And once again VNV Nation killed it

Great set at Club Nokia last night, the fourth time I’ve seen them now — while I’d heard that this was to be the case, I’ll admit to a tiny smidge of disappointment over one thing: there were very few songs played from Of Faith, Power and Glory. “Pro Victoria” served as the introduction while “Sentinel” and “Tomorrow Never Comes” both got powerful run-throughs. But I was all kinda geared up to also hear songs like “The Great Divide,” “In Defiance” and “Where There is Light” — perhaps next time, though, as Ronan mentioned that they would be returning in November or so. Meantime nobody was complaining over performances of solid warhorses like “Darkangel,” “Beloved,” “Chrome,” “Honour 2003″ and more besides. The photo above is from the conclusion of “Perpetual,” as ever a fine way to wrap up the evening.

Ronan was in a very garrulous mood as well — a compliment! He admitted at one point that the jet lag was making him feel a little off but if anything I think it just translated into more fun with the crowd. (Highlights — noting the one guy on the balcony and wondering if his date had made him come, plus an extended break for drink orders from the rest of the band.)

Meantime something I’ve been keeping under my hat — without wanting to tell the whole story (it’s not mine to tell, really!), my friend Fern has become a big fan as well in recent years and so have her children, especially her son Logan, for whom the song “Illusion” in particular has meant much. To make a long story short, with much thanks to everyone involved, especially Ronan, Mark and the band’s manager Biggie, they all had a chance to meet up briefly before the show and I was on hand to snap a photo (that’s Fern’s youngest Moira there as well — her first concert, at seven years! And she loved it!):

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Ronan briefly before and chatting with him a few times online; as ever he’s a warm and thoughtful fellow, and I don’t say that lightly. Chatting with Mark briefly was good fun as well, he’s no less a solid guy. Much thanks again!

I’ll conclude by recommending another of the amazingly detailed and reflective long-form interviews that Ronan’s given over the years that have left me very impressed, in this case for Dieselpunks.org. This just went up the other week and it’s well worth a detailed read, especially if you want to learn more about the overall sense of design and visual interpretation which has come to define the band. Also, you get to learn that Ronan’s been learning how to do the Lindy Hop with his girlfriend!

And tomorrow, VNV Nation at Club Nokia

Can’t wait — and here’s my preview of the show at the LA Weekly. A snippet:

“California may have its stereotype image for so many but not for us,” said VNV Nation’s lead figure, Ronan Harris, recently, explaining the start of the group’s new tour for its latest album, Of Faith, Power and Glory, tonight. While the Irish-born, Hamburg-based Harris referred to his band’s regular return to the area and its noticeably passionate, varied L.A. fan base, it’s a description just as easily applied to VNV Nation itself.

My VNV Nation reviews for the AMG are up

They’ve actually been up, but now that the new album has been released over in Europe and will be released here in a couple of days, might as well call some attention to them!

Ever since I became a fan of the group one of my goals has been to see if there’s a way to help them gain a greater profile outside of their general fanbase and musical milieu, so getting in reviews via the AMG is one of the bigger things I can do. Hopefully it’ll help.

The review of the Reformation 01 box set is here while the one for Of Faith, Power and Glory is here. To quote a bit of it:

Some bands make their mark from the get-go and never quite seem to escape that first burst of creativity, while others build on what they started with to reach newer heights over time. Over the course of many years and albums, Ronan Harris and Mark Jackson have proven themselves to be a stellar example of the latter, with the work of VNV Nation turning from a series of sometimes overly stern homages to pioneers of electronic body music to an increasingly warm and romantic approach combined with an equal love of rabble-rousing punk shoutalongs and stadium-scaled rave celebrations. Of Faith, Power and Glory continues a run of albums in this vein since Futureperfect and is arguably the pinnacle of the approach…

A first reaction to the new VNV Nation album ‘Of Faith, Power and Glory’

Of Faith, Power and Glory

I hope to have a formal review in the near future through one of my usual outlets. For now, then, simply some brief personal reflections:

As I’ve talked about on here more than once, VNV Nation has assumed particular importance for me in recent years — their song “The Farthest Star” in particular had a resonance for me at a time when I felt frustrated and burnt out on a number of fronts, and any number of songs from the Judgement album hold near equal power as well. The slew of live shows I’ve seen since have reconfirmed that, and the brief conversations I’ve been lucky to have with VNV mainman Ronan Harris have always left me thinking he’s quite a generous and friendly fellow. Meanwhile, I’ve also seen the personal impact his work has had on some friends I’ve introduced the band’s work to — it’s been refreshingly uncynical, for lack of a better term.

Of Faith, Power and Glory — which I’m well into my second listen here tonight, and I’m probably about to play it to death in the run-up to the LA show that kicks off the tour — feels like the logical progression in the run of albums starting with Futureperfect, as VNV have refined and focused their sound, at once of a larger piece and yet able to hit the individual mark nearly every single time. It’s a rare act that can constantly use familiar elements and never seem boring or repetitious about it — we all have our individual examples in other genres, I’m sure, but VNV is my current lodestone there.

As I said, more formal thoughts to be saved for a review first. Suffice to say I spent a good chunk of this evening dancing to this whole thing like a fiend, phrases are already leaping out at me from the lyrics as perfectly capturing states of mind I know or remember well, and I simply can’t wait for the show now.

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