Review on Download 2008
" State Magazine, roomthirteen.com "
Sunshine And Rare Covers - This Ain't No Normal H.I.M Show (Rated 11 out of 13)
An open stage in the summer with the sun still shining isn't the place you come to expect HIM to be playing. Renowned for their darkly melodic dose of melancholy, Ville Valo and co would certainly suit a tent atmosphere more but as the sun slowly and begrudgingly sets, the Finnish band take to a stage that seems to have been unceremoniously plonked in a car park.
Suitably clothed head to toe in black, Valo manages only some encouraging smiles and waves at the somewhat small crowd before the band launch into 'Passions Killing Floor'. With many people drawn to main headliner's The Offspring's set, it seems as if H.I.M have only hardened fans at their disposal which luckily they appear more than happy about. Cigarette continually in hand, Valo manages joke with the crowd over their enthusiasm, remarking how there's not been a single bottle of piss yet, something the H.I.M frontman remarks has not happened since the good old days of 2005. And fittingly this is H.I.M back in the good old days of 2005. From the quips with the crowd to their humbled attitude, the Finnish rockers put on a polished and enjoyable set that even sees the inclusion of their cover of 'Wicked Game' and 'The Kiss Of Dawn' all delivered in Valo hauntingly captivating voice.
Watched by die hard H.I.M fans there are of course the odd chants for the band, most notable is a woman's screech of "I love you Ville" that is met with a deep "thanks" from the singer before he jokingly dedicates 'Sleepwalking Past Hope' to her, much to the crowd's amusement. With 'Killing Loneliness' and 'The Funeral Of Hearts' getting an airing it is left to another cover to end the set. Having not played the track live for ten years its something of a special Download treat as Billy Idol's 'Rebel Yell' is given a dark make over courtesy of H.I.M, one that is done extremely well and adds a nice upbeat finale to a set that surprised many.
H.I.M live can at times be hit and miss and it's a shame that tonight's performance isn't caught by more people as when Valo and his gang pull it out of the bag, the effect is truly mesmerising.