Tuesday 19 April 2022

The Mission + The Rose Of Avalanche, Rock City, Nottingham

Tonight I am at Rock City again for another pandemic delayed show. This tour by the Mission was supposed to be here in May 2020 and the band were already into the preceding European leg when Covid happened.

The UK leg was also supposed to mark the return of The Rose of Avalanche. A band I was particularly fond of back in the day after first seeing them as support for... The Mission back on their World Crusade Tour in 1986. Oddly after that they never really hit the 'medium time' let alone the 'big time'. 'Small time' was just great for a fan though and I saw them multiple times at little venues across the local area.

They split in 1993 but had reformed after 27 years only to have to put their reformation back on ice for another two years.

As they take the stage I’m wondering whether we should be asking for ID to confirm the bands identify as five heads of very long hair have now been reduced to what appears to be just one head of hair between them but such is the way for those of us in our 50s.

This of course does not distract from their sound or performance and once they start playing with ‘Don't Fly Too High’ which is followed by the excellent ‘Too Many Castles In The Sky’ there is no need for any ID. Although, I have to ask. Did they have tambourine back in the day? Or was I simply too busy moshing to notice.

I love the Mission but the Rose are the main reason I bought a ticket for tonight. I am not disappointed, they are amazing.

They deliver a set of pretty much everything you would have expected them to have played given the time constraints of a support slot - ‘Not Another Day’, ‘Velveteen’, ‘Goddess’, ‘Always There’, ‘Dreamland’ and of course ‘LA Rain’ before adding a cover of the Stooges ‘Loose’ for reasons I’m unaware but probably just that they like it.

The Rose of Avalanche Setlist Rock City, Nottingham, England 2022

They clearly relish being back up on stage and doing this ‘for the love of it’ which is a good job because I doubt there’s much money in it for them.

Top that Wayne... Which of course he does. The Mission are amazing too.

The set starts with the excellent Beyond the Pale from their classic album “Children” in what is billed as the Déjà Vu tour, maybe because it’s been forever rescheduled. While has Wayne, unlike the entire Rose of Avalanche, been growing his hair again in lockdown? Just because he can.

They have so much material and a liking for a relatively low number of songs in their sets so unlike the Rose you’re not going to get everything you would have expected them to have played.  Not even close.

Some of the crowd groan at the ‘new’ material but the likes of 2016’s 'Met-Amor-Phosis' are excellent and then just to keep everyone happy they follow it with a track 29 years its junior ‘Naked and Savage’ from 1987.


They are very good a mixing the set up night by night and the middle of the short twelve song set could each night be anything from their back catalogue but the closing three tracks are always the same - ‘Butterfly on a Wheel’ into, a thousand arms already in the air for ‘Wasteland’, cue Argentina 78 ticker tape or whoever invented it, then into ‘Deliverance’ which is, as ever, chanted ad infinitum by the crowd until.. well, they come back out for an encore really.


They return to the stage twice to play five more tracks including the absolute belter that is 'Blood Brother' before the traditional finale of ‘Tower of Strength’. 

The Mission Setlist Rock City, Nottingham, England 2022, Déjà Vu Tour

Saturday 2 April 2022

The Psychedelic Furs, Rock City, Nottingham

Supported By Pauline Murray and The Invisible Girls

Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls open up for the Psychedelic Furs tonight. It is far from the first time I have seen Pauline Murray as she has been the perennial support act for many bands from the early 1980s era since, well, the early 1980s. At least at the gigs I go to.

She is now 72 and her voice is still sounding great. Accompanied now by her daughter Grace on backing vocals and her son Alex on keyboards. As she says it’s a family affair. She’s clearly still having a great time playing live as are tonight’s headliners.  

Since getting back together at the turn on the century, The Psychedelic Furs have never really been away from the live arena but they have been away from the studio. That is until April 2020 when 'Made of Rain' became their first album release since 1991's 'World Outside' and you know what, it's an absolute cracker.

For various reasons, well one big reason actually - Covid, they haven't had chance to play it live until now but when you’ve waited that long to make a record what’s a two extra years?

Tonight they go big on the new album, really big, with no less than seven tracks played from it but it comes off big time for them. It helps that it is so good.

The album is not an attempt to reinvent the Furs material of the early days, nor the poppy Furs of the mid-80s but it still has all the hallmarks of a Furs album including Richard Butler’s trademark rasp of a vocal which remains a thing of wonder. In many ways, the album continues the logical progression from their previous work. You can’t really tell there’s been a gap of 30 years since ‘World Outside’. While tracks like ‘Don’t Believe’ and ‘Ash Wednesday’ are broodingly atmospheric the likes of ‘You’ll Be Mine’ are powerful, exhilarating and just as anthemic as some of their more famous stuff.

There are of course plenty of juicy tracks from their other seven albums as well or at least the first five more famous ones. From the opening of ‘Highwire Days’ and ‘Dumb Waiters’ to the closing double of ‘Heaven’ and ‘Heartbreak Beat’ through the likes of ‘Mr. Jones’, ‘The Ghost In You’, ‘Pretty in Pink’. ‘Love My Way’ and ‘President Gas’

Throughout it all the 65 year teenager Richard Butler bounces his way through the set in his rock’n’roll shades. Although he does seem to have a music stand in front of him in case he forgets the words?

Then after a night celebrating the new album it is perhaps somewhat appropriate to go full reverse circle and to close the night with a encore of the opening two tracks from their self-titled debut album. The glorious anguish of ‘Sister Europe’ followed by the adrenaline whirl that is ‘India’.

The Psychedelic Furs Setlist Rock City, Nottingham, England 2022, Made of Rain