Gothic Rock & Roll would make a triumphant and long overdue visit to New York City as The 69 Eyes arrived on our shores for the very first time in their career as a band. Singer Jyrki69 has long been an admirer of the “New York Scene” and sounds from the seventies and eighties and from them formed the band that we are finally able to enjoy for ourselves. Hailing from Finland the guys in the group take a far different approach to their music and instead of blistering displays of Power Metal, have brought a more streetwise sound that has influence in the Rock greats of the past. The 69 Eyes have more in common with KISS and The New York Dolls than they do with Nightwish and Sonata Arctica and give the whole thing a dark monster movie feel. The scene for tonight would be the Bowery Ballroom and this great venue with its capacity of almost 600 was crowded but not over-packed. While I had hoped for sold-out status I still felt this was great for the band, as with the newest album “Devils” hitting our shores only recently it would still be a round of positives.Having reviewed the album and knowing a handful of numbers previously this would not be a night of confusion in terms of the material. I was happy to have the heads up advantage.
One of the openers for the show would be Island recording artist Damone, and I have to be honest that I felt this band has a lot for them. They are a high-energy Rock and Roll quartet that is led by singer/guitarist Noelle LaBlanc. As I watched their set I felt that Noelle in particular had a whole Joan Jett thing going for her and she is so moved by the Rock spirit that it shows in every song. They went over pretty well and I feel that it's safe to say that if Damone is opening your show that the audience will be pumped up. Damone's EP "Out Here All Night" is available now and something you should check out. Program The Dead also performed but I am sorry to say that I was too busy doing the press stuff to pay them any attention. Sorry guys, next time perhaps.
The 69 Eyes came out after a brief introduction by MTV's Bam Margera and while I admit to not being a viewer of his show it does not decrease the appreciation I have for his efforts to bands like HIM & The 69 Eyes. The band was onstage almost immediately and it was incredible. These Finnish Rockers surely know how to deliver in the live sense and leader Jyrki is an enigma by himself and perhaps one of the best I’ve seen in terms of stage presence. Decked out in his skeleton print leather jacket and black sunglasses he brings back a real classic Rock and Roll feel and totally feeds off of the energy of the audience. He has a lot of Jim Morrison and Elvis charisma with a sense of dark mystery mixed together. As a result my focus was largely on him as well as Jussi the drummer who is not only a pounder influenced by the likes of Tommy Lee and Rikki Rocket but plays with the strength and skill of John Bonham. As the guitarists Bazzi and Timo-Timo worked their magic I was able to take particular notice that a large part of the audience knew the lyrics to the songs as they were performed. The 69 Eyes have been around for awhile but only recently have we gotten any music of them, so these expensive imports somehow found themselves with the fans. I was also impressed in the fact that that you did not need to be an expert on the music or even have a remote clue of the band to find yourself into the show and jumping around as they performed. My photographer had only one or two songs as his point of reference and he loved them. Not easy to have that happen these days. There was also a lot more on the Gothic side in the audience than I had seen at recent H.I.M. shows, and this was expected for The 69 Eyes are indeed “The Helsinki Vampires” (their nickname) who truly come alive when the Sun goes down. The band set list for the night would be a comprehensive one that included a great amount of the new material as well as a number of hits from their other releases. While we only saw “Devils” released in the past few months, the band has actually been touring the record for a year and a half. As you watched them perform you could tell that the band was enjoying this performance as well and all night the fists were pumping and the audience jumping as tune after tune captivated them. This show would only be the third performance on this U.S. tour but if the previous two night and forthcoming shows are like this then the group will surely find a better foothold over here. “Lost Boys” would close the main set before the encores and Jyrki would say since that since they were playing in NYC that this would be appropriate for a song. The band then slammed through a Ramones cover of “I Just Wanna Have Something To Do” and this was a treat since it is not your typical hit from the catalog. The final number of the night would be perhaps one of the bands best tunes of them all the dramatic and moody “Brandon Lee”.
I think this is a band that will hold a lot more people in their thrall, and recommend the next time they announce dates that you get to a show and experience it for yourself. Don’t let mainstream radio be your guide to what is good and bad, instead let the music and spirit of adventure guide you. You stand to miss out otherwise and bands like The 69 Eyes are a surefire good time.
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Official Web Site: www.69eyes.com
Official Web Site: www.damone.net
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