Saturday, July 9, 2016

HIM turn Freedom Hill into small, intimate venue

9-1-13 Originally published on Examiner.com

HIM at Freedom Hill 8-28-13

Wednesday night the Monster Energy Rock Allegiance Tour made a stop in Sterling Heights, Michigan as Airbourne, HIM and Volbeat took to the Freedom Hill stage for a night that showcased some of the best metal and rock that the world has to offer.
HIM onstage at Freedom Hill 8-28-13
HIM onstage at Freedom Hill 8-28-13
Tracy Heck
All That Remains is also on the Rock Allegiance Tour bill but had to cancel their set that night since their vocalist, Phil Labonte, was sick and could not perform.

Airbourne kicked the show off with a hard hitting set of their fist-pumping rock and Volbeat closed things out with a fiery set highlighted by newest member, Anthrax's Rob Caggiano and the clear enjoyment the rest of the band was getting out of playing with him.

HIM's set began as the lights dimmed and they took to the stage to the moody strains of "Unleash the Red", which is the first instrumental track off of their latest album, Tears On Tape.

They then kicked things off with the first single off of the album, "All Lips Go Blue".

The crowd was still a bit light but those who were there were loud and ready to support their favorite band, particularly since the band has not toured in the U.S. since 2010.

The band had to take some time off before heading back into the studio after leaving their label and having to wait for drummer Gas Lipstick (Mika Karppinen) to recover from nerve damage.

HIM was supposed to have a short run of dates back in May but had to cancel Tears On Tour after vocalist, Ville Valo, was diagnosed with severe asthma and pneumonia.

Any worries that the long time off and illnesses would affect the band's sound were quickly put to the rest on Wednesday night as HIM sounds tighter than they have in a long time and Valo's voice definitely sounds stronger.

HIM is kind of the odd man out on this tour as their melodic brand of metal is in sharp contrast with the rest of the heavy hitting metal acts but they have been managing to hold their own on most of the dates and Wednesday's show held an interesting, intimate feel to it despite the large amphitheater setting.

Valo acknowledged this as he spoke about them usually performing in clubs but that the setting sun in the background was kind of nice and different for them.

Valo has an electric stage presence and the rest of the band performs with such enthusiasm that you can't help but be drawn in.

The band's set list featured a number of tracks from Tears On Tape including the title track and a killer performance of new single "Into the Night".

The rest of the set did a nice job of touching on songs that span the band's career from early hits "Your Sweet Six Six Six", "It's All Tears" and "Join Me In Death" up to more current hits like "Wings of A Butterfly" and "Kiss of Dawn".

HIM pulled out their fantastic cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" and closed things out with the haunting fan favorite "Funeral of Hearts".

HIM Setlist:
Unleash the Red
All Lips Go Blue
Buried Alive By Love
Wings of a Butterfly
Right Here in My Arms
The Kiss of Dawn
Hearts at War
Join Me in Death
Your Sweet Six Six Six
Passion's Killing Floor
Tears on Tape
Wicked Game
It's All Tears
Soul on Fire
Into the Night
The Funeral of Hearts