Saturday saw two heavyweights of gothic gloom going toe to toe. Follow the river of mascara, the Goths and closet Goths flocking to the Bohemia Stage, and you have Paradise Lost and The Sisters Of Mercy flooding Sonisphere with hypnotic darkness. Sonisphere marked The Sisters Of Mercy’s first UK festival appearance in 20 years, and both guitarists Ben Christo and Chris Catalyst were looking forward to the event when we spoke to them earlier in the day, so we really had high hopes for this one.
The Sisters Of Mercy live is more than just watching a band, it is an atmospheric and aural experience. Don’t expect to be able to see anything other than lasers, lights and smoke. It’s all about ethereal immersion and shadowy figures on stage. There’s always hype and anticipation with these guys and it’s a real shame to say that this was not one of The Sisters’ finest hours. Christo and Catalyst cannot be faulted, and the banks of laptops providing much of the backbeat and soundtrack were on top form… it seemed to be Andrew Eldritch that wasn’t quite on his usual top form.
Gone was the darkened gloom bringer that we expected and in his place stood a distracted shaven headed “white hoodie” wearing Eldritch soundalike. Perhaps the sound-man let the side down, but Eldritch‘s vocals filtered through the fog as laboured and half-hearted. Even the big gun tracks fail to ignite, with ‘Detonation Boulevard’ and ‘Dominion’ becoming karaoke clones of what we have come to expect from Eldritch and The Sisters Of Mercy.
The die hard fans encased in the fog at the front, made the right noise at the appropriate times. They were caught up in the overall experience, but for us TINAS operatives, it was seeing the constant stream of people leaving, that summed up this performance. Yes, there were those still waving and shouting in the fog… at least we assume they were waving… or were they drowning?
The Sisters of Mercy Setlist:
Train / Detonation Boulevard
Crash and Burn
A Rock and a Hard Place
Dominion / Mother Russia
Will I Dream?
Temple of Love
Photos by Sabrina Ramdoyal