It was a chiaroscuro evening of dancing and singing at the Gramercy Theatre on a mild April night in Manhattan with The 69 Eyes, with their style of brash gothic hard rock, backed up by the Bites and Budderside taking over Gotham City. Having an hour to spare before doors opened at 6:30 PM, I enjoyed a medium-rare Eastsider Burger and a grilled chicken salad at my favorite restaurant in the East Village, Paul’s Da Burger Joint, and then coasted towards the venue.

First up was a solid set of Los Angeles-bred mechanized hard rock from Budderside. Not only did Budderside sound good, but the entire band amped up the crowd like how Motorhead did when Lemmy Kilmister was alive. Budderside turned in a terrific performance and discharged enough energy for the Bites further to kick out their style of high-voltage hard rock.

The Bites is best described as Hollywood’s hottest new rock band. Manhattan slowly realized that this air-raiding quintet would have stolen the show had they been opening for any other band. More than a simplified incarnation of Rival Sons, the Bites with Zack Currier (bassist) kept the bottom end locked-in like a beast and Jordan Tyler commanding the raucous throughout the auditorium, sang with swagger and razzed the audience for a half-hour and then some, looking and sounding like Jay Buchanan and Stephen Pearcy from an alternate dimension.. Most impressive is considering this gig was the second to last show of this US circuit with the 69 Eyes it was a special hometown performance for Manhattan native Jono Richer (guitarist) with some of his friends and family hopping around in the crowd! Before their set came to a close with a cool drum solo from Mark Hylander and Do Me a Favor, featuring the surprise double axe attack of Jono and Jordan ripping into what sounded like the revved-up part of Whitesnake’s Still of the Night, the expanding house who were arriving for the headliner became aware of what great, live, and real rock is supposed to be. If you’ve seen the 69 Eyes, you know they’re a unique act to follow. The musicianship from the Bites was incredible enough to illuminate the darkly dudes and sultry gothitelles for the Helsinki vampires.

With the sun fully set and the moon casting twilight on the city that never sleeps, the vampiric ritual of the night arrived sermonized by the charismatic Helsinki vampires, the 69 Eyes. With a snide sneer and youthful vigor, they are a band that has taken pride in providing ecstasies of never-ending night since embracing the midnight hour in 1989. But their modern look and style are more refined, and their sound is much more inky, tough, and Danzig-inspired than most of the decadent glam metal bands from that decade. Thirty-five years later, the Duke of Gloom Jyrki 69 can still dominate on the stage like an absolute crimson baron. If a Type O Negative tribute event takes place in Brooklyn, with 2025 being the fifteenth anniversary of Peter Steele’s passing, I’m sure Jyrki would be honored to handle vocal duties alongside Pallbearer’s Brett Campbell and Trivium’s Matt Heafy with Type O’s surviving members hosting the celebration.
A majority of the finest devils, ghosts, vampire freaks, wolves, and a few wendigos from New York and presumably other parts of the tri-state danced in an unholy penumbra of neon black and ultra-violet purple for an hour and fifteen as the 69 Eyes summoned sixteen doomy tales of the macabre like Devils, Drive, Never Say Die, and many more. All types of Alphabet City rave’n dancing were encouraged. The crowd was lively but not as energized as I expected. That didn’t matter, as I leaped in place and waved my arms around like a viridian Gumby on the dance floor. It was still pure gutter-driven rock and roll attitude for the Gramercy Theatre to witness. The 69 Eyes gave us the songs, they gave us the combustible reasons to bounce, and they gave us another hot and supercharged Friday night out. Their return to bite down the Big Apple was everything we hoped for and more. Add that to the off-the-rails riffs and tasty melodies; you have got yourself an ever-black seance presided by the goth rock troubadours in Jyrki 69, Bazie, Timo-Timo, Archzie, and Jussi 69 showing some of the new members of the Helsinki vampires the way out with Lost Boys to wrap up a great set covering new songs and some graveyard classics. Put it all together, and that’s how the Finnish creatures love to do it up. Overall, it was a live-wire evening from the 69 Eyes, the Bites, and Budderside banging out the kind of music that makes you want to dance or fuck or kick some ass! It was fun! It was rowdy! It was awesome!