Gleis 22, Münster, Germany
2nd December 2009
Wayne Hussey, Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls
WAYNE HUSSEY drew the curtain over THE MISSION in 2008 but that doesn’t mean that he stopped touring altogether. In 2009, HUSSEY returned for a series of acoustic gigs in small and intimate clubs, and he even brought a music legend with him as a special guest - MILES HUNT of THE WONDER STUFF.
Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls
Miles Hunt, founding member of THE WONDER STUFF, and his partner Erica Nockalls are special guests on Wayne Hussey’s solo tour 2009. THE WONDER STUFF enjoyed major success in Great Britain in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with several top ten albums and the number one chart single ‘Dizzy’. In a poll, THE WONDER STUFF was even voted for the second best British band of all times, straight after THE BEATLES. Outside the UK, the band has never managed to gain a similar popularity as in their home country, where they still play to large crowds since their reunion in 2000. 26-year old violinist Erica Nockalls joined THE WONDER STUFF in 2006, and Hunt scheduled acoustic solo tours between THE WONDER STUFF DATES. http://www.myspace.com/theactualmileshunt / http://www.myspace.com/ericanockalls
Music & Performance
To some fans at the Gleis 22 club it was pretty odd that someone like Miles Hunt stands behind the merch booth at a club with hardly over 100 attendees to sell his own CDs and shirts. This guy used to be a major chart artist and headlined the biggest UK festivals with his band, after all.
But there’s no need to pity demise in a career of once big artist, the performance of Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls made it very clear that Hunt tours and plays live simply because that’s what he enjoys most. And Germany has never been WONDER STUFF territory, so a wee gig at a small club here does not necessarily mark any demise in Hunt’s career. Nockalls seems to be the perfect muse for Hunt, her violin playing is a perfect match to Hunt’s acoustic guitar, which he plays with quite some energy and passion. Nockalls also delivers vocals for some songs later in the set, and her voice is surprisingly beautiful which makes you wonder why the duo doesn’t make use of it more often. Hunt entertains the small crowd with witty remarks and little stories between the songs, like the story when Wayne Hussey steered the tour bus when a tyre exploded. Hussey managed to stop the car safely and “saved our lives”, as Hunt says, and continued “I know it’s a stupid joke but whenever I play this song I have to think of this moment. This is ‘Mission Drive’!” Before you ask - yes, the pun was intended. An entertaining 45 minutes full of THE WONDERSTUFF goodies and solo material!
Total: 8.2 / 10
WAYNE HUSSEY hardly needs a long introduction for Reflections of Darkness readers, as his former band THE MISSION was always a fave of our editorial staff. In 2008, THE MISSION embarked on a final tour, captured on the DVD ‘The Final Chapter’. HUSSEY co-founded THE MISSION as a spin-off from THE SISTERS OF MERCY in 1985, and although THE MISSION stopped all activities after 23 years, WAYNE HUSSEY still tours occasionally as a solo artist. Before the final THE MISSION tour WAYNE HUSSEY recorded a solo album called ‘Bare’, which was subsequently sold at THE MISSION shows only. HUSSEY deliberately decided against using a record label as a distribution channel, so the album was really only available at those shows. ‘Bare’ features a lot of cover versions plus a few THE MISSION songs in a much stripped down renditions. HUSSEY says himself "The versions are loosely based on my solo shows although the mood is more torch songs, more late at night after a couple of bottles of red [wine] and having just been dumped by the love of your life". Despite the initial plan not to release ‘Bare’ on a record label, it was now released in Germany via Echozone/Sony on October 23rd. The Sony version features four bonus tracks which are live versions recorded at HUSSEY’s solo show in Bochum in 2008. http://www.themissionuk.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/waynehussey
Music & Performance
When WAYNE HUSSEY announces a solo show you can take it literally - it’s really just him, his guitar and an e-piano, perfect for an intimate setting like at the rather small Gleis 22, where only a bit more than 100 fans gathered to listen to HUSSEY’s renditions of personal faves and old THE MISSION classics. The performed songs are beautiful, dramatic and often rather melancholic and HUSSEY’s comments between the songs are quite the opposite. Looking for direct contact with his audience from minute one, HUSSEY’s witty and sometimes silly remarks caused laughter frequently, and sipping a bottle of red wine he was in a pretty talkative mood. A side of HUSSEY which was probably unknown to some, as he couldn’t show this side of his stage personality when playing larger crowds with THE MISSION. He started with ‘Beyond the Pale’ but actually there was no fixed setlist, HUSSEY often asked “So what you wanna hear?” and satisfied in an instant any song request. Pretty amazing! At times he mimed the clueless Rock star and murmured “Hm, how does it go again?” but that always followed by a pretty stunning rendition of the respective song. This man must have most of his back catalogue in the back of his mind, always ready to call a song forward! HUSSEY threw in a few personal faves between requests, like cover versions of DAVID BOWIE’s ‘Ashes to Ashes’, THE CURE’s ‘A Night like This’, or DEPECHE MODE’S ‘Never Let Me Down Again’.
He also presented two new and yet unreleased songs, and couldn’t resist to pull the leg of the fans. “So who likes to hear some old songs?”, and after a loud response from the audience he said “Okay, here’s a new one, because I prefer to play new ones!” What a cheeky bastard! HUSSEY switched from the acoustic guitar to the e-piano a couple of times during the performance though he seemed to prefer the guitar. Of course a whole lot of THE MISSION songs were also featured in the night’s set, last but not least because people were requesting them. HUSSEY performed a very beautiful version of ‘Butterfly on a Wheel’ on the piano, and old classics like ‘Severina’ or “Deliverance” were of cause well received and made everyone humming along. The intimacy of the gig and HUSSEY’s charisma makes sure that he doesn’t lose the attention of the audience in one single moment. Wearing dark sunglasses at this small dark club, he drinks another sip of wine, complains about the quality of the wine he was offered backstage at first, and then continues to talk about his first visit to the city of Münster with THE SISTERS OF MERCY. He asks if anyone was at that show back then, and when one fan holds his hand up he jokingly just says “You old bastard!” But HUSSEY also loves to poke fun at himself and his own songs just alike, and in a more serious tone he claimed that his voice wasn’t the best as he was playing shows six nights in a row already. In fact his voice was great, ranging from rough and deep to melodic and majestic, and his performance puts a lot of other artist to shame. A true professional!
For the great finale, WAYNE HUSSEY played a long medley of various songs, starting and ending with ‘Wasteland’ and featuring snippets of ‘Like a Hurricane’ or ‘Amelia’, and RADIOHEAD’s ‘Lucky’. HUSSEY was so much into it that at one point I asked myself if he’d ever stop, but this medley in particular sent shivers down your spine several times. HUSSEY then tells the audience “Miles just told me that I’ve already played for two hours - sorry!” and exits the backstage to have a “cold falafel” backstage. But after such a splendid evening the audience would not want him to go without a few more songs, so HUSSEY returned quickly. For the first song of the encore, ‘Like a Child Again’, Erica Nockalls joined him on stage to add some extra texture with her violin. For the last song of the night, Miles Hunt also joins them with his guitar for a powerful performance of one of the biggest THE MISSION classics, ‘Tower Of Strength’. A glorious song to end a glorious night!
Setlist [source: http://www.waynehussey.de]
01. Beyond the pale
02. Shades of green
03. Blood brother
04. I`m falling (new song, working title)
05. Drown in blue
07. Ashes to ashes
08. Let sleeping dogs die
09. Dream on
11. A night like this
12. There`s nothing left between us (new song, working title)
13. With or without you
14. Sorry / Never let me down again
15. Butterfly on a wheel
16. Wasteland / Like a hurricane / Lucky / Amelia / Dancing barefoot / Wasteland
18. Like a child again (with Erica Nockalls)
19. Tower of strength (with Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls)
Total: 8.6 / 10
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com/ / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography)