VNV Nation Compendium North American Tour Finalizes in NYCDecayMag.com VNV Nation Compendium Tour

VNV Nation commemorates 20 years of Music Contribution

Artist: VNV Nation
Tour: Compendium North America Tour
1995-2015 20 Years of Work
Venue: PlayStation Arena
Location: New York City, NY
Date: October 29, 2016

 

Listen to our Exclusive interview with Ronan Harris, VNV Nation via the embedded player below.

Overview:

Ronan Harris and Mark Jackson are the musical talents know worldwide as VNV Nation. VNV is an acronym for Victory Not Vengeance. Harris serves as the lyricist, a maestro of thought stimulating poetry. Each verse enthralls audiences with messages conveying human emotion and political protest. Ronan Harris also serves as vocalist and composes the accompanying electronic-driven compositions. Mark Jackson serves as the percussionist. Jackson delivers a unique energy, a rhythmic essence that animates the listener.

In 1995 VNV Nation released their first studio album Advance and Follow. The release emerged off of Discordia. In 1999 VNV Nation returned with a restructured soundscape. Praise the Fallen released under Wax Trax! / TVT. Empires also released in that same year via Metropolis Records.

Many consider Praise the Fallen and Empires as the defining moment for VNV Nation. I concur. The majority of songs from these releases became dancefloor anthems. “Joy” “Rubicon” and “Honour” received heavy rotation at Industrial music themed nightclubs worldwide. Songs from each album continue to have inclusion on DJ sets to this day.

On a personal note, my first introduction to VNV Nation occurred during my club era. The venue was The Batcave, a once popular, now-defunct nightclub in New York City. Praise the Fallen and Empires served as the soundtrack to that turbulent period of my life.

Ronan Harris and Mark Jackson continue to awaken the hearts and minds of the masses. Each new album contains melancholy, despair as well as hope and initiative. Twenty years have since passed and the Irish, English duo have no sign of retiring from what they do best.

Today VNV Nation continue to redefine the indie electro music scene. In 2015 VNV Nation set aside electronic soundscapes for a live orchestra. The album titled Resonance features earlier releases. Each track reintroduced with accompaniment from the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg. Resonance released under VNV Nation’s Anachron Sounds label.

The Compendium North America / European Tour commemorates the twenty years of work. Playstation Theater, New York City became last stop in the Compendium North America tour. DecayMag’s Ken Artuz and Enid Artuz were in attendance to this monumental gala. Below is our coverage of the event.

Discography references

Concert:

Compendium wasn’t our maiden viewing of VNV Nation live in concert. In fact, this would be our third experience as part of the audience. Yet, Compendium is a milestone as it is the first time viewing VNV Nation under the DecayMag banner.

VNV Nation’s latest visit to New York City conjured a diverse crowd. As attendees gathered within the subterranean concert arena two observations became clear. From our vantage point, members of the audience had an age range between preteen to plus fifty-something. This attendance exemplifies the allure only VNV Nation can offer.

DecayMag.com VNV Nation Compendium Tour NYC 10.29.2016

Of utmost surprise were the few adorned in fashion related to Industrial, Goth subculture. This scenario is a stark difference to the early days of VNV Nation.

“What a beautiful crowd. What a beautiful collection of people you are”

“This is a right way to do this let’s bring everybody together , Let’s party together, Let’s sing together”

Ronan Harris VNV Nation, PlayStation Theater NYC

Ronan Harris captivated the crowd reciting the gospels of “Beloved”, “Epicenter”, “Control”, and Illusion”. VNV Nation delivered a performance that can be best summed as a euphoric ascension. Each song elevated with tonality. The audience were content being passengers on the metaphorical and riveting ride.

Harris paced across the stage delivering each anthem with an immeasurable passion. Members of the audience absorbed the performance with individual fashion. Most swayed to Jackson’s hypnotic percussion. Others chanted along with Harris as he delivered his poetic arrangements.

At 9:50PM, VNV Nation exited the stage for a five-minute break. The intermission triggered “VNV” to erupt across the throng of enthusiasts. Cheers and applause showered VNV Nation as they returned to the stage. Each musician positioned himself at his designated station and continued their engaging auditory assault on the masses.

A picturesque sight unfolded as VNV Nation performed “Nova”. Instead of lighters, a modern approach was used to illuminate the song. Lights emanated from each audience member’s cell phone. The technology based flame cast a divine entity above the crowd. The sight, the lyrics and the experience merit no words. It was a sight beyond explanation with an emotional complexity difficult to decipher.

DecayMag.com VNV Nation Compendium Tour NYC 10.29.2016

The highlight of the evening occurred within nearing final hour of the concert. Stephan Groth from Apoptygma Berzerk made a special guest appearance. Much to our surprise Groth sat next to us before his performance. The crowd ignited with excitement as Harris recited the introductory passage to “Kathy’s Song”.

Both Groth and Harris invited crowd participation. It is at this point the theater came alive. Resonating off each dark painted wall within the PlayStation Theater was the chorus;

Come lie next to me, Know why, you and me are one. Come lie next to me,
No lies, you and me are one

The electricity from the audience opposed measurable scale. It is not every day two iconic figures from the indie electronic genre share the stage for one event. “Kathy’s Song” conjures great memories. Released in 2000, it is one of the defining songs from Apoptygma Berzerk.

Ronan Harris introduced “Perpetual” with the following statement;

“You have to know what this is. its okay, we’ve met people at the shows who only discovered VNV a couple of days before the concert because they saw there was a band playing and thought ‘we’ll go check it out’ and have since become completely lunatic fans.”

Ronan Harris VNV Nation, PlayStation Theater NYC

As “Solitary” opens Ronan Harris delivered the following instructions;

“…All I ever ask is that you sing or you dance or you move but do something, pLease do something. So let’s go!”

 Ronan Harris VNV Nation, PlayStation Theater NYC

Audiences complied with Harris’ directions. Yet, the proposal wasn’t needed. “Solitary” is a club anthem classic. The song’s pulsating electronic beats are dance inducing.

It is difficult to remain motionless through the duration of “Solitary“. We noted one woman sitting in a chair unable to dance from what appeared to be a leg injury. Yet, she raised her hands and crutch to the beat of the song. That is dedication!

After “Solitary” Ronan Harris, Mark Jackson and accompanying audio programmers assembled on stage. VNV Nation took a moment to reflect with the audience. Harris stated the following;

“When we were playing solitary all i can think of was two guys considerably younger….holding a pair of road flares at Albion, Batcave.”

The crowd erupted at the mention of this once prestigious Industrial music-themed night club. Harris continued….

“….because nobody could understand what these little fireworks we held in our hands over in Europe were, that ignited the speakers and cabinets one night. We had some crazy early days….

“We went from those days in 1990 to here and my God I see so many people here who were there, who’ve been there all these years, who have joined us along the way.”

“….People, Friends thank you for an amazing evening and for being a part of something that’s just bigger than all of us.”

 Ronan Harris VNV Nation, PlayStation Theater NYC


The final song VNV Nation performed was “Resolution”. Listening to the lyrics one would interpret the message as the continuance. The poem reflects moving onward despite obstacles. The song is fitting to describe VNV Nation’s musical journey. Here’s to another twenty years!

In conclusion: 

VNV Nation delivers another phenomenal production. Ronan Harris engages the audience with jokes and personal thoughts between songs. Yet, the performance is serious in tone. The songs speak volumes. These tracks are more than the typical dance floor, foot stomping auditory pleasure. In a genre where distorted angst filled vocals is the norm VNV Nation rises above with a sense of purpose.

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Ken Artuz is Co-Owner of Meca Ex Studios LLC. Artuz is a New York City Based Photographer with proficiency in Photoshop. His digital artwork was featured in exhibitions SOHO, NYC, twice. Artuz is a graduate of The Institute of Audio Research where he earned his degree in Audio Engineering and Record Production. He also earned certification in Television Production and Field Recording at Lehman College. For Horror Artuz Favors French Extremism and Indie productions. He is a novelist, and screenwriter listens to EBM, Industrial & Witch house and is an avid MMA sports fan. Ken Artuz will create a media empire built on the DecayMag Brand.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I was there, the show was amazing, it was my first VNV show. I just said fuck it and drove through 4 states to see them live for the first time, no plans. It was worth it. I will not forget it. When I heard ‘Illusion’ I just teared up.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience/comment.
      Am pleased to hear you had a great time at the concert. It was a gala not to be missed.
      Hope you’ll be in attendance for the next VNV Nation tour, we will.

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