Sunday 29 October 2023

The Mission / Theatre Of Hate / Ist Ist - London Roundhouse - 28th October 2023

The Mission concluded their short UK tour with a triumphant first-ever performance at London's iconic Roundhouse venue playing a career-spanning set in front of a dedicated adoring audience. Support came from Theatre Of Hate and Manchester's Ist Ist.

It's only fifteen minutes after doors but there's a sizeable crowd already made it through the venue's bottleneck security entrance to watch Ist Ist. This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, room they've ever played but they're far from overawed by its size. There's a fair chunk of their shirts in the audience tonight and their eight song set wins over a fair few more admirers as the response to them grows as does the crowd watching them.

Their set pulls heavily, as you'd expect, from their most recent album Protagonists - opening with its lead track Stamp You Out and finishing with its final one Trapdoors. Nothing More Nothing Less and a glorious soaring Emily, that feels like it was as much made for stages like this as well as smaller more intimate spaces, make up the quartet from it. We're also treated to the first fruits of their fourth album that they're in the process of writing. Lost My Shadow bears all the hallmarks of prime Ist Ist, dirty rumbling bass, powerful driving drums and Adam's vocal towering through the centre. Alongside three songs from their debut Architecture - Night's Arm, Black and You're Mine - they leave a huge marker down.

Theatre Of Hate have the main support slot and fill it with forty-five minutes of songs primarily taken from their Westworld album with a single track each from their recent Kinshi album and two compilations Revolution and Omens as well as a cover of vocalist Kirk Brandon's other band Spear Of Destiny's Grapes Of Wrath. With Clive Osborne's sax heavy in the mix they stood out from the crowd in their first coming as the goth band you could dance to and continue to do so, with Stan Stammer's bass high in the mix and his interactions with Kirk joyous to behold. They're clearly still in love with what they're doing and this radiates itself to the audience.

It's The Mission's night though. It's the first time they've played here and Wayne jokes "I hadn't realised it'd be round" but the venue's shape seems to add to the incredible atmosphere in the space and make it feel far more intimate than a sold-out 3,000 capacity show. The band's fan base are as much part of the show as the band themselves as well - there's moments where Wayne just steps back, stops singing and lets them take over with a sense of wonderment that after so long these songs still connect with an audience that grew up with them, whether as kids themselves, or as kids of their parents who are probably also somewhere else in the building. He's probably also wondering just how the women stood on shoulders keep their balance perfectly and have their own moves which they deliver perfectly to the songs.

The big songs are present and correct. They finish with a second encore of Tower Of Strength and the main set finishes with Deliverance, which the crowd take over as the band slowly scale it down so that the time between the main set and first encore is filled by the song's unmistakeable chorus being belted out at full volume by three thousand dedicated fans. Wasteland, Severina and an extended Blood Brother feel like they could fill stadiums rather than rooms of this size such is the communion they create.

Wayne is on mischievous form. He dedicates Wake (RSV) to Sister Of Mercy's Andrew Eldritch who sacked his bass player mid-gig on this stage a few months earlier and his rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone, the hymn of his beloved Liverpool FC, might be seen as self-indulgent and wind some up, but it's his and his band's show. He also chides someone for shouting half way through "play something we know" even though the two most recent songs they play - Swan Song from The Brightest Light and Met-Amor-Phosis from their last studio album Another Fall From Grace - really don't feel out of place at all and the biggest hitters are being saved for the end.

The almost two hours set flies by, a nostalgic look back in some ways as ten of the sixteen original songs came from the Wasteland / Children era of their first two albums, but from a band that still sound fresh and invigorated and in love with playing music and interacting with their phenomenal fan base who create their own ticker tape style intro during the encore. They still mix the set about every night, as every band worth its salt should do, to show that they're still very much a living breathing entity and able to draw in and hold the attention of even those, like us, who have only a casual acquaintance with their back catalogue. Powerful, intoxicating and armed with more great songs that you might realise, they're still very much a force to be reckoned with.

The Mission played Beyond The Pale, Serpent's Kiss, The Crystal Ocean, Butterfly On A Wheel, Met-Amor-Phosis, Garden Of Delight, Stay With Me, Afterglow, Severina, Like A Child Again, Swan Song, Deliverance, Wake (RSV), Blood Brother, Wasteland, You'll Never Walk Alone and Tower Of Strength.

Ist Ist are on Facebook and Twitter. Their albums including their new Live In Amsterdam release can be ordered via their website. Digital versions of their previous limited edition releases and a number of live field recordings are available to download from their Bandcamp

Theatre Of Hate are on Facebook.

The Mission's official website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.


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