HIM @ Artmania Rock Festival 2006

Love-metal band H.I.M., formerly known as His Infernal Majesty, headlined the first edition of the Artmania Festival that took place last weekend in Sibiu where Finnish art was the focus.

In a medieval city undergoing a complete renovation process, young rockers in their "uniforms" - black T-shirts, black jeans and for the bolder ones body-piercings - slowly began to appear last week, but it was not until Saturday that their number grew significantly, as this was the day most Finnish rock bands were set to perform, beginning with Carmen Gray and Silentium and ending with Amorphis and H.I.M. The fans followed their favorite bands to the places where interviews were carried out and gathered in great numbers to see them. With the beginning of the concerts, the fans started to gather in greater numbers, especially when Amorphis came on the stage.

H.I.M., comprised of Ville Hermanni Valo, Mige Amour, Linde, Gas Lipstick and Emerson Burton, prompted rock fans to gather from the narrow streets, nooks and corners of the city's old town and the terraces in the vicinity of the Great Square. In spite of the excellent reputation of the band, those present at the concert did not occupy even half the square. Several hundred fans without tickets waited permanently at the gates to the square but were not allowed entrance until after the show. Many of them complained that the price of tickets, 65 RON for the entire festival, was too high.

Although not in perfect form, the Finnish band managed to animate the public with hits such as "Join Me," "Heartache Every Moment," and "In Joy and in Sorrow." They also performed "Funeral of Hearts" and "The Sacrament" as well as two covers, Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man" and Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game," which were arranged in characteristic H.I.M. style and have been present for eleven years in the concert repertory of the band.

The H.I.M. concert lasted for about one and a half hours, but, surprisingly for such a concert, the public did not call the band for an encore. The band members announced the last three songs as being the last ones of the show and when the music ended, the public dispersed without recalling them on stage.

Another highlight of the festival was Amorphis, who showed that the voice is the most important element in a rock concert. After playing for an hour, Amorphis returned for an encore having offered a genuine rock recital.

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