VNV Nation had played another fabulous tour in North America, unlike many of the tour before were the focus had been classic hits like “Chrome”, this tour was the Empire/Automatic Tour. For those people who are not aware, this tour focused solely on songs from those albums. Ronan, who had made many jokes through out the night, had pointed this out and as a guide told the audience each and every song name so that no one felt as if they were not apart of the concert; because they had wanted to see more of their well known hits. However for many of the die-hard fans, hearing “Standing” or “Legion” was one of those moments of great happiness because they are songs that are not played to often. Although each album was not played in its full, the band had put the set list in a great order as to not only incorporate the key songs from each album but also allowed them to flow together seamless without it seeming choppy or like they were trying to compensate for the lack of popular hits.
I have seen now VNV Nation 3 times, and I must say that Ronan was by far more chatty and interactive in this venue rather than in the Mayan (Los Angeles). I enjoyed that he relentless pointed out fans that were using their camera with a flash on it or even telling fans that if they point their phones in front of other people’s face he will throw the phone. I agree with him, people live behind their phones to much as oppose to watching the show and allowing for Ronan’s vocals to immerse the audience and for that 2 hours, being apart of the music rather then apart of some piece of shit phone. It was nice that he was trying to take people out of the world for that short period of time, bringing them into his world where he made it a welcoming enviroment.
Ronan, as well as the band members put on a fantastic show. I know that he had said that the Vegas show did not go as well as he would have liked it too, but this show hopefully more than made up for the lack of energy from the audiences before. It seemed to me, that not only were the band very much into what they were playing, but the people in the audience were happy to be apart of the albums that were being played, even if they did not know the songs, Ronan did not leave them behind. Aside from the Goth girl hitting her fan in my sisters face, and mine the show was the best I have seen from them. Perhaps it was the smaller venue, the freedom of playing songs from albums that rarely get played, or what have you, but this was a show to have seen.
Skinny Puppy started their tour Down the Socio Path with Youth Code at the Hard Rock live on all Hallows eve this year. Youth code is a band that they have toured with before so it was not like they were uncomfortable or nervous to be opening for such a band. I would like to start off by saying that lead singer should not have told us that they were not going to be at their best because her band member hurt is back. They played just fine and none of us would have said a damn thing because there was nothing that needed to be said. I would to have know there was a difference. I feel like she discredited the bands talent by saying that to us. That being said, I feel strongly that to me she was the female Andrew W K with her all white outfit and that is not in the least bit an insult. He is one of the most charismatic musicians I have had the honor of seeing and she moved around the stage in a very similar fashion. Not only was the stage presence strong but they also played some new music that will be delightful to hear in its while when the time comes.
After Youth Code had finished their set Skinny Puppy came on. This is a much smaller stage then when I had seen them last and the fact that they could fit their entire set onto it was pretty amazing. They had said that it was going to be different then previous shows and when Ogre came out in a mask that looked like it was inspired from Pan's Labyrinths monster, it gave it a different kind of creepy feel. They had started the set off with Jayhla, a first performance of that song off of the album Process. As Ogre was getting started, he had strange areas in his suit for syringes to be placed in and a minotour man would come out and put the syringes into place cause blood to come out all over his suit. It looked as if he was the tin man and each time one was placed in and the blood would flow out it would bring him more and more to life. The theatrics that go into this show always reminds me of the best kind of musical theater. One that has the best kind of music along with the stage presence that is required to pull off such an elaborate set. It is not like every band can get up on stage with those kinds of lights, have those kinds of costumes and have a deliberate idea/concept and pull it off without coming off as cheesy. This is not a cheesy set in the least bit.
The set list was just flawless. There was such a wide variety of songs, played before and ones that were not that it is always nice to see a band that pays that much attention to what they are going play. Sometimes you can see a band more then once and they seem to keep the same songs in the set list even though they have a huge discography like this band. The only song that I saw a double of from the last time I reviewed them was Assimilate which I am happy with because it is one of my favorite songs. Plus with the things going on in our country, you know the ass hole Trump top of the polls having a song like that in the set list is a good way to keep people thinking specially when images of the American emblem is being played on the screen in the background.
Everything that this band does is very on point and done with not only delicacy but with a distinct idea that comes off very soundly. There is a reason that a band like this has last over 30 years of touring without losing there edge.