Friday, May 16, 2014

VNV Nation / Whiteqube @ Empire 5/14/2014

Juliya and I went to see VNV Nation (Victory not Vengeance) ($25) at Empire. We met up with Kate, Jason, and DarKNess, and Lori (Chris Crazy-Wolf was also there, but he was hiding!).

There were several hundred people there so it was pretty crowded, but it was not exactly sold out. We had trouble parking, so that was an indicator that Empire is pretty full. I wonder if Aesthetic Perfection will have a decent turnout.  Combichrist did.

Merchandise was meh

Merchandise wise, VNV Nation had a ton of t shirts ($25), several CDs ($10), a DVD, and some other smaller items. Whiteqube had a CD ($7 for 4 tracks) and a sticker I think.  The VNV shirts were all similar in design, mostly text based, which I thought were lame. Good price on the CDs if you need their last 3 releases.

Whiteqube's best video had internet cats, including this kitten on a  Roomba.

Whiteqube was on first- the videos showed 2 men, but live it was only one gentleman (who was white and bald (cue-ball, sounds like Q), perhaps the origin of the name).  He was at a laptop and had a shirt with some sort of LCD display that mimicked the screen behind him (which was pretty cool, show wise). He was basically a DJ, with an OK mix of tunes that had a lot of wubs.  The last few songs were better, and the constantly changing display featured robots, lights, and internet cats ("Time to Rage").  The reaction was pretty nonexistent until the last couple songs.  I thought he was OK,  but I was neither impressed nor disgusted.

Ladies and gentlemans, the VNV Nation!

VNV Nation came on pretty punctually at 9:30 to a huge ovation, as you could tell people were more than ready for what turned out to be a pretty solid 2 hr set (totally got our money's worth)! We were hit with a new song then into one of my favourites- "Sentinel."  People were pretty active in jumping, fist pumping, shouting along, dancing, moving, and grooving!  Great turnout, great reactions!  There were lights set up on the speakers and the grid behind them was lit up with various imagery, based on the song.  So besides Ronan Harris (vocals) and Mark Jackson (standing up drums), there were 2 keyboard/computer players.  Ronan was constantly moving and engaging the crowd, making personal connections like how people connect to many of their songs.  There was an air of overwhelming positivity, as there was the other times I've seen them. I don't know what exactly it is, but it was nigh impossible to be negative at one of their shows!
For a fat man, Ronan was pretty mobile

Soundwise, everything was pretty great (probably because of the electronic nature of the music, as I guess that goes thru the speakers better than standard guitars and instruments at a say, metals show), and was certainly loud enough. The crybaby of the year award (last year it was Doro and her Ronnie James Dio tribute "Hero") goes out early to me during the song "Illusion." It sounded so fantastic.  Everyone in the house was shouting along to "Perpetual," even a capella. I got a few goosebumps just listening to everyone unified in song. It's those moments that make the connection of music and community... so cathartic.

The last time I saw VNV Nation in Baltimore they were pretty great too, but they have a new album (Transnational) that they are promoting, so while 9 songs were the same, there were only 3 new ones.  I thought their new album was OK, with a bit more slow and/or instrumental parts than I would have rathered.... but live they came across great!  I enjoyed pretty much all of their set, and heard most if not all my favourites of theirs.  Some people may think that a few songs do sound similar. A friend def heard the similarities between 5 or 6 songs and "Space and Time," which I thought was pretty silly

Those are not real lasers

Overall it was a great show, but I did notice that we didn't see too many people we knew there (surprisingly). Regardless, it was totally worth coming out and enjoying a nice long VNV set. Definitely one of the best shows of the year so far!

Next show: Killswitch Engage and Trivium at Ramshead live!


Whiteqube (8:30- 9:03)

  • R U Ready
  • ?(sounds like selfie)
  • ?
  • Out of Time
  • Paniq Attaq
  • Time 2 Rage
  • Revolution Riot

VNV Nation (9:28 -  11:30)

  • Retaliate 
  • Sentinel 
  • Chrome 
  • Primary 
  • Illusion 
  • Everything 
  • Space & Time 
  • Darkangel 
  • Carbon 
  • Standing 
  • Off Screen 
  • The Farthest Star 
  • Resolution 

  • Homeward 
  • Epicentre 
  • Control 

  • Nova 
  • Perpetual