Concert Review – The 69 Eyes, Dommin, and The Becoming

by Viola da Voce on October 27, 2009

in Sonic Perspectives

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.

The Becoming

The_Becoming_Photo_1This 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.

Dommin

Dommin_1_hrContrapuntist 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

the69eyes2009_2I 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.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacob Lyons October 29, 2009 at 2:23 am

i also posted a review about the show when i saw them in santa ana. They played at the galaxy theater on october 7th.

I agree with everything this review says! The only difference is is that there were two additional bands that played in the beginning of the show. Honestly The Becoming looked good compared to the first two, so they have a positive review on mine. So if I were at that same show, I probably would’ve said the same thing.

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Marie October 29, 2009 at 5:25 am

Alright…first of all I don’t think you fully gave the Becoming a fair chance. I loved the music and I’d never heard of them up until Chicago either. It was really amazing to see an actual goth band play. Are you sure you’re not just upset by the religious overtones of some of their songs? But really and truly the guys put on a good show. None of the time spent onstage was enough for me and honestly, with the Becoming coming my way in the next few weeks, we’re heading out to see them again. Had you the chance to talk to the guys off the stage, you’d have found out how very friendly they can be, very willing to come over and hang out with their fans and hardly daunted by the fact that they got the van while the eyes got the bus.

As for Dommin, I loved them too, didn’t get as much of a chance to hang around with them as I wanted but things happen sometimes, by the time they were offstage it was time to brace myself for the Eyes. However, and I thought you might like to get your story straight, the roses weren’t fake, Kris handed me one and I still have it, they were real. And he didn’t announce the song until the first chorus around where he more asked if we knew this one ‘you know this one right?’ followed by the screams. Oh…and headbanging to Dark Holiday…you’re kidding right? This was a nod and bob band, like the Becoming, not a headband and knock yourself out.

I got the feeling from reading your review that you really had no idea what you were talking about and you’d gone into Reggie’s with your mind already made up that you were going to LOVE Dommin because you’d heard of them and the other two were just there for backup. And that’s sad. Your review of the Eyes was relatively short, they played several fan favorites and an equal balance of the new and the old music, making for an enjoyable night all around. No mention to the smiles and interaction with the crowd or the number of drumsticks lost by drummer Jussi. Or that he lost one on the first song, broken right down the middle (I have it)

Careful how you judge, you may find yourself in the middle of fans trying to defend their boys. And as far as I’m concerned all the bands from Saturday Night’s shows are my boys. Dommin AND The Becoming gained three new fans that night.

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Viola da Voce October 29, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Marie, we are all entitled to our own opinions. I appreciate your input. In regard to the roses, I was up in the balcony, so I didn’t get a good look at them. Thanks for correcting my mistake. You are also correct that my review of the Eyes was short. I didn’t know very much about this band before the concert, but I enjoyed their performance immensely.I look forward to becoming better acquainted with their music in the future.

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Contrapuntist October 29, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Marie, as Viola mentioned at the beginning of her review, Roadrunner was kind enough to give us the tickets to go see Dommin. So yes, we weren’t as familiar with the other two acts. We attended the show specifically to see Dommin.

I felt the same way about The Becoming. I found their performance dull. I watched the audience as well, and very few people were really into the band. Compared to the following acts, there was NO comparison. I listened to the music on their MySpace page, and I wasn’t really impressed by their music before going; it’s not like MySpace offers great music listening experiences! So, I did go with an open mind, and I had high hopes, but I ended up bored by the fourth song.

I didn’t know much about The 69 eyes either. Since the concert, we have been checking out more of The 69 Eyes. They earned a couple fans based on what we heard that night. I would see them again.

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