HIM + Biters at Roundhouse, London, UK – 17th December 2017

Posted by Bianca on Sunday Dec 17, 2017 Under Goth, Metal, Rock

Gig Review by Chloe Gynne with Photography by Marianne Brits-Strodl

When HIM announced earlier this year they would disband after a final tour, their decision wasn’t exactly met with surprise. It’s been 26 fruitful years, which saw the band go from a Finnish underground favourite to a global success.

HIM live at Roundhouse, London, 17 December 2017

Tonight, they fill the Roundhouse for the first of two nights in London, and their last ever in the UK. Fans fill the room long before Valo and co are due onstage- some of whom began queuing in the early hours for the occasion.

Based on the even response for each song, it would appear that the night has brought out fans of all ages. Older attendees cheer for the frenetic ‘Your Sweet Six Six Six’, from their debut album, while songs from ‘Dark Light’, released in 2005, bring the sing-alongs from a younger generation of fans.

HIM live at Roundhouse, London, 17 December 2017

HIM live at Roundhouse, London, 17 December 2017

The band, shrouded in darkness, perform in front of the ubiquitous Heartagram, a symbol as memorable as their music. It’s an obvious backdrop, and at times, the music feels obvious too- they rush through ‘Wings Of A Butterfly’, over rehearsed and too perfect, and it seems that they’re pleased they’ll be retiring that song in a few short weeks.

But most of the time, the band seems to rejoice in giving these songs one final air. Gothic ballad ‘How Beautiful You Are’ sees wry smiles plastered on the band, as fans swoon in response. Valo edges closer to the crowd for ‘Killing Loneliness’, swaying in unison with the crowd.

HIM live at Roundhouse, London, 17 December 2017

HIM live at Roundhouse, London, 17 December 2017

Indeed, it seems Valo himself acts as a fan for much of the show. During ‘Bleed Well’, he watches his band in awe as they power through the song, heavy and intricate. He gives a special mention to guitarist Linde, whose riffs reverberate around the circular room. It’s clear that this breakup is amicable, if not a little bittersweet.

At times, the audience sings louder than Valo, screaming the chorus to ‘Join Me In Death’ with intent. As the set draws towards its end, fans at the front quieten; for all of the night’s celebration, this is, ultimately, a sad affair.

HIM live at Roundhouse, London, 17 December 2017

But Valo eases them, before self-described “pretty little gloomy ditty” ‘The Funeral Of Hearts’. He jokes that bands that have hung around this long usually require a lawyer to talk, but it’s obvious that this isn’t the case for HIM. He ends, earnestly calling the night “a pleasure and an honour. Fans show their appreciation in the same way they have all night- with supportive screams and mass sing-alongs.

They’ll be playing the same venue once more in a couple of nights, and it seems likely that the barrier girls- whose arms reached out to their idols for the entire set, whose screams could be heard across the room- will be joining them for one final farewell. And then, they leave us for Finland, rightly ending the tour in the place where it all began. If tonight’s passion was anything to go by, it’ll be a farewell to remember.

HIM live at Roundhouse, London, 17 December 2017

Support tonight came from Biters.

Biters supporting HIM at Roundhouse, London, 17 December 2017

Biters supporting HIM at Roundhouse, London, 17 December 2017

See the complete photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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