Free secret gig under assumed name of New Meth Experience, band's first
gig with Chris May on guitar.
The gig was announced via the band's website two days before the gig. "02 August 2005 : NIGHT OFF. We'll be watching Near Meth Experience at a pub in Leeds.", - it said. "Near Meth Experience play for free, because they're a shambles."
Judging from recordings, the band ended two-year break with convincingly strong gig. On the other hand, the choice of songs was depressingly boring; none of the new or reworked songs of 2003 tour were not included. Thus several long-term fans complained of not being impressed as they've seen this same show time and time before.
Just like in previous such occasions Joseph's Well pub was packed, and the air was unbearingly hot - just like in 1996 (Fenton pub) and 1997 (Joseph's Well pub). This 1997 concert ended up being reviewed (negatively) on UK's heavyweight music news weekly NME; the reviewer completely missed a point that the gig was free try-out. Until now, everybody thought the fiasco was the last of pre-tour freebies.
Several factors might have prompted Andrew Eldritch to resume New Meth Experience career: the band haven't played for two-years before this gig; the band had to test the new guitarist Chris May (who incidentallly makes ends meet by occasionally working as a barman in Joseph's Well); as the tour won't reach UK this year, this is the only gig opportunity in the country.
Ticket scaned by Michael Parker exclusively for The Sisters of Mercy Tours webzine. Picture by "d00meh", the unedited original is here.
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Thanks to "snowey". Setlist picture by "quiffboy". Recording of the gig can be found here.
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Author: Michael Parker (exlusively for The Sisters of Mercy Tours webzine).
More pictures of the gig can be found here.
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When I got there at around 2pm there wasn't many people there yet. At some point a guy came and replaced a poster with July's gigs with August's and within minutes it was taken down again and in someones pocket.
Drinking and talking until just after 6pm when word got round that they were throwing everyone out at 6.30, so a queue started forming. We queued for an hour until 7.30 by which time everyone badly needed the toilet. Then we were all let in and given a ticket each.
Once the ticket went in my pocket it stayed there as nobody ever asked to see anyones ticket!
The gig lasted from around 9.30-11.00 with a brief break of a few minutes halfway through (probably for the band to have a drink, take a slash, whatever).
The set list didn't contain any surprises or new songs. The sound was really good. The guitars sounded clear and crisp, much clearer than I've ever heard them before. Then again I thought Blank Canvas sounded really really bad but there are those that got good sound.
It was even better after the break. Maybe because there was no dry ice and you got more visuals to go with your audio, or maybe the band had some refreshment.
A few few funny Von comments which I can't remember now but which will get mentioned once people have a chance to replay minidiscs/cassettes. Every man and his dog seemed to be holding aloft a phone or digicam so there should be plenty of photographs as soon as people upload them.
Right, I'm knackered, I'm off to bed.
How much better can The Sisters get?
Regardless, the sound and feeling of The Sisters rhythm section (nice work, Doktor) reverberating like an utterly bastard groove-machine around my ribcage and skull, whilst very heavy guitars thrashed away over and into and around the rhythm, was like nothing on Earth.
It surpasses the NEC in 92 in terms of my favourite live Sisters moment. Glorious, and in truth the only aspect of the gig that I can really remember.
It couldn't have mattered less whether the songs were the same old same old, the energy the band put into them was everything. The Sisters usually give the senses a good battering live - last night was far and away the most intense yet. Long may they continue making that loud noise.
How much of it was due to the venue, the crowd, the 'altered' state I found myself in waaay before getting anywhere near the stage? Quite a lot I suspect.
Spoke with Von and Chris after the gig - fine gents indeed. Cheers boys - gig of a lifetime. Not even a trip to A&E could put a dampener on the day. It seemed somehow appropriate.
Helluva gig. Must admit that was my first Sisters gig, and it was a blast.
First tremors started when someone knocked a stool against me at a bar, and a short dude wearing sunglasses politely asked if he was pushing in. Ever the soul of courtesy, I muttered in the negative, and we stood in chilly silence, whilst the crewman next to me nattered on about the quality of barstaff these days.
Tried to buy Andrew Eldritch a drink, and he ordered but then paid for my pint. Everyone told me I couldn't drink it, but hey - it was my damn beer. Mmmm, sacriligeous.
Constantly got mistaken for staff for some reason. Sat on a table at the front of the queue 'cos I'm lazy, and people wandered up and asked me if they could get through. I shrugged, passed 'em off onto the fifteen-year old, eighteen-stone doorman.
Managed to ensconce myself and Professor von Darkness in the far right corner, to an extent where I was standing with members of the press - a lass from Kerrang! and a lass with a camera - on the wrong side of the security barrier. Stood less than four feet from the stage, and nearly had Adam smack me in the head with his guitar.
Took some pictures here and there, heckled with the best of them, spent several amusing minutes leaning on the speakers and being bounced gently along to Temple.
Sorted out some dudes, attempted to blag my way into the post-gig party, exchanged a few encouraging words with Andrew, and wended my happy way into the damp night.
No objections to Andrew's appearence either. My chpice of all-leather outfit was part of an agreement with Johnny to appear as Andrew Eldritch circa '85. Alas, my lovely long greasy locks and battered fedora are long gone.
I have a digital camera to get batteries for, and an instamatic to develop.
Has no-one mentioned the infamous scrolling text on a large control device which read simply VON SUCKS? Classic.
The Sisters roadie crew are an amazingly friendly crowd, kudos to the dudes who lended a hand at critical moments last night.
'twas a blast. Here's to the rest.
The gig was blinding. I remember jack all apart from the thunderous sound of the Doktor blasting through my ribcage, lots of bruise collecting, and that mid-gig realisation you always get - how amazing do the Sisters sound when they're locked into their groove.
Andrew Eldritch is really sweet, bless him. Just a genuine bloke, I wish I could remember what I nattered with him about after the gig. I wish I could remember anything.
There were a few rough edges and technical hitches and Von wasn't entirely satisfied, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The atmosphere was amazing - this was an audience who'd put their lives on hold at 48 hours notice and come to Leeds from all over the UK and the mainland.
Best live version of Lucretia I've heard and the original intro to FALAA. Lots of little tweaks to the music since the last tour and Von's vocals higher in the mix than they have been for a while (in fact a good all round sound balance). A nice introduction for Chris.
I just hope that wasn't the 2005 tour shirt that Von was wearing.
I'm back at work now, the ringing in my ears the only proof I didn't dream it all. Can't wait for Saturday.
Hope that everyone present has recovered from the heat exhaustion. A free gig and a free sauna. what more could a girl ask for?
It was very hot.
The sound was crap, possibly not suprising but lots of unwanted feedback most of the gig, and I for one could only here one guitar for most of the show.
Dissapointing as it usually is sadly, I've always wanted to be blown away by The Sisters, but sadly got into them far too late - and this becomes more and more apparent each time I do see them.
There just seems to be no context for the Sisters anymore and it just makes it so hard to hear mostly the same set over and over again year after year. Tours are never to support a new album etc (obviously), just seems to be pin money as and when and the longer it goes on the more obvious it becomes.
I hate to say it, but I went back into the bar halfway through the set bored.
It was fantastic to see everyone in one place mind as it always is, and ultimately I guess cool that they still do gigs like this for people who get something out of it.
I went with lowish expectations, which were met.
Eldy sounds less intellectual love god these days, more last puppy left in the shop on Christmas Eve.
Still, nice to see everyone - and I think Paddy is and I am in minority of being disappointed. Although there were quite a few people who didn't bother returning to the hall after the break - maybe it was just too darn hot!
Now that was one hell of a gig! Chris is the man - I thought he took care of the rythm guitar parts admirably, and there was no dodgy make-up on show either!
I got there early, and managed to watch the whole of the soundcheck with The Snoweys after everyone else had been kicked out into the street. The soundcheck seemed to take forever. They played bits of Will I Dream, Neverland, Ribbons, possibly Giving Ground and a bit of I Was Wrong when it came to soundcheck the bass guitar. I remember Chris playing a few Wildhearts riffs I recognised.
Von was pacing up and down throughout, mobile phone clipped to his belt (a Nokia I think), occasionally stopping to light up one of his Marlboro Lights or to give "advice" to the soundguy - "that sounded kinda muddy" was one comment I heard.
About halfway through, Simon Denbigh appeared with the guest-list (there were 87 names on it btw!) and mentioned something about a certain lady coming all the way from Switzerland and can she be on the guest-list. "Sure, as long as she's not wearing a black wedding dress." was Von's reply.
Talked to Edlritch later, I asked him how his cats were. "I've got 3 of 'em, one of 'em lives in Detroit" was his reply. I think he was refering to an ex-girlfriend.
I also asked him about the new guitarist. He said he was thrilled to have Chris Catalyst on board and that he is a Robochrist fan.
My expectations were low, but were well exceeded. Not having seen them for 21 years, I guess the set seemed pretty fresh to me. And it was nice to see the guitarists up front like a real band as opposed to squabbling at the back. Good company, great atmosphere, cracking band.
Best things in the band were Eldo's new beard and Chris May. His rock attitude, bobbling head and snarling stare added some much needed freshness.
Glad they turned the smoke machine off after the break.
Good to hear the proper riff back in First and Last and Always.
Eldo's string vest should have been left on the beach where he found it.
I even managed to get a kiss goodnight from him.
Me: "Can I get a kiss off you too then?"
Von: "Go on then, that's the second-best offer I've had all night."
I wonder what the best was?
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