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Sisters of MurphyMetropole, Whitby, UK
26th October 2019
Whitby Goth Weekend by Mutant Movement with Sisters of Murphy, Killing Eve and Klammer

Whitby Gothic Weekend is probably the UK’s best-known Goth festival. Starting in 1994 as a small pub event it has grown and grown over the years. In many ways it has become a victim of its own success, through no fault of its own. Sure, the organisers have over the years had their problems, but the current position of the event becoming a mainstream (twice yearly) Halloween style street party / carnival cannot be laid at their door.

There are now fewer and fewer Goths attending the small Whitby seaside town each Goth Weekend, and it’s now filled with people not involved in the scene dressed in pantomime and Cosplay styles. Some of the costumes are frankly amazing, but not Goth, and not by Goths. It’s just been a gradual slip into being an appealing prospect for “non-Goths” to be involved. This will be my first attendance at the weekend for some seven years - and a quick look into the town confirms my fears that it’s even less suited to my tastes than I expected. I quickly made my way to the venue, hoping it would be full of people I can feel more akin too.

The promoters of Whitby Gothic Weekend lost the main concert venue in Whitby, apparently due to some kind of falling out with the local council. A rival festival, “Tomorrows Ghosts”, now has the hire of this venue - their festivals in 2019 are a few days later than Whitby Goth Weekend. I will be attending “Tomorrows Ghosts” in November to see CLAN OF XYMOX and SHE PAST AWAY. So, having said all of this, I made my way to the much smaller venue of the Metropole (also known as the Met Ballroom). The event is hosted and promoted by Mutant Movement, a well-known DJ and promoter from Leeds.


Klammer

This band first came to my attention a couple of years ago. A guitar driven band, formed in 2014, they can be described as having a Dark Wave Post-Punk sound. A four-piece band, formed by Steve Whitfield (THE CURE, THE MISSION) and consists of Steve on Guitar, Poss (vocals and guitar), Mike Addy (bass) and Rob Longley (drums). With a good repertoire of songs to choose from, and a heritage of playing popular festivals and supporting names such as THE SKIDS, THE UNDERTONES, RICHIE RAMONE, CHAMELEONS VOX, PENETRATION and THE MEMBRANES, this is an anticipated set. https://www.klammer.co.uk / https://www.facebook.com/klammerband

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Music & Performance
It’s always a difficult job opening a night’s entertainment. It’s still early when the band members take to the stage - about 6.15pm. The ballroom has around fifty people in attendance at this point. I had personal concerns about the attendees of Whitby Goth Events, especially after seeing the pantomime style of dress throughout the town - I felt comfortable with this crowd. But it has to be said the band deserves a larger audience. Many remain seated, and the members of the audience that do stand to join KLAMMER do so from a distance - throughout the gig there is a huge space left between the participating audience and the stage. As the gig progressed the ballroom filled, and several more joined the standing crowd - but still kept their distance, even with a plea from the band.

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Having said this, the set seemed to go down very well with the crowd, with appreciative applause and participation. I’m more of an electronic based band lover - I prefer an element of keyboards, which I always hanker. But I settled into KLAMMER’s live sound, it has a broody edgy quality about it, combined with a healthy dose of punk attitude. The sound for a small venue was very good, it was powerful and dynamic - at one point a guy came across, between tracks, and asked the band to lower the volume of all the amps. By all accounts they were breaking the law and above the legislated level. The DB level may have been lower, but none of the attitude driven power was lost.

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Boy, these guys can play. Sometimes Punk attitude is bravado for a poor level of playing - this is an act where the quality shines. Everything from the song writing, the playing, and the melodies (hooks to die for) and the production all edges them forward away from a standard festival opener. They live up to the hype of being the love child of XTC and THE GANG OF FOUR. I’d recommend them highly if you are a fan of guitar based Goth Rock / Post Punk / Darkwave. They are obviously not a cover band, but their interpretation of my favourite HUMAN LEAGUE track ‘Being Boiled’ was a true highlight of the evening for me - I didn’t miss the keys one little bit, a huge compliment. My love of electronics was also pampered to with the song ‘Heavy Weather’, but not with keys - the unusual inclusion of a Theremin. Good stuff. Oh, and as my photography company is called “Coast to Coast Image Works” I loved their track ‘Coast to Coast’ - well I had to didn’t I?

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Setlist
01. High Life
02. King
03. Heartworm
04. Coast to Coast
05. Progress
06. No Memory
07. Baddest Blocks
08. Tonight
09. Rising
10. A Long Cold Summer
11. Being Boiled
12. The Insider
13. Modern God
14. Spiral Girl
15. Heavy Weather

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 8
Light: 6
Sound: 8
Total: 7.3 / 10

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Killing Eve

Both, Andy Cuisin and Anne-Marie Hurst, need little introduction - both being on the Goth Rock scene since the 1980’s. Andy is best known for bass playing with ALL ABOUT EVE and THE MISSION and Anne-Marie with SKELETAL FAMILY and GHOST DANCE. KILLING EVE is a four piece band, joining Andy and Anne-Marie is the drummer from SKELETAL FAMILY, Adrian “Ozzy” Osadzenko, and Paul Reeder on lead guitar. https://www.killingeve.uk /https://www.facebook.com/wearekillingeve

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Music & Performance
KILLING EVE arrived on stage relatively quickly after KLAMMER. The ballroom was now filling - I’m guessing around 200-250 people - and more were now standing to watch the bands. However, there was still a large gap between the crowd and stage, quite unusual but helpful for me as a photographer with no pit. As the set progressed the members of the crowd used the space for dancing, with several girls participating. One of the same girls wanted to help me with my photography duties, I held the camera whilst she fired off several clicks of the shutter - Anne-Marie played to this unusual camera technique, poking her tongue cheekily. Unfortunately our combined efforts between myself and the girl wasn’t successful, sadly no usable images of this rather unique moment.

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I was expecting a high quality set this evening from KILLING EVE, with some fantastic playing - I was not disappointed. KILLING EVE’s overall sound isn’t too far away from SKELETAL FAMILY and ALL ABOUT EVE - and comes alive when played live. The outstanding vocals of Anne-Marie hasn’t faltered over the years - powerful when needed but exhibits a subtle tenderness when required. Emotion is a trademark of her voice, and this performance was no exception. It almost oozes with every note, I can feel the raw passion and sometimes even the spirit of being a Goth legend. She is putting her heart and soul into this, warmth and heartfelt she radiates a beauty through her voice that matches her own beauty - she hasn’t lost any of her sex appeal.

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Andy is a great player, with a distinct style. His production also shines through in this performance, the music has great depth. Ozzy plays drums admirably, something I admire when being self-taught and of course has a SKELETAL FAMILY quality. Paul didn’t let the side down; the band members are all a pleasure to watch (being quite animated) and can certainly perform well. It was a short set, I’m not familiar with any of the tracks, to be honest. The level of musicianship carried the performance - I enjoyed it very much and will be exploring their material from the comfort of my armchair.

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Setlist
01. Carousel
02. Love Bats
03. Jesus on my Own
04. Angel
05. Insania
06. Sharp Shooter
07. Story of K
08. Heaven
09. Killing Eve

Rating
Music: 7.5
Performance: 8
Light: 6
Sound: 8
Total: 7.4 / 10

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Sisters of Murphy

I’ve seen SISTERS OF MURPHY before, deep in my past. I used to be a party animal, a big drinker. As this gig loomed it dawned on me that I couldn’t remember one thing about their performances I’d previously attended. Not one thing. Where they good? Can’t remember. Did they play anything other than SISTERS OF MERCY covers? Erm, can’t remember. What do they look like? Double erm, I don’t know. Is this a reflection of the amount of beer I consumed at those gigs? Probably. Is it due to not particularly enjoying tribute bands? Almost certainly. I mention all of this, because I have not followed the band at all. I don’t know their individual names or who plays what. Research doesn’t bring much joy either, so for this reason I can’t confirm any details - and I can’t give much of an introduction to the band. I can say they are based in Leeds, don’t take themselves very seriously and are well known in the UK Goth scene for playing SISTERS OF MERCY. Their Facebook page lists Sid - Eldritch (vocals), Mark - Bass, Paddy - Guitar, Ian - Guitar and Mya - Backing Vocals. One last thing, the UK nickname for the band is SMURPHS, a shortened version of SISTERS OF MURPHY. http://thesistersofmurphy.com / https://www.facebook.com/The-Sisters-Of-Murphy-134593013314464

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Music & Performance
I was sat on the stage, flicking though images of the night on my camera, with my back to the stage. The band had arrived on stage without me realising - there was no sound check, they just arrived. The intro consisted of a backing track, and the band consisted of three members only - vocals, bass and guitar. Sid was Eldritch for the evening, and dressed in a black trench coat, wide-brimmed hat, trademark dark glasses and a Sisters t-shirt - he looked the part. They blast into ‘Kiss the Carpet’ and its now obvious, even with the limiting factors a small band face (budget wise and less members of the band), they could pull off the overall sound and feeling of the SISTERS OF MERCY. Sid’s voice is remarkably in the same vein as Andrew Eldritch, and this helps immensely - as does the reliance of both bands with programmed drumming. Keyboard seemed to be provided digitally, although it’s difficult to make out in the mix, the live guitar playing is loudly overpowering any backing track.

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As they make their way through the SISTERS OF MERCYs back catalogue they show a good level of authenticity, both musically and in Sid’s similar mannerisms of Eldritch. He looks distant to the crowd, like he doesn’t want to be there - a key characteristic of Eldritch. He stares into the distance, rarely directly to the crowd, often in my direction (as the guy with the camera), leaning on his mic stand. His voice proves to be worthy of a favourable comparison too. Most of the well-known (anticipated) songs are played such as ‘Alice’, ‘Anaconda’, ‘Marian’, ‘Temple of Love’, ‘This Corrosion’ - but a long set list also allows for some of the album tracks perhaps not expected. A Fine mix of songs, from all eras.

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I would have liked more smoke, better lighting - with a darkly lit stage - all SISTERS OF MERCY trademarks. But within the confines of a small venue and small budget it wasn’t possible. It was pretty much the same lighting as the previous two bands, but as SISTERS OF MERCY have always had such a recognisable stage show, it seemed to take the edge off this tribute bands overall stage presence. As the night progressed the crowd got more into participating with the band, and although the large gap remained, by now more people were utilising the space for dancing and enjoying themselves.

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Setlist
01. Intro
02. Kiss the Carpet
03. Burn
04. Floorshow
05. Adrenochrome
06. Good Things
07. Body Electric
08. Anaconda
09. Valentine
10. Damage Done
11. Alice
12. First & Last & Always
13. Body and Soul
14. Marian
15. No Time to Cry
16. Walk Away
17. Rock and a Hard Place
18. Possession
19. Nine While Nine
20. Emma
21. Lucretia
22. Crash and Burn
23. This Corrosion
24. Temple of Love
25. Colours
26. Heartland
27. Vision Thing
28. 1969

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Light: 5
Sound: 8
Total: 7.3 / 10

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All Pictures by Kevin Stevens (Coast to Coast Image Works)

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