April 13th, 2023

Dance the Neon Noir with me: VV live @ Varsity Theater

I have very few things in life that I really, really love. A beautiful sunny and 75º spring day, a nice chocolate cake doughnut, photography and my favorite singer, Ville Valo.

On April 11th, 2023, I got to enjoy all of those things.

After an excruciating day of standing and sitting on the still salt laden concrete outside Varsity theater, taking a few portraits of Juho the bassist and Mikko the guitarist (who we see here clearly sold out the show) holding a spot so I could be first one in to the show with my 
rag tag group of miscreant goth kids, we rushed in, pushing ourselves against the barricade.

A brief wave of melancholy washed over me knowing I wasn’t in the pit 
with my usual cache of camera gear, armed only with an 8 year old point and shoot I had rented for the night. After adjusting to the dim lights of the venue, I eagerly awaited
 the show to begin. Ever since I started doing photography 12 years ago, photographing HIM was a bucket lister, and when HIM disbanded, my dream went out with a bang and a wimper. On top of the last 3 years, between my wedding photography career going up in flames due to the pandemic uncertainty, I really never thought this was gonna happen. I thought I would spend the rest of my days behind a keyboard logging bugs for Call of Duty.

Even though this blog is about VV, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk briefly about the enigmatic and haunting tones of the opening act, Kælan Mikla. Imagine
 if Bjork had three daughters who grew up only on The Cure and Darkwave pop. Please go check them out too!

As the venue darkened and the whirring of a cassette in a rapid rewind filled the air, as the soft glow of pink light engulfed the crowd that was already at a feverish pitch.

As VV’s band, Juho, Mikko, Sampo and Rikala greeted the electric Minneapolis crowd,
all eyes met the tall, silhouette of Ville Valo, raising a thermos to the crowd before the electric hum of Echolocate your love’s synth rung out before the crack of the drums and the crowd let it all out.

It had been 10 years since Ville had been in Minnesota and we let him hear it. The out pouring of love in all forms, from heart hands, rock horns, to paintings passed up through the crowd to Ville. The energy in the room was probably exceedingly confusing for all those not indoctrinated in the church of Love Metal.

The shows format switched back and forth between Classic HIM and the new VV songs, that flowed perfectly, and the new band showed they can fill the big boots of the former HIM members.

Some favorites of mine were the always haunting “When Love and death embrace”, the pained furry of “Soul on fire”, the charming macabre of “The Foreverlost”, and dirgeful tones of “Run Away from the Sun”, the lovelorn ballad of “Baby Lacrimarium”, the poetic symphony of the Tour title “Neon Noir” placed lovingly in the casket of “Vertigo Eyes” to end the night.

As Zener Solitare again rang its discordant harmony through The Varsity theater. large heartagrams swirling on the wall and the stage awash in red and blue light, soaked in sweat and ears ringing. We walked into the crisp Dinky town air, feeling the night in our knees much more than our last outing in 2008. We hummed the tunes of the black clad piper from Finlands as we walked back to our car, as the loyal fans of Ville waited outside his bus to see him one last time. We drove off, and to make one last call back “Into the night”. 

Check out the amazing opening band, Kælan Mikla

Check out the goth icon VV’s music @

Thank you for indulging (or enduring) me dear readers.

Good night.

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