VNV Nation at Nokia Theatre

Ronan Harris of VNV Nation

Ronan Harris of VNV Nation

I have a very definite opinion about music. Mainly, that it should make you feel something, anything. This is clearly an opinion shared by the members of VNV Nation; the duo being the Irish born Ronan Harris and Mark Jackson of Great Britian. Together they’ve become the most popular creators of a music genre called “futurepop”. For them, it’s not about the money, the fame, or even the art of creating the music itself; it’s about how that art can make people feel and that’s exactly why they’ve been so successful. It also doesn’t hurt that they make music almost certain to get you moving; losing yourself you feel inspired by the hope that Ronan’s voice and lyrics bring.

Excitement for the show officially hit me when I finally found myself in front of the Nokia Theatre in good ol’ Times Sq. I had seen VNV for the first time almost 2 years ago and that experience had left me hungry for more. The venue was filled with Goths of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and attire interacting as if they were among family, because that’s just how this band brings people together. We were all eager for the main act but, alas, it was time for what I call the “fluffers” aka the opening acts. First up was Ayria, a Canadian band consisting of Jennifer Parkin (vocals), Mike Wimer (live electric drums), and Jeff M. (live keyboard). They were okay but I felt they could’ve been better. A couple of their songs did manage to get the crowd going though it seemed the rest of their songs were somewhat formulaic in their industrial sound.

Jennifer Parkin

Jennifer Parkin

Jeff M.

Jeff M.

Next was War Tapes. Ahh, War Tapes with their slightly 80s rock sound that induces thoughts of driving with the top down, Wayfarers on. Their sound is smooth and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed what they brought to the stage, especially as it was in preparation for the sort of show the headliner puts on. They’re an LA based band with Neil Popkin on vox and rhythm guitar, Matt Bennett on lead guitar, William Mohler on drums, and Becca Popkin (Neil’s sister) bringing up the rear as bassist. These guys were energetic i.e. all over the place and the crowd loved it. Neil definitely has the front man thing down pat and I was impressed by their overall ease on stage. I’m actually looking forward to seeing around for a long time, curious as to how they’ll grow. Be sure to check out “Always Falling” and “Dreaming of You”.

Neil Popkin of War Tapes

Neil Popkin of War Tapes

William Mohler

William Mohler

l-r: Matt, Neil, and Becca giving us what we want.

Anticipation was incredibly high by the time VNV took the stage. Naturally, they had to make a big production of their entrance, inciting us all into a frenzy. This despite the fact that going to a VNV show is more like partying with a few hundred of your closest friends, band members included. This is the North American leg of the “Faith, Power, and Glory” tour and this band isn’t one to entitle an album as such unless they plan to deliver those very things.

They opened with the new track, “Pro Victoria”, and that was the official beginning of a 2 hr. set that Ronan, himself, proclaimed to be the longest on this tour so far. It should be made clear that a VNV show is NOT one for spectators. In fact, it’s strictly verboten. Ronan and Mark will point to a whole section of attendees and demand that they dance/sing because, as they say, “this is YOUR show” which only serves to make each and every fan’s experience different yet unforgettable. Thankfully, the amazing beats of this EBM (electro-body music) make this sort of playful scolding rare.

Mark on Fire

Ronan, leading the charge

Ronan, leading the charge

Front row fans

Front row fans

Performed were the classics from their 10 yr. back-catalog such as “Further”, “Farthest Star”, and “Dark Angel” as well as the necessary few from the new album (“Sentinel” and “In Defiance”). Being as loved a city as we are, Ronan also decided to grace us with a song that had never been performed live but happened to be inspired by our very own Manhattan. The song was “Still Waters” and, even though he joked about being nervous and needing the lyrics in front of him, they still pulled it off with pinache. Certain songs like “Solitary” drove the crowd wild since they hadn’t been done in concert in 5 yrs! As for encores? Well, never let it be said that VNV Nation lets their fans down! Out came Joe Letz of Combichrist to join in on drums for several of these encores including the song “Nemesis”, a guaranteed crowd pleaser. And it was no surprise when the show was stopped mid-way through so that Ronan and Mark could autograph a loyal fan’s vinyl record; in typically humorous VNV style, it was signed with, “Sorry about last night, it’s never happened before”.

A memory made

A memory made

When it comes down to it, VNV Nation is a band that’s all about love. Love for the music, love for the fans, and love for the interaction between the artists and said fans. I have no doubt that, if all these things were unavailable, they wouldn’t bother doing what they do. So there’s a huge amount of gratitude us fans have for these individuals. After all, we brought the FAITH, through it had POWER, and together…created GLORY.


Links

Advertisements
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: