The Sisters of Mercy Roundhouse 2 September 2017
Andrew Eldritch is an enigma, a man at war with the record companies since the nineties. And so it was at the Roundhouse, a shadowy figure who you could barely see his face, hidden by the smoke machine, the lighting, the laser beams.
Surprisingly the band still has a huge following, immediately apparent from the queue that went from the Roundhouse to the Morrison’s petrol station a fair distance down the road.
Inside the audience was 50% the old fans, the bald heads and wizened faces and 50% young goths, grungers, industrials and alternative art rockers too young to be born when the original albums were released. Eldritch has always hated the Goth connection, having described himself as aiming for more modernist. Kraftwerk with guitars, not really. The clues are more in the Sisterhood the collaboration with Alan Vega from Suicide.
The concert is almost more theatre than standard rock show, the drama, the abovementioned seclusion and mystery. It is a shock to see how much Eldritch has aged, now completely bald, no longer paper thin, dressed in ill-fitting black suit, seemingly quite unhealthy and gawky, an unsure dancer but he still has the drama and some great songs. It is interesting to note that when compared to his peer Nick Cave, the Sisters have only released 3 albums, but have had more hit singles. I side with the underdog. It is also interesting to note that the cover versions they have released/played throughout their career are a clue as to the direction of the Sisters from day one, the vintage ballads, “Gimme Shelter”, the Stooges etc.
Eldritch is flanked by two rockin guitarists, strutting their stuff with great tone probably the best line up since the Marx, Adams, Gunn days. Behind them is Doctor Avalanche being operated using two lap tops rap style. The songs have evolved with time and some are almost unrecognisable.
Eldritch sometimes struggled getting his voice heard, it is difficult I suppose when the songs are more mumbled than sang, and it did not matter, it increased the drama and theatre. Interestingly his voice came through clearer when he sang from the side of the stage, he could probably hear himself better from there. It is a problem I used to experience as well so I identify.
In the old days I preferred the early Sisters. I never really liked “First and Last and Always” and was initially disappointed by “Floodland” and “Vision Thing” but after seeing the show I have revaluated the latter period and now love it. The gig spanned songs from their entire career from Body Electric to unrecorded new songs like “Summer” and the standard was high throughout. So time to dig out their two compilations “Some Girls Wander By Mistake” and “A Slight Case of Overbombing”. I did.
An interesting new cover was “Rumble” and it sounded damn good as well.
Highlights for me where “More”, “Susanne”, “Vision Thing”, “Lucretia My Reflection” and “This Corrosion”.
Below I enclose the set list as printed online and I am not sure it is 100% correct.
|Doctor Jeep / Destination Boulevard|
|Crash and Burn|
|No Time to Cry|
|Body and Soul|
|We Are the Same, Susanne|
|Lucretia My Reflection|
|Temple of Love|
|That’s When I Reach For My Revolver|