9th November 2017
The Mission & Holygram
It was absolutely no surprise that the show on 9th November at the Zeche in Bochum was a sellout. Legendary act THE MISSION, who work musical wonders since their 1986 debut ‘God's Own Medicine’, were in town to take their truly passionate fans on an exciting trip across their discography. It was “back in 1984” that Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams were playing here the last time. And when the vocalist asked the international crowd who had been there as well 33 years ago, almost everybody cheered and applauded making the front man laugh. Spirits were high that night, on and in front of the stage, the sound superb, and THE MISH’s music performed live simply stunning. The band took us on a sonic stroll through the ‘Garden of Delight’ and after walking the ‘Wasteland’ we were eventually ‘Coming Home’ - what a delightful evening with THE MISSION, what a ‘Deliverance’!
Friends and fans of darkened sensibilities looked forward to the special guests HOLYGRAM sharing their “music for the lost”. The last time I personally had the pleasure of encountering the Cologne-based Post Punk/ Wave act was in July when they were opening the Theatre Stage at this year's Amphi Festival. It's been almost a year that they've released their self-titled debut EP presenting five well-composed tunes on tape and as a download. HOLYGRAM's mission is to create a “sinister soundtrack for the city at twilight” and the talented band knows exactly how to bring this soundtrack live to the stage to unfold its vibes - driving gloom as we love it. Fittingly, the four musicians were shrouded in wafts of stage fog and were only dimly lit by obscure lights. // http://holygram.band / https://www.facebook.com/holygram.official
Music & Performance
With brooding New Wave melancholia, memorable melodies, dreamy reverb vocals, and intense bursts of Industrial Krautrock noise the compelling combo HOLYGRAM successfully managed to grab the audience's attention and captivate their senses. Starting with the atmospheric ‘Hideaway’ and ending with propulsive ‘Distant Light’ the band played a 40-minute-long set of seven unique and mesmerizing tunes that are reminiscent of the good old Goth days and yet at the same time fit our times. HOLYGRAM put on a beautiful, haunting, and thanks to the great rhythm party of the band also driving show. I have to make the observation that audiences in general seem to be a wee bit shy these days to make a lot of noise for bands that they might not be familiar with even when they clearly enjoyed the concert. Still one could see that the Bochum crowd got charmed and carried away by HOLYGRAM. I bet they made yet again some new fans who join in the waiting for the act's first long-player. So it's clear: The youngish HOLYGRAM together with ageless THE MISSION were just the perfect brew! Cheers.
05. She's Like The Sun
06. Still There
07. Distant Light
Total: 8.8 / 10
THE MISSION stand for hymnal Goth Rock at its finest. Do Wayne Hussey (vocals, guitar), Simon Hinkler (guitar), Craig Adams (bass), Mike Kelly (drums) really need an introduction? We don't think so. Their latest opus ‘Another Fall from Grace’, once again produced by Tim Palmer, came out last year and was, is and will be celebrated all around the globe for its brilliance. On 11th December the double live album titled ‘Bending the Arc’ will be out. It captures a rehearsal that took place on 7th November attended by a group of fans and focuses “on more recent releases and live versions of rarely recorded songs previously such as ‘Like A Child Again’ and ‘Swoon,’ to name but two,” as Hussey tells us. Before the Bochum gig THE MISSION were in Amsterdam and brought over a few Dutch fans. And after making one more European stop in Belgium the band would be heading back home to tour with ALICE COOPER. Wayne included Cooper's ‘School's Out’ in the playlist to be played before the sound check and we actually got to hear it twice before THE MISH hit the Zeche stage. // http://www.themissionuk.com / https://www.facebook.com/themissionuk
Music & Performance
THE MISSION's gig in Bochum, the only one on German soil this winter, was... well... a show leaving you speechless in awe. As we all know, the combo around Mr. Hussey isn't just cult for its releases but also for being a first-class live band. The sound was crystal-clear and well-mixed making the concert an aural treat from the first to the last song. In fact, we got two beginnings that night. After the Oriental sounds of the intro, Wayne was the first to hit the stage and soon the others followed to get the party started with ‘Tower Of Strengths’. But then the laptop being responsible for the background tunes suddenly decided to die on us. Wayne started to entertain the audience singing the ELVIS classic ‘Can't Help Falling in Love’. As the repair work went on the band left the stage. But there's nothing a little (or a lot of) duct tape can't fix, right? And so, after about quarter of an hour, the ever enthusiastic MISH fans got the chance to greet the band one more time.
Remember my earlier comment about “shy” crowds? Well, when it comes to exceptional musicians and their die-hards one can obviously expect less stoicism and more sparkish enthusiasm. From the photographer's pit one could see all those front row happy faces and a lots of grins. The passionate sing-along and rhythmic arm stretching toward the stage started right from the opening track ‘Tower of Strength’ from ‘Children’ (1988). The second anthemic single ‘Beyond the Pale’ followed. What a great beginning indeed. Girls were sitting on the guys' shoulders celebrating THE MISSION's powerful melodies. Later on, during the sweet and poppy ballad ‘Butterfly on a Wheel’ a woman with a colourful flag put around her shoulders was smiling blissfully and flapping the cloth like butterfly wings. For the almost seven-minute-long, divine last song ‘Deliverance’ a fan was even standing on his mate's shoulders while others were supporting his feet.
It was such a joy to experience wonderful music performed by truly professional musicians who've obviously mastered their instruments years ago and show their joy of playing. "Do you like my new guitar," Wayne asked the crowd holding the glittery one - one of six, if I counted correctly, that were called into action in turns. "I lost my other one, well, I didn't lose it; someone else lost it for me," he told us while taking a cooling break. His vocals were outstanding and the thrilled audience sang along all those beloved classics such as ‘Severina’ and ‘Garden of Delight’ at the top of their voices holding their arms aloft. Simon nailed it with his virtuosic style of playing and the rhythm faction Adams & Kelly are a guarantee for the groove. Towards the end of ‘Wasteland,’ Wayne made fun of Mike, but of course jokingly, saying: “He thinks he's in a f*cking Jazz band - stupid.”
During the calmer moments of ‘Swoon’ it seemed as if THE MISSION were channelling the ghost of BOWIE. Marvellous. Moreover, the band also played three new pieces from their latest opus. I was looking forward to hearing the rocking hit single ‘Met-Amor-Phosis’ and, of course, THE MISSION nailed it. Craig and Mike supported Wayne with the backing vocals and the one and only thing that would've made it even more magical was if Ville Valo of HIM, one of the guest vocalists on the record, miraculously also had appeared on stage for this one. For the melancholic ‘Can't See The Ocean For The Rain’ Stanley handed Wayne one of his acoustic guitars - wonderful tune. And also the suspenseful and yet fierce ‘Tyranny Of Secrets’ (please sing with a rolled "r") was celebrated greatly. Screams, applause and whistling from the audience.
The driving ‘Coming Home’, the intro title of "Blue" (1996), was a great encore opener and Wayne commented laughingly: "You didn't know that one, did you? Maybe some of you did, but not most of you." After the dramatic and heartfelt title ‘Belief’, the amazing ‘Swan Song’ was up next. The sold-out venue singing its chorus in unison - "Wonderful! Beautiful! Just give me your hands, just give me your hands" - made ones skin crawl. After this first encore the Zeche crowd brought back THE MISSION by turning into an a cappella choir chanting “Give me, give me, give me, deliverance / Brother, sister, give me, give me / Deliverance, deliver me” - and ‘Deliverance’ is what we got after the incomparable ‘Marian’, which Hussey composed for THE SISTERS OF MERCY's ‘First And Last And Always’ (1985). And with the parting words: “As always, thank you! Bochum!” Mr Hussey & Co. left the stage leaving behind their more than satisfied legion of fans.
01. Tower Of Strength
02. Can't Help Falling in Love (ELVIS PRESLEY cover)
03. Beyond The Pale
04. Serpent's Kiss
05. Garden Of Delight
06. Tyranny Of Secrets
09. Can't See The Ocean For The Rain
10. Like A Child Again
11. Butterfly On A Wheel
14. Coming Home
16. Swan Song
17. Marian (THE SISTERS OF MERCY cover)
Total: 10 / 10
All pictures by LAy