Show Review: VV (Ville Valo) at the Hard Rock Casino of Northwest Indiana in Gary, IN

A legend in his own right and one of the original goth rock gods, Ville Valo is now venturing out on his own fully post-HIM to spread his goth rock anthems to every corner of the globe including Gary’s landmark Hard Rock Casino. Best known as the charismatic and iconic frontman of Finnish goth rock giants, H.I.M., Ville Valo is not only one of the most recognizable names and faces in his home country, but known all around the world for both his time with H.I.M. and as a solo musician. VV has been releasing solo music since 2007, along with collaborations with acts like Agents, the 69 Eyes, and Apocalyptica, VV would return to H.I.M. for two more studio albums before officially disbanding in 2017. It wasn’t until now that Ville Valo would find himself emerging completely 100% on his own releasing his very first full-length solo project, the dark, brooding, electronics-leaning ‘Neon Noir’ under the newly rebranded name of VV.

I was excited to once again catch Ville Valo making this feel like a full circle moment for myself as I was lucky enough to both see and cover H.I.M. on their final tour back in 2017, so to be able to now cover VV as a solo artist made me feel at home. When musicians do solo records, it can often be worlds different in sound and aesthetic, sometimes making it difficult to try and bridge fans over from one fan base to the next. Not only that, but solo records are also solo records for a reason. They’re holistically separate entities from the main band, therefore it shouldn’t be surprising if there are some differences and deviations in style and sound. VV has managed to craft his own new sound, while also sticking to his already established signature goth rock style walking the tight wire perfectly of making darkness sound and look sexy, rather than scary.

In the same vein, as Typo O Negative and, of course, H.I.M., VV creates hard-hitting rock music that reads like a story or a ballad focusing especially on relationships and love. Carrying that same high-quality songwriting and charisma over from previous projects, Ville Valo channels the perfect combination of goth, metal, glam, and emo into his new music. Similar to H.I.M., VV kicks off his solo adventure at the right place at the right time as everything dark and goth is experiencing a huge explosion among listeners and young fans.

A sound and set dripped in H.I.M. nostalgia, VV performed his best solo songs while mixing in fan favorites from the H.I.M. years which I thought was really cool. Rather than ignoring that part of his life, VV wears it proudly (as he should) performing tracks like Poison Girl, The Funeral of Hearts, Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly, and more, VV crafted a live experience that feels almost like an epilogue to H.I.M. It provides fans who may not have seen H.I.M., the opportunity to see some of their favorite tracks performed by the man himself. As the giant Heartagram on the stage lit up, the crowd roared with excitement as the legend, not walked, but strode out maneuvering the stage with confidence and ease as though he never left it. As the reverbed and distorted guitars hit with a somber heaviness, VV let loose as he hit each note with grace and fortitude all while having fun. Strutting around stage, engaging, and bantering with audience members, VV’s performance felt as interpersonal as possible, almost as if he was giving each audience member their own private concert.

It can be tough and challenging to become a solo artist coming from a widely successful band, but, overall, Ville Valo is off to an incredible start ensuring that he doesn’t just fade away after H.I.M. hanging it up. Rather, VV challenges himself personally and as an artist while showing the world he can continue on beyond H.I.M. No matter how long VV lasts or if he decides to start a new solo project or collaboration, the future is bright and wide open for Valo.

VV

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