Ville Valo + Dark Water – The Tivoli Brisbane [Live Review]

Review: Alison Gustavson
Photography: Luke Petty 

We were all killing loneliness on Sunday night as Finnish rocker Ville Valo returned to Australian soil after 10 years with his solo project VVs tour, Neon Noir. Walking into the Tivoli, we were instantly transported back to 2005 with a sea of beanies, piercings, and tank tops.

Australian duo Dark Water kicked off the evening with the perfect blend of darkwave and synth-pop elements. Performing a range of their self-titled, including Take The Piss, their melancholy songs were the perfect warm-up to VV. Their use of tracks allowed for a tight performance and the flexibility of having a range of layers while only having the two of them on stage.

By 9pm, it was time to welcome back one of the most iconic vocalists in the industry: Ville Valo. With the signature Heartagram backdrop, VV’s set opened with a pink-lit stage and an intro track as the Finnish vocalist walked onstage, donning his signature hat and eyeliner. To say he received a very warm welcome back would be an understatement.

The opening song had a crowd cheering, but as soon as Wings of A Butterflys verse started, Valo had an almost completely sold-out Tivoli singing back every lyric. There were plenty of opportunities for the crowd to showcase their singing abilities and Funeral of Hearts heard the crowd overtaking the vocalist as soon as the song began.

Turning up the heat, The Kiss of Dawn and Buried Alive by Love had the crowd moving in seconds. Hearing the crowd’s response to every song, the singer didn’t stop smiling during his set which was incredibly wholesome to see.

The mix of VV and HIM tracks made sure the crowd was reliving their 2000s emo phase whilst getting to enjoy Valo’s new direction. Neon Noir in particular was certainly a fan favourite of the evening. Every aspect of the set was spot on; this is a group of incredibly professional and tight musicians with a lighting tech who created a work of art and sound tech that made VV sound larger than life.

Valo’s ability to sound better live than on the record is an impressive achievement in itself; his ability to seamlessly switch between his hypnotising lows and soaring highs 20 years later in the one song is the reason he remains a musical icon to this day. Paired with his stage presence and persona, it made for one hell of a night.

The encore was something of a spiritual experience in itself, with the Heartagram lit up red and the crowd switching between chanting ‘Ville, Ville, Ville’, ‘One More Song’ and an array of clapping sequences.
Coming out even stronger than before, the encore kicked off with Soul on Fire – the crowd outdoing themselves with how loud they sang the chorus.

Once again, lighting tech Pasu Koivistoinen showcased his incredible lighting skills, creating a show himself. The crowd’s cheer at the end was borderline deafening (in a good way) but somehow got louder the second the iconic piano intro to Killing Loneliness began. Closing the tour with When Love and Death Embrace, it was a perfect way to send off the Finnish rockers.