This past Saturday, Roadrunner Records was generous enough to give Contrapuntist and I the opportunity to attend the Dommin concert at Reggie’s Rock Club in Chicago and interview lead singer Kristopher Dommin. Along with The Becoming, Dommin opened for fellow goth rockers, The 69 Eyes. Unfortunately, this concert almost got canceled because the previous night, a rave had blown out the club’s PA system. Thankfully, the problem with the PA system was resolved. The concert got off to a very late start at 7:45, and Contrapuntist and I settled into the balcony to enjoy the show.
Update 11.3.09: Check out our interview with Kristofer Dommin we recently published…here.
This band was 45 minutes of dull. Here is some background info on The Becoming from their website:
As if crafted in another world and delivered to rescue us from our hyphenated-rock-doldrums, The Becoming has landed and it’s time for you to remember what gave you chills the first time you heard really great music.
After hearing the band, I don’t think there’s anything special about them. I wouldn’t change the station if I heard their music on the radio, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to it. The band played with a lot of energy, but it seemed forced, as though they were trying to act like a stereotypical rock band. I also didn’t care for the singer, Caleb Owens. His voice was mediocre, and his stage antics were over-the-top. He strutted, posed, stroked his hair, and gyrated his hips. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with theatricality in a lead singer. If you’re Steve Tyler or Alice Cooper, it’s downright entertaining. But you need to have substance to back it up, and frankly, I found his actions contrived. Most of the audience seemed bored, except for a few enthusiastic fans in the front couple of rows on the floor. Contrapuntist and I were up in the balcony, along with some middle-aged ladies wearing The 69 Eyes shirts. The ladies were pretty much comatose through the whole performance. The Becoming had no personality, and they did not belong on the same concert with unique bands like Dommin and The 69 Eyes. I don’t know what this band is supposed to be “becoming”, but they’ve got a long way to go till they get there.
Contrapuntist and I received a digital review copy of Dommin‘s upcoming album, Love Is Gone,and we loved it. As I mentioned before, we had a chance to meet Kris Dommin before the concert. The interview will be in an upcoming post, but for now, here’s some info about the band and the concert.
Dommin is marketed as a goth metal band which is “the voice of the brokenhearted”. But it would be a mistake to pigeonhole them into one musical category. They’ve been compared to Type O Negative, Danzig, and Depeche Mode. Their music is heavy, heartfelt, and powerful. They’re consummate musicians, with a selection of exquisitely written songs.
Contrapuntist and I had high hopes for their performance, and we weren’t disappointed. Their stage energy was phenomenal and authentic. Lead singer Kris Dommin’s extraordinary voice reminds me of a dark hybrid between Glen Danzig and Jim Morrison. Check out their single, “My Heart, Your Hands”, and you’ll hear what I mean. It’s alternately deep and smooth, and heavy and passionate. He also has fantastic stage presence. Kris Dommin sings straight from his gut, but he’s never melodramatic.
For me, there were three highlights to the performance. I loved “Tonight”, with its relentless groove driven by bassist Billy James and drummer Cameron Morris. I was ecstatic that they played one of my favorite songs, “Dark Holiday”. A unique mixture of The Doors meets rockabilly, it starts out with a quirky riff by keyboardist Konstantine. Heard live, it inspired some serious headbanging. After this song, Kris Dommin threw fake roses into the audience, to the delight of some squealing female fans. Then, he announced that the band was going to play a cover song which everybody would recognize. I had no idea what it was until they reached the chorus. It turned out that it was “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight” by 80s band Cutting Crew. Dommin’s version is much better than the original, though. Search for it on YouTube, and you’ll be blown away.
Contrapuntist mentioned that at the start of the set, you could tell most of the audience wasn’t familiar with the band. By the end of the concert, the audience was seriously rocking. Even the middle-aged ladies had awakened out of their coma. You know you’ve seen a good show when the band reaches the end of its 45 minute set and you want to hear more. I really hope that these guys make it big, because I would love to see them headlining a tour.
The 69 Eyes
I knew practically nothing about The 69 Eyes before the concert. I had listened to a few of their songs on YouTube, and they sounded pretty cool. According to their bio on the EMI website, the band was formed in the early 90s in Helsinki, Finland. Their influences include Elvis Presley, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Motley Crüe, and The Sisters of Mercy. Nicknamed “The Helsinki Vampires”, their early years “screamed sex, blood, and loud music as they made their way through Helsinki’s underground glam clubs”. During the break between Dommin and The 69 Eyes, a guy in the audience asked us if we’d ever heard the band. We said no, and he told us that they are kind of strange.
I was anticipating a bunch of weirdos prancing around with fangs and spitting blood. What we got was catchy grooves, and an earth-pounding wall of sound. No bizarre antics, just great music. We had lost our seats up in the balcony during the break, so we stood at the rear of the first floor. The bass was so heavy that it rumbled through every single bone in my body. I thought I was going to pass out, but in a good way. Lead singer Jyrki sings mostly in his lowest register. He reminds me of an evil Elvis with some high screams worthy of Rob Halford. I’m not familiar with most of their songs, but my favorite was “Kiss Me Undead” off of their new album, Back in Blood, which was released in August. It starts off with an infectious riff that’s been stuck in my head for the past four days. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the middle-aged ladies were headbanging and having a grand time.
For anyone who is able to catch an upcoming show on the tour, I would highly recommend going to see this concert. Skip the first set, but then settle in for some great music.