sat 13/07/2024

Sisters of Mercy, KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton review - Goth veterans return to the fray | reviews, news & interviews

Sisters of Mercy, KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton review - Goth veterans return to the fray

Sisters of Mercy, KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton review - Goth veterans return to the fray

Former arch Goths add a metallic sheen to songs old and new

Eldritch, Catalyst and ChristoAsya Draganova

Andrew Eldritch, vocalist and convent leader of the Sisters of Mercy, is a famously obtuse character. This may have made him seem somewhat mysterious over the years, but it has also meant that he has missed a few open goals too.

The Sisters haven’t put out an album of original material in 30 years, but they still keep writing and performing new material. This means that their set now consists of about 50% familiar tunes and 50% of material that has never seen the inside of a recording studio. So, if you want to keep up with the new stuff, live recordings of varying sound quality on YouTube is where you need to go. Similarly, the band now consists of two guitarists, Ben Christo and recent recruit Kai, and Chris Catalyst on electronics, with no bass player. Those who remember the Sisters of old will know how essential that bottom end was to tunes like “Marian” and their cover of Hot Chocolate’s “Emma”. So, to hear them now perform without that depth does jar somewhat.

Still, the Sisterhood seem to be more than happy with the evolution of the band’s sound, as KK’s Steel Mill was packed to the rafters with a diverse crowd of Goths young and old, Radio 6 dads, members of the more outrageous end of the LGBT+ community and a good number of disabled people, just to pick out a few of the groups present. The audience may have been mixed but they were all emphatically dressed in black. They pretty much all seemed to display an aversion to dancing, too.

The Sisters of Mercy eventually strolled somewhat nonchalantly onto the stage and kicked off with an almost glam metal take on “Dr Jeep” and “Detonation Boulevard” from the Vision Thing album. Eldritch in a black shirt undone halfway done his chest and trade-mark impenetrable shades, initially skulked around the back of the stage while Ben Christo stood stage left with his feet apart and planted firmly on the boards, sucking in his cheeks, while on stage right, Kai pulled guitar hero shapes and Chris Catalyst towered like a hardman bouncer behind banks of laptops on a riser dressed in camouflaged netting.

This pretty much set the scene for the gig, as the Sisters thumped through tunes like “Don’t Drive On Ice”, “Eyes of Caligula” and a cover of “Giving Ground”. These were interspersed with crowd pleasers like “Alice”, “Dominion/Mother Russia” and an up-tempo take on “Marian”. However, it wasn’t until the encore that the band really caught fire. A fantastically bombastic “Lucretia My Reflection” was followed by an abridged take on “Temple of Love” and eventually the stadium Goth singalong of “This Corrosion”. Arms shot up in the audience, as hands were thrust to the ceiling and voices rang out in a chorus of “Hey now! Hey now now!”.

This final strait was clearly more than enough to keep those assembled happy but it was impossible not to imagine how much more engaged they might have been if they had been more familiar with a good chunk of the rest of the set.

The audience may have been mixed but they were all emphatically dressed in black


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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Eldritch admires Pink Floyd, but the Floyd always pulled out all the stops to ensure their live sound was up to scratch. If the Sisters can't be bothered to field a bassist, I won't be forking out to see them live. Ditto if they can't be bothered to record new music. They are making themselves irrelevant by only preaching to the converted, sadly. 

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