The stage lights are struggling, and failing, to illuminate the black pit of the Astoria tonight. For the congregation is reflecting absolutely no light whatsoever. The crowd is a seething sea of black, and as no-one can see anything, people keep falling over each other, twisted ankles everywhere. Suddenly the PA starts booming out The Dam Busters overture.
Enter Wayne Hussey and some blokes you’ve never seen before. Wayne, of course, never takes his sunglasses off. Can this really be The Mission? The ’80s goth-lite predators of burgeoning sixth-form sexuality, who provided a romantic (if absurd) alternative to all the boys in school who didn’t understand?
The first powerchords of ‘Beyond The Pale’ leave us in no doubt. It really is them back from, er, the dead. Or America actually, hence Wayne‘s cropped hair, cowboy shirt and an acoustic solo version of Elvis’ ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’.
Mercifully, perhaps, there’s no new material. But there is ‘Severina’, ‘Blood Brother’ and, of course, ‘Wasteland’ reanimated for the delight of the true believers here who, you might be forgiven for thinking, have been roosting in some abandoned church for the last decade.
In the violent climate of Korn, NIN and Marilyn Manson, this old goth plays it as ethereal and romantic as ever. And that’s sort of nice. Just don’t dwell too long beyond midnight or you too will end up living in Leeds and painting your nails purple with your daughter Severina. The Mission are a warning that sometimes the arse end of your teenage record collection can come back to haunt you.