Second day of our Budapest trip was reserved for something a little bit different. From the suffering and melancholy of the frozen Northern wastelands, we moved to seductive gothic vampires. That Tuesday night, we headed to one of the most renown Budapest concert venues, Barba Negra. Since 2011 it is probably the most important place in Budapest, for rock and metal concerts. An appropriate coincidence, the moon was full that night, and Budapest welcomed two old bands from the gothic scene, Lacrimas Profundere and The 69 Eyes.
Lacrimas Profundere are by now veterans with a career that spans over twenty-five years and twelve studio albums. Although they exist for so long, they never quite reached the peak of heights and popularity among gothic metal fans. Most people know about them, but they somehow stayed under the radar and never became as popular as some other bands that play a similar style of gothic rock and metal have. They have a new album, titled “Bleeding the Stars”, which is also their first album with Julian Larre, new vocalist. I was quite looking forward to this, since I never saw them before, and a couple of their songs have cult status on the gothic scene in Serbia.
Which might be the reason why I was left somewhat disappointed after their performance. The band was actually OK, the sound was good, not great, not terrible, the quote the famous meme, it was just okay. They build up a decent atmosphere and build some rapport with the audience. Julian has quite a presence on stage, he jumps, he runs, he has a lot of contact and communication with the audience and gives a lot to build up the hype. For my taste, maybe a bit too much, Although far from bad, his vocal performance was not on top of the game, or at least not on the level I expected. Maybe he would do a bit better job if he was a bit more calm on stage, like this, it feels that the better part of his strength and energy is drained on physical performance, and not enough is left for the vocal one. That might be just my impression, and might not hinder him at all at performing live. Or I simply expected too much or too different, less energetic and more gothic presence from the vocalist. Something that would resemble their previous singers. I do believe he has what it takes to perform and be the frontman that band deserves, but I do feel like he did not have the best of days in Budapest.
The rest of the band delivered a well-executed show, as they took us on a ride through their discography. Nothing surprising, most of the songs were from the new album, but here we come to my second complaint about their show. They didn’t play “Amber Girl”, and while it might not be their most famous song, I consider it their trademark, and certainly their most famous song, at least among Serbian fans, so leaving that one out was a bummer. Still, I would say it was a satisfactory performance, and it was good to have a chance to see and hear veteran german goth rockers on stage.
Then, it was finally time to welcome Helsinki Vampires on stage! Three decades in existence, twelve studio albums and still in their original lineup from 1990, Finnish veterans passed through several stages in their development to finally achieve fame as gothic icons. Still, despite being mostly gothic band, it is clear that the band is influenced by several different genres and styles. This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I don’t think anything will ever better their masterpiece from 2012 called “X”, which I consider their best album, even better than their golden period in the early 2000s.
On this tour promoting their newest album called “West End”, and while expectedly most of the songs came from their latest work, I was pleasantly surprised by the setlist. I always respect a band that knows their strongest songs that are favorites among the fans. Despite being over fifty years old, they gave us an energetic and entertaining show. I heard comments about how their live performances have a bad reputation, and how Jyrki’s vocals are not as good on their live shows. The concert I saw, was as good as any. It was a real pleasure to hear most of their hit songs, “Never Say Die”, “Crashing High”, “Betty Blue”, “Brandon Lee”, “The Chair”, “Borderline, Lost Boys” etc. “Cheyenne”, one of the singles from their newest album, might as well be a song from “Paris Kills”.
Not surprisingly, given such a setlist, the reaction of the audience was really great. Bunch of people singing together with the band, especially the female part of the audience, quite expectedly, I might add. I noticed a few couples dancing, and some crazy idiots even started a mosh pit. Yes, moshpit on The 69 Eyes, imagine that. Although the venue was not fully sold out, it was very crowded, which meant that rows directly in front of the stage were particularly packed with people. Needless to say, the best reaction from the audience was for the mentioned hit songs from their golden period. Seventeen songs, and a bit over one and a half-hour later, and all I could say that it ended too soon. Helsinki Vampires are as strong as ever and still kicking it despite being around for almost 30 years.
One really enjoyable evening, and while I might think that Lacrimas Profundere has so much potential they still need to capitalize on it. The 69 Eyes proved that gothic rock is still alive and kicking. They achieved their cult status as one of the bands that sets the tone for the whole genre and it seems that they have no intention of slowing down. Enjoyable evening from both bands, but The 69 Eyes in particular gave us a night to remember. And in the end, long after the show was done, guitarist from The 69 Eyes, might have accidentally ended up in the same rock metal pub in which we were, so we might all drink a bit too much that night… But that is another story!