Sisters of Mercy – London Roundhouse

We just went to see the Sisters (honest we are not a Goth band) at the Roundhouse in London’s Chalk Farm. Last time we saw them I was a bit disappointed, but they played well tonight.

Opening with First and Last and Always a selection of songs including Alice, Marian, A Rock and Hard Place followed, before things went a bit mad with Dominion and This Corrosion from the Floodland album. There was also some newer stuff (well post 1990’s Vision Thing anyway) , that I’m not so familiar with as it has never been released.

The first encore included predictably More, while the second hit us with Lucretia and a storming full on metal Vision Thing before closing with Temple of Love.

One thing that does bother me about the present line up is that they rely too much on computers for backing the guitars and Andrew Eldritch’s voice, I’d like to see a proper bass player back in the band. I’d also like to see some new material officially released too.

Anyhow here they are from the good old days when nobody minded being a Goth with Wayne Hussey and the underrated guitarist Gary Marx, who went on to form Ghostdance with Anne Marie Hurst from the Skeletal Family.

And a nice one from the Patricia Morrison days shot in Jordan’s fantastic lost city of¬† Petra

So are they Goths, well a lot of their fans are and I don’t understand why Andrew Eldritch seems so bothered by the label.

Now while I enjoyed the gig it’s a shame the same can’t be said for the audience, while many were just out for a fun night and they were absolutely fine, some of them were right wankers, thinking nothing of pushing people about with no regard for their size or age, just so they could to get to the front, what a bunch of twats. And the Roundhouse seriously needs to sort out the problems with its exits before they end up with mass fatalities on the stairs.

Mission to Brixton

Last night we crossed the border into south London to catch the Goth triple bill at the Brixton Academy. Getting there was an adventure in itself as London Transport had closed the Victoria Line for ‘essential maintenance’ , so we had to catch one of the two trains every hour from Victoria main line station. It had been a long time since we had last been to the Academy, so we followed some Goths until we found the end of the queue snaking two sides around the block from the venue.

By the time we got inside Gene Loves Jezebel had almost finished their set. I had only a passing acquaintance with the band in the mid eighties and never got to see them live. Still sharp of cheekbones if not as luxuriant of hair , Jay Aston and crew knocked out a few familiar numbers before finishing on Desire, mine and the gradually increasing crowd’s favourite number.

Dry ice, stetsons, dust coats and guitars, it could only be The Fields of the Nephilim. I always thought they were one of the more interesting goth bands with their Sergio Leone derived image and the Morricone  inspired music. More ugly prog goth than pretty boy wasted goth. By Preacher Man the crowd were going nuts, forming human pyramids and idiot dancing as the bass notes reverberated up my spine. I like to say it took me back to my misspent youth, only I was about 30 when this came round the first time!

The mayhem continued with Moonchild, Psychonaut and a Last Exit for the Lost that would have rivaled peak period Hawkwind for its hypnotic trance like intensity. Guitars bass and drums with Carl McCoy swinging the mike stand and shouting over the top, it was rock music as it’s meant to be that still stands up pretty well twenty odd years later on.

I wish it could have been the same for The Mission. Two numbers from their crap (post the Children album) period was not the best way to start the set. Things got a momentarily better with The Serpent’s Kiss,

which still sounded fab, but a lot of the material hadn’t dated well. Don’t get me wrong it was still good to hear Wasteland, Severina and Garden of Delight, but whereas the Nephilim were as good, if not better than I have ever seen them before, the Mission were not a patch on what they were like in those heady days of 1987-88. Maybe things got better with the encore, but we had to leave to catch our train, how very un Rock’n’Roll.

The Brixton Academy is an interesting building. It was built in 1929 as a theatre and cinema, The Astoria and it still retains much of its Art Deco interior and a sumptuous Moorish proscenium arch. As the Brixton Sundown it was where Hawkwind recorded part of the classic Space Ritual set in 1972. Shame it has such an expensive bar and woefully inadequate and quite disgusting toilets though.