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introFZW, Dortmund, Germany
24th September 2017
Sisters of Mercy, The Membranes

There are numerous acts in the so-called “Goth scene” who refuse to write and release new songs. Instead of creating something fresh they earn their money by putting out re-issues of old albums and playing lots of concerts. FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM, DAF (well, they at least released 2 new songs in the last years), FRONT 242, THE SISTERS OF MERCY - four famous names without any new output in the last decade. But nowadays one of those bands simply doesn't fit to the other three. FOTN, 242 and DAF at least convince their fans with energetic live performances while SISTERS' appearances just lead to continuous disappointments. Before Andrew Eldritch and his three exchangeable Minions on laptop and guitars entered the stage of the sold out FZW in Dortmund, we had the chance to witness a performance of a solid support.


The Membranes

THE MEMBRANES existed between 1977 und 1990, after a 20-year break the band around lead singer and bass player John Robb reunited in 2009. Six years later they released a critically acclaimed new album called ‘Dark Matter/Dark Energy’. www.themembranes.co.uk / https://www.facebook.com/theMembranes

themembranes1

Music & Performance
The quartet from Blackpool, England, plays dark lacquered Alternative-Rock with some Post-Punk influences, which often breaks the boundaries of genre-typical “Three and a half minute” songs. To be honest: It depends on personal taste if you like the extremely rough voice of Robb. All in all THE MEMBRANES delivered a decent 45-minute warm-up and left the stage by receiving a well-deserved applause.

Setlist
01. The Universe Explodes Into A Billion Photons Of Pure White Light
02. Dark Energy
03. In The Graveyard
04. Do The Supernova
05. Drone
06. Space Junk
07. Black Is The Colour
08. The Hum Of The Universe
09. Myths And Legends

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 6
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Rating: 7 / 10

themembranes2


Sisters of Mercy

Without any doubt, the SISTERS OF MERCY are pioneers of Goth Rock. Although lead singer Andrew Eldritch doesn't like the “Goth” label very much, their three studio albums ‘First and Last and Always’ (1985), ‘Floodland’ (1987) and ‘Vision Thing’ (1990) are honoured in the dark scene and influenced lots of other artists. Unfortunately no more LP followed. Instead of producing and writing new tunes, the band - now with Chris Catalyst and Ben Christo on guitars - concentrates on playing live shows. http://www.thesistersofmercy.com / https://www.facebook.com/TheSistersOfMercyOfficial

sisters1

Music & Performance
It became dark again in the venue at 9.15 pm. Biggest surprise of the evening: The band decided to abstain from one of their trademarks. There was nearly no fog on stage (at least compared to previous tours), so you were actually able to see the four protagonists on stage. In theory, this evening had to turn out great. A sold-out concert in a small venue, a legend on stage that plays all of its hits instead of filling up the setlist with mediocre new stuff. But even timeless hits like ‘More’, ‘Dominion’, ‘Marian’ and ‘First And Last And Always’ cannot satisfy a music lover when the lead singer sounds like Gollum on Ritalin. Some unmotivated grumbling here, some strange quacking there. That miserable vocal performance had nothing to do with the art of singing. In addition, both guitar players couldn't change anything with their thin background vocals.

sisters2

After the first five songs, first people went out of the FZW main hall, and not only to take a short cigarette break. They couldn't stand the horrible performance at all although the sound was absolutely acceptable in most parts of the venue (especially with ear plugs). When the main set ended after 60 minutes, the rear part of the hall was noticeable cleared up. At least those people who decided to endure this concert for more than 30 Minutes had to laugh hard at one point. A bittersweet and ironic laugh. Before ‘Marian’, Eldritch talked to the audience in German and said: “Jetzt fange ich an.” Literally translated: “Now I finally start to sing.” Spoiler alert: He didn't. Andrew, do us a favour: Stop it. Just stop it. Please. At least thumbs up for the stage design with lots of mirrors and the lights being reflected there. Maybe that was the reason for only decent smoke….

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Setlist
01. More
02. Ribbons
03. Doctor Jeep/Detonation Boulevard
04. Crash & Burn
05. No Time To Cry
06. Walk Away
07. Body & Soul
08. Marian
09. Alice
10. Arms
11. Dominion/Mother Russia
12. Summer
13. First And Last And Always
14. Rumble (Link Wray cover)
15. Flood II
---
16. Something Fast
17. That's When I Reach My Revolver (Mission of Burma cover)
18. Lucretia My Reflection
19. Temple Of Love
20. This Corrosion

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 2
Sound: 6
Light: 6
Rating: 5.5 / 10

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)

Comments   

+2 #1 Helen 2017-10-09 09:50
We all though the Membranes were by far the better band on the evening. A great new discovery for us as we had never heard of them before. From the imposing presence of the frontman to his great and varied voice and the driving bass this was a startlingly original new band for us and their performance was far more than a 6!
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