Europe is slowly but surely recovering from the pandemic and it seems like the moment when we can go to gigs again is beginning to draw near. The longer the waiting has been, the harder it became, and the more we cherished the opportunity to watch online concerts from our favorite bands. On 26 June 2020, Gothic rock fans rejoiced because the legendary THE 69 EYES, A.K.A. the Helsinki Vampires, organized a live streamed show at Kulttuuritalo to celebrate the band’s 30th anniversary.
The streaming started at 20:00 sharp with a funny greeting from the host who referred to us as, “Blood-sucking creatures of the darkness” – the most charming and accurate title I’ve ever received. This intro speech definitely helped us set ourselves up for the show. The online black sabbath started with “Two Horns Up” from the latest THE 69 EYES album, “West End.” The song was recorded in collaboration with Dani Filth from Cradle of Filth; naturally, Dani wasn’t around during this gig, but “Two Horns Up” sounded great nevertheless.
It was clear from the beginning that the gig organizers from Sunborn Live had put a lot of effort into providing a great quality stream. Multiple cameras showed the band from various angles and different distances and the cold blue and violet stage lights were a perfect fit. The next song to follow was “Never Say Die” and it was obvious that vocalist Jyrki 69, drummer Jussi 69, guitarists Bazie and Timo-Timo, and bassist Archzie were in a great mood and enjoyed the opportunity to perform again. They were not just playing a live gig to compensate for the shows that didn’t happen because of quarantine – they took online shows to a whole new level. It’s also worth taking a moment to appreciate that, despite the summer heat that suddenly came to Finnish capital, accompanied by bright sunlight, almost all of the THE 69 EYES members were wearing leather clothes, which is a crucial part of their image. The only exception was Jussi 69, who moved so actively during the gig that wearing leather would likely be torture for him.
The next song we heard was “Black Orchid,” which is also from “West End.” According to Jyrki 69, “Black Orchid” is the most straightforward Gothic rock song on the album and we definitely agree. This tune was reminiscent of early THE 69 EYES albums and sounded melancholic yet energizing at the same time. The party continued with timeless smashing hits such as “Perfect Skin,” “Betty Blue,” and “Sister of Charity.” Without taking any pause, THE 69 EYES continued with “Cheyenna” – another song from the newest album that has become a fan favorite. It also gave an opportunity for lead guitarist Bazie to play a beautiful solo.
The next to follow was the anthem that celebrates pale white skin and Egyptian tattoos, “Gothic Girl.” The band continued the decadence-related topic in “27 & Done.” After playing “Brandon Lee,” there was time for a very short pause and THE 69 EYES‘ singer, Jyrki 69, used an opportunity to say a few words about the concert venue, Kulttuuritalo, and mentioned that the band was very proud to hold their anniversary show there. Afterwards, the Helsinki Vampires gave us “Framed in Blood,” which provided Jussi 69 yet another chance to shine. The camera caught the best moments of him doing his signature moves while playing drums – a real treat for the fans! The setlist continued with “The Chair” and “Feel Berlin,” followed by some all-time favorites that made us sing along and dance a little: “Wasting the Down” and “Dance D’Amour.”
Our time with the Helsinki Vampires flew by too quickly, even though the setlist was pretty long. The moment had come for Jyrki 69 to ask the traditional question, “You wanna rock?,” which meant that the band was about to wrap up the gig and play the last song, “Lost Boys,” although those who bought special Vampire Tickets could also join a virtual meet & greet with THE 69 EYES straight after the live stream was over.
Needless to say, THE 69 EYES provided a brilliant, energetic, and well-planned live streamed show. We had a chance to embrace the sweet melancholy of Goth ‘n’ roll and feel like it was Halloween again while singing along with Jyrki 69 and the band. During these hard times, sometimes it can be difficult to keep being passionate about music since most events have been canceled, but with their gig, THE 69 EYES helped me personally to light that fire again. I heard songs that I had discovered when I was a teen, songs that determined many things in my life, including my favorite music genres, the country where I live now, and maybe even influenced the fact that I wrote this review. So many years have passed by, so many things have happened, but there I was, listening to the songs that I still love and probably will love the same way in 10 or 20 years. They say that art is immortal and I can say for sure that music definitely is.
Written by Victoria Korpun
1. Two Horns Up
2. Never Say Die
3. Black Orchid
4. Perfect Skin
5. Betty Blue
6. Sister Of Charity
8. Gothic Girl
9. 27 & Done
10. Brandon Lee
11. Framed In Blood
12. The Chair
13. Feel Berlin
14. Wasting the Dawn
15. Dance D’Amour
16. Lost Boys
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