1.9.2022 SKYND @ Vanha Ylioppilastalo, Helsinki

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If there is one genre that never goes out of style, it’s true crime. Whether it’s mini-series, documentaries, or podcasts, true crime awakens everyone’s inner detective. If you are a true crime fan or web sleuth, you probably also have heard of the electronic duo SKYND, the creative output between lead vocalist Skynd and producer/multi-instrumentalist Father. Perhaps you were even one of the people who joined their concert experience at Vanha Ylioppilastalo on September 2nd, 2022. Read more about our experience of the event here…

The event had informed people doors would open at 19:00 and the show itself would originally start at 20:30. Around 20:00, we made our way inside, only to discover that instead of a concert, we would be attending some sort of an experience and the venue had turned into a crime scene, for instance, the toilets’ mirrors boasted some blood stains and the entrance to the venue had images of serial killers taped with yellow (police) tape. Originally, this show was scheduled to be at Tavastia, but considering the extra additions to creating a certain atmosphere, we really liked the venue upgrade to the historic setting of Vanha Ylioppilastalo.

Entrance hall of Vanha Ylioppilastalo taking with a Huawei P20 Lite phone

Despite, the show being originally set at 20:30, there was a small projection screen with a news reportage of John Wayne Gacy (the Killer Clown) behind the state and some spooky, ambient music. When the band was supposed to start their show, unfortunately, nothing happened. It seemed like they were making sure the venue was filled to the brim until the band would set the stage – or they may have been some technical difficulties while setting up. A little over 21:00, it was finally time for SKYND to start. The projection screen ended and – admittedly a little clumsily – the crew set up a logo banner behind the stage.

The duo opened up with “Richard Ramirez” and instantly were able to blow us away. With a unnamed session drummer, Father who focuses on electronics and guitar, and singer Skynd, the band’s lineup is limited, however, their presence was surely demanding. In the back the mysterious Father figure was swinging from left to right with his guitar surrounded by smoke and atmospheric lights. Skynd was engaging with the audience during the show, often kneeling in front of the stage.

The band has a different approach into releasing songs than most others, especially when compared to rock/metal. In the couple of years of their existence, they have mostly focused on the release of singles with enthralling music videos, which was then followed by a couple of EPs under the monniker of “Chapter,” resulting in the Chapters Tour. Thus, the band played most of their repertoire during the show.

With a total of 13 tracks, the setlist was beautifully diverse and altogether flowed nicely. The energetic opener “Ricard Ramirez,” was for instance followed by the atmospheric “Elisa Lam,” immediately setting a darker and grim atmosphere among the audience. Continuing with the equally hard-hitting “John Wayne Gacy,” the setlist paved its way through highs and lows, peaks and valleys, and so on. Each song was shortly introduced by a voice-over in a news reportage style shortly covering some background information on each crime. Skynd didn’t speak to the audience in between songs, something I can sometimes be bothered by depending on the performance, however, not speaking to the audience made it feel like she respected the storytelling approach of the show and left more room for the overall fan experience of the performance. The beginning of the set felt a bit like a build-up towards a climactic end, with many of SKYND‘s highlights left for the end. “Columine” and “Chris Watts” were the last songs to create a certain mood before the set started heading towards an explosive ending with songs like “Armin Meiwes,” “Tyler Hadley,” and “Gary Heidnik.”

Altogether, this show was definitely on my wow-list of 2022. Through very small details (for instance, the traces of blood in the bathrooms) the band really did an effort to involve the audience in their experience. I call it an experience, specifically, because it just felt like it was not so much about music, but more about the gruesome stories told through the music. In front of me, there was even a girl showing her friend Wikipedia articles on her phone covering some of the events demonstrated in the songs. I have been to a couple of shows in Vanha Ylioppilastalo and I also have to admit that this time the sound was spot-on, as sometimes the acoustics of the venue can have a huge effect on the bands playing there. Everything just sort of fell into its place when the band started and despite them having a late start, I feel like the waiting was made up for by an amazing performance by a great team of musicians. We applaud you!

Article and photos by Laureline Tilkin

Setlist

  1. Richard Ramirez
  2. Elisa Lam
  3. John Wayne Gacy
  4. Bianca Devins
  5. Michelle Carter
  6. Robert Hansen
  7. Katherine Knight
  8. Columbine
  9. Chris Watts
  10. Jim Jones
  11. Armin Meiwes
  12. Tyler Hadley
  13. Gary Heidnik