Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Happy Industrial Monday w/ VNV Nation, War Tapes, and Ayria @ The Grand, 6/29/09

June 30, 2009

It was a warm Monday evening in SF. I walked into The Grand, which was surprisingly empty. I thought this show might fit well as a finale to Pride Weekend.

Ayria is on stage, flanked by a drummer (turned sideways and tucked in the corner) and a laptop guy (who as my friend pointed out, was surprisingly using a Dell- GASP!). Their music is light industrial with somewhat ethereal vocals that occasionally meander into a rap. The singer, in blonde pigtails and Hot Topic, is bubbly, bouncing around the stage like a goth cheerleader. It was just way too cheesy for me. Especially one of her final songs, where she does a lot of counting…I was seriously expecting a toe touch to make its way in there.

As soon as War Tapes hit the stage, I remembered someone recommending them to me a year or so ago. They are a doom/goth pop 4 piece from LA. I immediately remembered why I couldn’t get into them- the singer’s voice. It feels fake, and like it’s on its way to going out of tune. His stage presence also really bugged me- between songs at least three times he would repeatedly shout “are you ready for VNV Nation!”, and then talk about how amazing the crowd was (that was slightly bigger than when I walked in, but not very active or enthusiastic). Then he did what looked like a failed stage dive. The drummer and guitarist were ok, the female bassist looked bored. I was on the verge of liking some of the songs, but never quite made it there.



VNV Nation has a dramatic entrance with a video screen spewing positive propaganda. I mean, the group has a motto and it’s ‘One should strive to achieve; not sit in bitter regret’. I think the majority of the music I listen to is about sitting in bitter regret, but anyway…

The crowd has now filled out the room. It’s uber goth- platform boots, black black black, corsets of unusual size, guyliner, and a surprising number of VNV Nation branded shirts. But the weird thing about the crowd is this: they are all smiling! I am not familiar with this breed of smiling goths. Where do they come from? What do they eat? How do they spend their daylight hours?

Frontman Ronan Harris is quite a character. He loves to talk, taking intermissions between songs that are almost as long as the songs themselves. Throughout the evening, he did things like gather all the bald men that resembled him near the stage and took a picture with them, let a young attendee sit on the corner of the stage out of harm’s way, and called security multiple times to diffuse people who were trying to start moshing (and I mean really, who moshes to this???). He does a funny speed walk skip thing when he sings. He spoke of letting go of anything bothering you to enjoy the show, and of living drug free…it was all a bit confusing for me. But it was kinda nice- I wanted to hug him by the end.

There are a few tracks of theirs that get me dancing a bit, but they always lighten up. I prefer harder/darker/faster; VNV goes into rave space. It’s not bad- in fact they put on a very good, entertaining and personable show- it just doesn’t ring my music bell.

San Francisco loves VNV, and they love San Francisco back. After a double encore, neither the band nor the audience wanted to leave. And by the time we did go, it was a cold night in SF.

VNV’s lighting and my camera were not friends:


The crowd busting out lighters for a VNV style ballad:


To the girl who stood near me and continued to emit that terrible sound (imagine a yodeling goat being slaughtered), please don’t ever do that again. You owe me a bottle of Advil.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

A New Level: Metallica, Pantera, and Mammoth VH @ SoFi Stadium Los Angeles, 8/25/23

“Now a new look in my eyes my spirit riseForget the pastPresent tense works and lastsGot shit on, pissed on,…

September 4, 2023

Gimme Danger: Iggy Pop & The Losers with Grace McKagan @ The Pearl Las Vegas, 4/29/23

“Gimme danger, little strangerAnd I feel with you at easeGimme danger, little strangerAnd I’ll feel your disease There’s nothing in…

May 29, 2023

Kill or Become: Cannibal Corpse, Dark Funeral, Immolation, Black Anvil at House of Blues Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay 11/25/22

“Living out the days and nights in absolute fearNever knowing when and where thethreat of the undead draws nearThoughts of…

December 3, 2022

Looks That Kill: Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Poison, & Joan Jett & The Blackhearts @ Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, 9/9/22

“Now, listen up She’s a razor sharp If she don’t get her way She’ll slice you apart Now she’s a…

September 19, 2022

A Dangerous Meeting: Mercyful Fate, High on Fire, Paradise Lost, Fugitive, Suicidal Tendencies, Bone Thugs -n- Harmony, Frozen Soul, Emperor, Mayhem, Carcass, and Wolves in the Throne Room @ Psycho Las Vegas @ Resort World, 8/19-21/22

“Oh, they should have knownNot to play with the powers of HellSome people have lost their waySome people have lost…

August 30, 2022

Among the Living: Anthrax 40th Anniversary Tour with Black Label Society @ Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas, 7/28/22

“I’m the walking dudeI can see all the worldTwist your minds with fearI’m the man with the powerAmong the living,…

August 19, 2022

Mad World: Tears for Fears, Garbage @ Kia Forum in Los Angeles, 6/4/22

“And I find it kind of funny I find it kind of sad The dreams in which I’m dying Are…

June 12, 2022

She Sells Sanctuary: The Cult, Des Roc @ House of Blues Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay

“The sparkle in your eyes Keeps me alive And the sparkle in your eyes Keeps me alive, keeps me alive…

May 27, 2022

Rock You Like A Hurricane: Scorpions, Skid Row @ Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas

“It’s early morning, the sun comes out Last night was shaking and pretty loud My cat is purring, it scratches…

April 15, 2022

Turbo Lover: 50 Years of Heavy Metal with Judas Priest and Queensrÿche @ Zappos Theater, Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino Las Vegas, 3/13/22

“We hold each other closer, as we shift to overdrive And everything goes rushing by, with every nerve alive We…

March 22, 2022