LIVE REVIEW – Sisters of Mercy – The Gov -Sunday 27 October 2019
Words Geoff Jenke
I last saw Sisters of Mercy at one of the Soundwave festivals where they played a side stage completely engulfed with fog. It was a slightly windy night and they must have had an industrial sized fog machine because you could barely see any of the band members. Tonight, in the confines of The Gov, nothing had changed.
The fog was already engulfing the stage for support Subtract S. I have to admit not knowing this band, but the four-piece certainly put effort into their set of original songs. However, it was the mix/sound that let them down. There was an underlying sound of syth, but really all one could hear is the bass and drums. You could not hear the guitar at all. Under this wall of distortion, there sounded like some good songs. A mate told me he had seen them before in smaller venues and they had the sound right and they are good. I will leave it at that and check them out at a later date.
As the road crew set up the stage, the fog intensified and the room was filling with fog fast. (Even the toilets down the corridor had fog in them). The room had also filled with people and while not a sold-out gig, it was close, such was the pull of this goth/post punk band. I came in a little late with Sisters of Mercy, being hooked by the song More and then their third and final album Vision Thing.
I was very surprised when they opened the night with the song More, with singer Andrew Eldritch moving amongst the fog, walking in and out of the many spot lights lighting up the stage from the front and rear of the stage. A truly magical sight. The sound was distinctly Sisters and the vocals, while slightly subdued, spot on. Ribbons from the same album as More, Vision Thing came next and I knew this was going to be a great evening.
The yet to be released, Crash & Burn has been played live for nearly 20 years now, yet still sounds like a new number. We were treated to tracks from all 3 albums and also the title track from their debut 1983 E.P. Alice. The audience, all dressed in black, well, except me, in my denim shirt, danced as one, arms up in the air.
Acoustic guitar came out for I Was Wrong and stayed out for Flood 2 adding a new layer to the music. And we got a couple of new numbers in Better Reptile and Show Me on The Doll, proof there is still life in the Sisters of Mercy. Let’s hope we get a new album soon. A word about the two guitarists. They were simply amazing, playing to and for the audience, often peering into the lens of mobile phones being held up.
The encore was a rush of sound with Lucretia My Reflection getting a wild cheer when it started. The sound didn’t let up (neither did the fog) with the song Vision Thing being played and followed by a double hit of sonic noise with Temple of Love and This Corrosion.
Make no doubt, this is Andrew Eldritch’s band but he will always be welcome back, no matter who he is playing with. Tonight, he showed that while he has only released 3 albums under the name Sisters of Mercy, they are all filled with killer tracks.
I was smiling as much as the next person as we walked out of the room. The 80’s were back for just one wonderful evening.