and clear sound. The setlist was of course carefully chosen and included all the fan favourites as well as new songs from ‘Neon Noir’. For me personally, the highlights of the show were ‘Join Me In Death’, ‘Buried Alive by Love’, ‘When Love and Death Embrace’, and I also really liked the dark, drifting song from the new album ‘Heartful of Ghosts’. The fans went crazy and caught every word Ville said, every gesture he made. By the way, he talked and joked a lot from the stage. Dressed in a black suit and a black cap, Valo sang heartily, seemingly with curiosity watching the fans, and smiled a lot. And it was when he was smiling that I thought this is the same Ville as 20 years ago. Ignoring the other music critics, I will say that his voice is still as velvety and he can still push his vocal cords to the limit.

vv byIrynaKalenska15

Songs like ‘Loveletting’ or ‘Baby Lacrimarium’ sound like old HIM compositions, and not just in name. HIM would probably also be proud of the rocking ‘Echolocate Your Love’, the energetic ‘The Foreverlost’ and the languid ‘Loveletting’. Though of course the sound has changed a lot, and instead of hard guitar riffs we now hear more of a combination of light electric and acoustic guitars, simple rhythms and pop keyboards, ‘Neon Noir’ contains all the trademarks that made VILLE VALO famous and adored by his fans. Though of course at heart I wish there were fewer Pop elements. After all, it was the darkness in the sound and in the songs that once brought HIM to the peak of their fame and the colossal success that keeps Ville afloat to this day. “I’m happy that there’s still seem to be people interested in what I do. So, the tour is looking really good and there’s a lot of gigs already being sold out. And then it’s nice to end in London, cause The Royal Albert Hall is a very special place”, comments Ville.

vv byIrynaKalenska47

After all, the upcoming concert in London is not just an upcoming performance. It will not only mark the end of the ‘Neon Noir’ touring cycle. It will also mark the end of VILLE VALO’s latest reincarnation. He also said: “The idea behind VV and ‘Neon Noir’ was to symbolically finish what HIM started, and after the bangs and whimpers at the Royal Albert Hall it’s time to reshuffle the pieces of the puzzle once again and give Herbert West a shout.” As for what might come next, well - that’s a mystery, for now. “I had no expectations whatsoever when releasing music under the banner of VV, so I’ve been quite shocked to see people still find my kind of racket enjoyable, warts and all. Touring has been way less painful than I dared to hope, and as we say in Finland, it fits my arse like a glove. A mourning glove from a bygone era.”

01. Neon Noir
02. Right Here in My Arms (HIM song)
03. Loveletting
04. Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly (HIM song)
05. Salute the Sanguine
06. The Kiss of Dawn (HIM song)
07. Run Away From the Sun
08. Buried Alive by Love (HIM song)
09. Heartful of Ghosts
10. Gone With the Sin (HIM song)
11. In Trenodia
12. Poison Girl (HIM song)
13. The Foreverlost
14. Join Me in Death (HIM song)
15. Echolocate Your Love
16. The Funeral of Hearts (HIM song)
17. Saturnine Saturnalia
18. Killing Loneliness (HIM song)
19. Baby Lacrimarium
20. When Love and Death Embrace (HIM song)

Music: 10
Performance: 10
Light: 7
Sound: 9
Total: 9 / 10

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All Pictures by Photographer Iryna Kalenska

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