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  • Tracy Heck

Ville Valo enthralls in Detroit

Thursday night in Detroit found former HIM frontman Ville Valo returning to the stage at Saint Andrews Hall for the first time since HIM's farewell tour in 2017.

Touring behind his first solo album release Neon Noir, Valo was clearly having a blast and enjoying the enthusiastic response from the packed crowd towards not only the HIM live staples, but the new tracks as well.

The set was well balanced, alternating between a newer track and a classic HIM track so that both new and longtime fans left satisfied.

The show was opened by Icelandic cold wave trio Kaelan Mikla before Valo hit the stage in a black suit, black cap and Converse shoes to the strains of Neon Noir instrumental track "Zener Solitaire" and the new modified heartagram background featuring a VV at its core.

Flanked by a fantastic band of Finnish musicians including guitarist Mikko Virta, guitarist Sampo Sundstrom, bassist Juho Vehmanen and drummer Risto Rikala, Valo kicked the set off with the first track from his new album, "Echolocate Your Love" before launching into popular HIM ballad "Funeral of Hearts."

As the set moved on, HIM staples like " Buried Alive By Love," "Join Me in Death" and "Wings of a Butterfly" perfectly complemented new favorites like "Neon Noir," In Trenodia" and "Foreverlost."

Although quiet through much of the set, Valo continuously interacted with the crowd smiling, flirting and laughing in between showcasing his versatile voice, swaying along to the songs and joking with the band.

He did take a few moments to thank the audience for "choosing rock over sports" since much of Detroit was celebrating the Detroit Tigers' Opening Day downtown and later he went on to introduce the band.

They closed things out with the haunting HIM classic "When Love and Death Embrace" before returning for a four-song encore of "Soul On Fire," "Salute the Sanguine," "Poison Girl" and "Saturnine Saturnalia."

Looking good and sounding great, Valo more than lived up to the fan's high expectations, bringing a high sense of nostalgia while showcasing his present and his new path for the future.

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