NEW YORK, NY—Sunglasses would have been helpful for the VNV Nation show at Webster Hall, but I’m not one who keeps them at the ready at night. Already slightly late for the night’s headliners, as things kicked off a little before the scheduled show time (not cool), I walked into a wall of bright lights and ambient dance music. Fans were dancing all around on the main floor, which made getting close to the stage nearly impossible. But there was no need to be close to find a space on the floor to dance.
After settling in, Singer Ronan Harris sang a snippet of House of Pain’s “Jump Around,” just because and I’m guessing mainly due to the actions of fans. Jumping around to the beats was the dance move of the evening, so it really was only fitting—I kind of wished they actually did the whole song. Moving on to Harris’ second favorite part of the set was a song off the new album “Resolution.”
VNV Nation released their new album, Automatic, early this fall and had a lot of material to add to an already large catalog. They were ending out the year with part one of their Automatic Tour, making note that part two will bring them back to the New York area in March. With tracks full of what I take as ambient galaxy electronic music, the newer songs, paired with a flashing light spectacle, made me feel we were in another time and space altogether.
Slowing things down halfway through was “Illusion,” which provided a short-lived break. Harris was intent on making sure the whole house was moving that evening and even fans up in the balcony were happy to oblige. My favorite comment of the night came from Harris in regards to those who weren’t joining in on the party. Taking a moment, he pointed out that everyone was to move and not stand still as this was not a Celine Dion concert and if it was, it would be quite a fucked-up one.
With “Control” the tempo changed and things got a little heavier and I could really feel the floor moving below. Feeling as though I had just gotten there, the lights went out and we all awaited an encore. They came back with “Fearless” and I figured this would be the end to the evening. A song or two later and they took off yet again from the stage, but the house lights refused to come back on.
Debating over whether or not they would have a second encore, VNV came back to a packed house of cheering fans eager to hear more. “Beloved” and “Perpetual” rounded out the night. “Perpetual” could have lasted all night as Harris and band mate Mark Jackson like to repeat the song’s last line with the crowd over and over. What gets me every time is during this sing-a-long, both Harris and Jackson come to the front of the stage, smiling and clapping as though they are ready to come out and hug every last audience member.