BROOKLYN, NY—I’m usually in and about Williamsburg for thrift shopping or to poke fun at the over-abundance of hipsters. So it’s a bit odd that my first time at the Music Hall of Williamsburg would be for the electronic act, VNV Nation, who brought out a full house of goth and industrial kids. It was fun to see the hipsters that did come out, who were now the minority, seem out of their element.
With all the trips made to this area of Brooklyn, I was surprised I had never stumbled upon it before, though the theater’s façade is nestled perfectly in the surrounding buildings. Past the crowd of fans dressed all in black, with chains, fishnets and many candy colored dreads, you walked through a short tunnel that lead to the inner sanctuary of the venue.
My friends along for the show were much more knowledgeable about VNV’s catalog, whereas I was only familiar with songs off their current release, Of Faith, Power And Glory. Leading up to their entrance on stage, were the words of their album flashing on huge light screens that took up the back of the stage. Fans made the small venue shake by their applause alone.
Thinking I was to be entertained by one big dance party for the evening, it was apparent by the end of the first song that this was more than any regular concert. Lead singer Ronan Harris made comments throughout the song and once done, he stood for a good three minutes soaking in the applause.
Fans would not stop cheering, making it seem as if they hadn’t played in the area in quite a few years. But VNV members Harris and Mark Jackson along with their traveling musicians were humble and appreciative and encouraged fans to stop so their can play some more.
I picked up on tunes like “Tomorrow Never Comes” and “Sentinel,” and danced the rest of the night along with those on the floor and in the balcony. The lights behind the group brought things to an ethereal, almost church-like atmosphere, not to mention when Harris addressed the crowd, it was more like a sermon. He even recognized one fan in particular, who let out eerie howls periodically during the show.
That’s what really stuck out during the night, the show was more than solely a show. Even if you were unaware or their music, like myself and one young gentlemen up front who got made fun of for being there to impress his lady friend, you felt a part of the little community there.
Sing-a-longs were encouraged and Harris tested some in their knowledge of the words. The night ended on this, their last song of one of the many encores, “Perpetual,” the audience sang the final two lines over and over. Fans kept going even after the music and Harris stepped away from instruments and microphone and took up huge smiles on their faces.