Some musical projects are simply unique, sometimes with their music, other times with their lyrics and themes, other times with their aesthetics. I think it’s easy to say that SKYND is rather unique on all of these levels. The way they combine industrial music with poppy qualities to sing about serial murders, murder mysteries and horrendous things that happened in the past including some very distinct looks and imagery is something we haven’t seen done before like this. SKYND isn’t just music. It’s an experience. It’s a happening. It’s something that’ll easily speak to people from all walks of life if they’re any bit intrigued by the dark side of life and murder mysteries. We’ve been following what they’re doing since they suddenly popped up with their very first single and haven’t been disappointed with anything they’ve done. So when we saw they were going to drop by a couple of places close to us on their European tour, we just had to be there.
Vanha Ylioppilastalo in Helsinki seemed like a great fit for a theatrical band like SKYND with its historical and old-timey character. Arriving at the venue, we found a small “rogues gallery” put up on some of the doors, showing pictures of the killers and murders they sing about and when we went to use the restroom, we saw signs of SKYND having passed by there as well with blood smudges on the sinks and mirrors, including “SKYND” written in blood on a mirror. All of these small things were there to create an experience that went beyond just going to see a concert. We’re looking forward to see their vision come to fruition in full form some time once they have the resources to do it even more thoroughly, but this was already a great hint at what could be.
Once we entered the actual concert space, we saw projections of documentaries and bits and pieces of again the murders and killers they sing about in their songs. The rather smallish projection got a little bit lost since the stage at this place is quite deep, but again this was a nice preview of what a full experience a SKYND event could be in perfect circumstances with the right amount of resources. Once it was about time for them to start their show, the projection was taken away, the room darkened further and some ominous soundtrack took over, creating a dark atmosphere to prepare the crowd gathered for what was about to start. I have to say, they really know how to build suspense and eagerness for them to start, as they kept sending that same eerie and ominous soundtrack into the room for about half an hour before they finally kicked off the show.
Father came on stage and strapped his bass on, their masked drummer sat down behind his kit and SKYND strode up to the mic stand and off they went with the serial killer inspired ‘Richard Ramirez’ and murder mystery ‘Elisa Lam’, both some of their earliest tracks from the ‘Chapter I’ EP, much to the delight of all the fans gathered there. Besides the absolutely captivating songs, SKYND herself is really quite the presence on stage with a performance that is catered to every song with the slightest of changes. Her face speaks stories, she marches all over the stage commanding your undivided attention, all while she puts down some amazing vocals that often sound like conversations between different people with the effects and different tonalities she manages to put in them. The atmosphere in the venue was really amazing, because while it wasn’t a full room, the crowd was singing along to the songs at full force and the adoration was almost palpable. Some personal highlights for me where ‘Michelle Carter’ where SKYND whispering “I love you, now die” always does something for me besides it being an extremely catchy song overall, ‘Columbine’ with that hard-hitting gun mimicking “Ra-ta-ta-ta” before the song explodes with some hard beats and of course the earwurm that is ‘Jim Jones’.
They wrapped up their set with the nice little trio of their most recent single ‘Armin Meiwes’, fan favorite ‘Tyler Hadley’ that is an absolute banger of a song and fittingly as the very last song, their very first single ‘Gary Heidnik’, the song that got it all started for us. It was interesting to hear that track live without the additional vocals from Jonathan Davis, but honestly we didn’t really miss them which speaks for how simply solid the track is in itself. With a soft “thank you”, the set was over and even though people were shouting loudly for more, SKYND is one of those bands that plays their set and leave the stage, not partaking in the classic play where the crowd brings the band back for some encore songs. And that’s perfectly fine, not that they had much more material to play with after all. And hey, they were nice enough to come down to the merch stand to greet the fans and take some pictures, you don’t see that often anymore.
This was an amazing night, and those who were not there really missed out on something. As we said earlier, we’re looking forward to see this project grow and blossom into the mind-blowing experience it could be. Not that we have any complaints really. We just want more of SKYND‘s dark goodies and hope to see them in the neighborhood again soon!
John Wayne Gacy
For more pictures of the show, go check out our photo report here.