THE MISSION (+ The 69 Eyes, Skeletal Family)
O2 Academy, Leeds
The Mission have been one of the most consistent and and influential gothic rock acts since their acrimonious split from The Sisters Of Mercy 30 years ago. It seems fitting then that three decades down the line their anniversary tour should see them return to their home town in triumphant fashion, bringing fellow gothic rock pillars Skeletal Family, and international big-hitters The 69 Eyes along for support. The Mission are a band that have never rested on their laurels, which is attested to by their latest album effort 'Another Fall From Grace', as well as the rabid fans in attendance.
First up though is fellow Yorkshire goth institution Skeletal family who without standing on ceremony and keeping true to their post-punk roots, ripped through a set of their own classic tracks, as well as a couple of Ghost Dance numbers for good measure. Even though the room was slow to fill up, the band brought the energy up quickly with tracks such as 'Far and Near' and 'Promised Land' in particular receiving a lot of appreciation from the crowd.
Next up were the Helsinki Vampires, The 69 Eyes – headliners in their own right – mark their return to the UK after five years away. With a short sharp set heavily favouring classic cuts such as 'Gothic Girl', Dance D'Amour', 'The Chair', 'Sister Of Charity', and 'The Lost Boys', they still find room to include the latest singles 'Dolce Vita' and 'Jet Fighter Plain'. The band are tight throughout and deliver on every level quickly drawing more of the younger element of the crowd to the front. By the time the band left the stage the room was sufficiently pumped for the headliners.
The Mission hit the stage accompanied by the rousing strains of 'The Dambusters Overture' and quickly dived into a formidable set. The band were on top form with the stage presence and skill befitting their veteran status but with the energy and conviction that would put most bands half their age to shame. Tracks such as 'Beyond The Pale', 'Garden Of Delight', 'Severina', 'Stay With Me', 'Tower Of Strength', 'Wasteland', 'Butterfly On A Wheel', and 'Like A Hurricane' provided particular highlights especially with backing vocals aptly provided by special guest Evi Vine to add extra depth.
The encore provided more exhilaration with '1969' getting an airing, as well as rapturous renditions of 'Blood Brother', 'Sacrilege', and 'Deliverance' closing the set. The band were unrelenting throughout and the crowd fed off their energy and amplified it back threefold. Wayne and crew even in the face of advancing years remain one of the coolest bands to fly the gothic rock flag today, and tonight's homecoming was a testament to thirty years worth of commitment to their sound and their fans.