Artist: The 69 Eyes
Venue: Gramercy Theatre (New York, NY)
Opener: Dommin, The Becoming
Label: The End Records
We had not heard from The Helsinki Vampires for a couple of years after they did a bunch of consecutive tours in the region and that made their return this evening all the more special since it found them anxiously delivering a hot new album for their acolytes with “Back In Blood”. The smoking CD has been generating a lot of positive buzz for the band and shows to be one of their best in years and one could hope with the tour for it that more people would be coming on board and giving them the support that they so richly deserve. Continuing the aspect of interesting support bands for their tours the band would bring along for this one The Becoming and Dommin who were each guaranteed to kick up the opening band task a few notches. I’ve managed to catch The 69 Eyes on every tour they have made to NYC over the years and I’ve always gotten a satisfying dose of Goth & Roll when they play and having caught and enjoyed what Dommin did when he opened up for The Birthday Massacre some months ago I made sure to be inside the venue early enough to see the whole night. Here is how the night transpired.
The Becoming: The saying of there is a first time for everything is always true when it comes to seeing new bands and often when it is applied to this particular scenario it can be something really, really cool. The Becoming hail from Austin, TX and are signed to Tooth & Nail Records. Their sound is a powerful Gothic Rock type of thing and they totally handled the show as it were one of their own and not only the first group up on the stage. They had a cool look to them as well and singer Caleb Owens was one to watch during the set. I had not heard their music before the show, but noticed that they were selling a CD entitled “Vol. I” to anyone who had interest in learning more after they had finished. I enjoyed what they were doing and also found guitarist Dustinn and bassist Kory giving the audience their all. It was different stuff from what we would get later from The 69 Eyes but it surely worked within the framework of their sound and made them a great choice for the tour. When they finished I was certain that a whole lot of people were going to be following The Becoming. Dommin was up next.
Dommin: I had the chance to catch Dommin several months ago when the band was opening up for The Birthday Massacre. It was a good time to say the least and I was immediately impressed with this new signing to Roadrunner Records based on the bands somber Gothic tone and laid on thick levels of melancholy. They are led and fronted by Kris Dommin who plays guitar and sings and the group has a classy style in terms of how they are dressed and when you tie all of this together with their dramatic sound you get something special. Since that last go round the band had released a special EP with four songs to tie the fans over until their label debut release comes out. Originally the EP was only available at Hot Topic outlets but the band has it on tour with them, and I have seen it on sale at Amazon.com since that time. Tonight the band would pretty much play the same exact set as they did with TBM with the exception of their own rendition of Cutting Crew’s “I Just Died (In Your Arms Tonight). At the last show they did “People Are People” by Depeche Mode. It was interesting to hear their versions of these classic eighties New Wave numbers and having them display a solemn Gothic vibe and one has to wonder if they will be delivered on their album when it comes out in 2010. I do enjoy their signature tune “My Heart, Your Hands” quite a bit and this and three other tracks are on the EP which I made sure to pick up at the show. If you like a sense of sorrow and regret and other angst ridden things in your music then you should find some appeal in the likes of Dommin. He and the guys do a really good job and I would totally see them again if the chance arises. Now it was time for The 69 Eyes to own the night in the Big Apple and I could hardly wait.
The 69 Eyes: The 69 Eyes were truly enjoying the reception to the new album because it was a return to the Gothic Rock greatness that their fans enjoyed so much on releases like “Blessed Be” and “Devils”. It was proving more popular than their last effort “Angels” and when compared track to track to it, this “Back In Blood” offering was clearly much better from end to end. The band came out with a great level of energy and it’s safe to say that they hold New York City as a very special place to their own history. They formed their own thing in the roots of what made the New York scene back in the late seventies and eighties so special for Rock and Roll and then added love of horror, comic books and science fiction to the mix to give us what we enjoy again and again with their music. The night started with the intro tape of “Cry Little Sister” from the “Lost Boys” vampire film and from there it was a drop kick of rock with the new album’s title track “Back In Blood”. The new song sounded even better live than it did on recording and showed that the group means business with this one even more than they had ever meant before. They would be wise with the set list composition and not just do a bunch of new tunes in a row but instead mix and match as the night progressed. We got “Never Say Die” from the last album and that was always one of the efforts strongest offerings but the larger core of the set would come from the new album with a total of seven numbers coming from it. Having seen the band on every visit to the city I really didn’t mind the delivery of so many new tunes and it was half based on my love and belief in the new release as much as it was my need to hear them mix it up a bit from what they had been doing. I felt that “Gothic Girl” came up a little early but totally expected it to be a part of the night’s music. Let’s face it, there are certain numbers that The 69 Eyes cannot leave out of the set list and this is one of them.
Everyone sounded great in the band and was playing up to the attention that the audience was bestowing on them quite a bit. Even though Mr. Jyrki is the front man with the plan, guitarists Timo Timo and Bazie were right up in the crowd’s faces and tossing signature logo guitar picks out to their eager hands to snap up. From behind the sleek drum kit Jussi 69 was really hammering at the skins and getting those who caught his gaze all the more worked up. He is a solid drummer and I enjoy watching his playing style. Jyrki is always talkative to the crowd but tonight he would not do as much of this as I had been accustomed to. Yes he was thankful and talked about the new recording and how the band loved New York City but he would keep his banter quick and easy and instead focus on the musical task at hand. That’s ok, because it’s nice to find a totally different presentation every once in awhile. He did announce that “Dead N Gone” would be the bands next single and while I felt that “Kiss Me Undead” would have been the better choice it was still cool to find them really pushing this new music. A couple of my own favorites came up when they slammed out “Devils”, “Brandon Lee” and “Lost Boys” I had thought that we were pretty close to finishing up the night but I would be wrong. Earlier in the night I had noticed that Ronnie Sweetheart, lead singer of The Throbs was in attendance and there was a rumor that he might come up onstage with the band. J69 mentioned that we should all listen to the band but sadly Ronnie would not come down from where he was hanging around and that was a shame because the guys jumped right into the KISS classic “Deuce”. The band newer fans might not realize this, but they did record this song many years ago and it can be found on their “Motor City Resurrection” CD which was originally released in 1994. It was a seriously rousing way to finish a set of music and no one seemed disappointed tonight.
All in all I would have to say that tonight was probably the best that I had ever seen and heard from the band. There was nothing uneven about the roster of bands on the tour and not only did everyone perform to the best of their ability, but there was also a great level of electricity from the moment the night began until it ended. The 69 Eyes even did a meet and greet prior to the doors opening and this allowed a number of people who purchased the special ticket the chance to mingle with the guys for a little while and get some things signed. I really had a fun time and was happy to be taking part in the whole experience that the vampires had served up. One can only hope that this tour will have a second go round and that they get to spend a little more time in NYC.
Full The 69 Eyes Photo Gallery: http://piercingmetal.com/the-69-eyes-live-photos-gramercy-theatre-10202009/
Dommin Set List:
2. My Heart, Your Hands
4. Dark Holiday
5. (I Just) Died In Your Arms
6. One Feeling
7. Without End
The 69 Eyes Set List:
1. Cry Little Sister (intro)
2. Back In Blood
3. Never Say Die
4. Lips Of Blood
5. Gothic Girl
6. Suspiria Snow White
7. Dance d’Amour
8. Dead n’ Gone
9. Perfect Skin
11. Feel Berlin
12. Kiss Me Undead
13. Betty Blue
14. Dead Girls Are Easy
16. Brandon Lee – encore
17. Lost Boys – encore
18. Deuce – finale
Now that you have enjoyed the concert report, please enjoy some of the after show festivity that took place as the bands friends and fans mingled with them until the dawn sent them all back to their crypts and onto the next stop on the tour.
Among the many other creatures of the New York City night that came out to see The 69 Eyes we found Ronnie Sweetheart who sang for The Throbs and right next to him is the one and only Queen Vixen of The Cycle Sluts From Hell. These two have been friends with the Helsinki Vampires for years and are often seen when the band comes into town to bring us music.
It was cool to meet Ronnie as he was a pretty awesome dude to talk to and he asked for this shot to be taken of The Gothic Hangman, and a lovely Finnish Lass who they call Filthy Diamond. The Gothic Hangman is an artist who does some really interesting stuff which you can feast your eyes on and research a little deeper into by clicking HERE. Just leave the light on when you do so as we are not responsible for your safety after you leave PiercingMetal HQ. The Finnish Lass hated the brightness of my camera flash so much she borrowed the Piercing shades for a moment. I must say that they look smashing on her.
The band had finished decompressing after the show and soon came out to see their friends. The photo above shows another friend of the band in Gia Genocide and once again Mr. Sweetheart. We also see Jyrki 69, Queen Vixen and Jussi 69 who is always camera shy as you can see here. Jyrki’s sporting of The Throbs t-shirt is bound to send some of his young vampire legions out to search for music from the band. You can’t buy press like this. If you feel like entertaining your auditory sensors with some music of The Throbs to learn why they are so important to Jyrki, feel free to order a copy of their album Language of Thieves & Vagabonds. I am also sure that after seeing so many photos of ladies like Queen Vixen and Vas Kallas in these narratives of mine that you are super curious as to what in the world the Cycle Sluts From Hell were all about; so if you are also having a problem with some surplus cash that needs a home, perhaps you can order a copy of their sole recording Cycle Sluts from Hell and educate your brain.
When he had the chance Mr. 69 asked me to snap this shot of him and Ronnie. He was insistent that I had missed the logo that his own shirt prominently displayed but I told him that I would not have missed that on him and managed to do what he required of me. Singers, there is no arguing with them…they always find ways to be right even when they are not 🙂 After snapping this one I made a quick exit and left the band to spend some quality time with their friends. The bus would be leaving in a few hours for the next stop on the tour so they did not have a lot of time to bond. I am sure that they will come back and I was happy to be there for them again.
Of course actually leaving takes forever when there are a bunch of people to say “ciao” to and before I did Jyrki 69 took my camera to try his own hand at being one of the Metal Photographic Scribes. He insisted on taking a shot of drummer Jussi and me which I quickly allowed with no argument. It’s not wise to have a conflicting opinion with the King of the Goth ‘n Roll vampires after all.
PiercingMetal.com adventured with The 69 Eyes when they came to town for an exclusive fan and media listening party at the Arrow Bar on the Lower East Side. Sink your sharpened fangs into that story HERE.