Von Hertzen Brothers/Goldray – Bristol, The Fleece – 12 November 2017 Print E-mail
Written by David O'Neill   
Friday, 24 November 2017 04:20

This was a gig I was looking forward to after seeing the VHBs at Steelhouse in 2016. Mikko and Kie Von Hertzen really rocked up the mountain that year and my mate Jon was so blown away that he has been “fangirling” Mikko ever since. It was only a matter of when we’d see them again and not if. The announcement of their headline tour supporting the new album ‘War Is Over’ meant not only a chance to get up close and personal (The Fleece is a cosy venue with a capacity of 450) but to listen to new music also.




I had a sneaky peak of the album when I reviewed it for UR prior to the release date. I have to say I was wondering how some of the tracks would transfer to the live show but was not at all disappointed. The very partisan crowd included some fans from Finland and others who had seen the VHBs at Hard Rock Hell in Pwllheli the day before.


Anyway, the support act was a psychedelic rock band called Goldray. Having listened to some of their tracks on Spotify I had an idea what to expect. They are a mix of Jefferson Airplane and the vocals of Kate Bush, The musicianship of ex-Reef guitarist Kenwyn House, Geoff Laurens (bass) and Chris Hardwick (drums) created an all-encompassing rock driven sound for the 4 song set of Out Loud, Diamond Road, Oz and Soulchild. There is no doubting the influences of the band in the sound nor appearance of bandmembers in embroidered Sgt Pepper like jackets and Leah Rasmussen in a black and gold mini dress topped off with a lacy cape and hair that would have sent Cher into an apoplectic spin in her heyday. Having also appeared at HRH on the Saturday the band were very well-rehearsed and it was a set that was enjoyed by many of the now swelling crowd.


After a brief interlude to allow instrument changes the VHBs entered onto the stage to the backing track introduction to War is Over. I wondered how this would translate to the live show as a 12-minute epic on the album, but the time signature changes and energy provided by the band kept every one of the crowd in raptures. A careful listen to the end will put you in mind of ‘Squonk’ by Genesis.




This was rapidly followed by one of my personal favourites on the album, ‘Jerusalem’. The band had obviously had a change of heart from one of the earlier gigs on the tour, as their next two tracks were the wonderful ‘Coming Home’ and ‘Insomnia’ from ‘9 Lives’. ‘Who Are You’ and the single ‘The Arsonist’ were met with equal enthusiasm, especially as Mikko said the latter was written about the one person who had “totally f***ed me up”.


‘Frozen Butterflies’ (another of my favourites from ‘War Is Over’) was followed by ‘Long Lost Sailor’. It was obviously becoming an album promotion tour (and why the hell not when an album is this good!). ‘Sunday Child’ from ‘New Day Rising’ was flawlessly followed by ‘Flowers’ and ‘Rust And Glory (Stars Aligned)’ before the last song of the set, ‘Beyond the Storm’.


The encore was basically just Mikko and Jonne duetting on ‘Wanderlust’ (until Mikko forgot the words), saying “hey, it is a new song”. At this point he announced ‘New Day Rising’, and the crowd went wild for the last song of the set. The band were soaked in sweat from the energy they bring to their performance, then huge thanks for the crowd who slowly drifted into the Bristol Sunday night.


Great night, no complaints. Will definitely see the Von Hertzen Brothers again, and also go to another gig in the Fleece (depending on the music of course).


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