"So many things can go wrong at a gig." This is an excerpt from the discussion Dani and I had with Simon Hinkler at The Academy in Dublin on Saturday 1st of October. The venue would be filled quickly later but prior to this we witnessed the sound check while waiting patiently. The mood was light hearted but focused. Craig and Wayne focused on making sure that their first night of the 30th anniversary tour would be a success. The band I am talking about is The Mission.
I was told a large contingent from the UK travelled all the way to Dublin to assist to the show. That’s probably true. The Mission is one of those high calibre group that have survived the test of time without compromising its integrity. Speaking of which: you don’t see too many bands today undertaking a double set. I think that was my probably first time personally but The Mission had already experienced this on their last tour and they liked the format.
The first set kicked off. The sound was good - especially the bass guitar which would be fairly even throughout the entire two sets. As Wayne had indicated: the first set was about trying news songs on us and it did work well especially the new single Met-Amor-Phosis. There is more technology involved with the new songs and the head drummer played from a percussion station while some backtracks supported new titles. Or he simply re-joined his drum kit to add the necessary beat to what was once a gothic band.
The first set was roughly 45 minutes and I must say I found the audience very contemplative, borderline apathic. Sensing this, Wayne engaged with the audience in a different way and the familiar sound of classic anthems triggered some reaction from the public albeit this was not hysteria either. Sometimes you get unexpected gifts on stage - Wayne received a fan parcel without wrapping paper with a nice message and a demo to listen to from a hardcore fan while Craig for some reasons received two ladies knickers on his baldie head. :)
As the show went on I could not help thinking I would have wished for a better sound to highlight the contribution of the female backing vocals. I could hardly hear her and it is not because I was on the right-hand side. I suppose we need to consider it as teething problems and I hope she had a better gig the following day in Belfast. We progressed to the encore and that point a few melancholic Iroquois’s trashed their heads up and down in unison with the acoustic guitar.
A few more songs and we were done, a strong and solid show... not helped by an audience which has forgotten what Saturday nights are all about. Is it a sign of the times when hen nights pick a Rock show as the ultimate venue to export their drunken antics? You don’t get to see bands like The Mission in Dublin too often, providing the prohibitive logistic costs, but we won’t get too many of them either if we don’t provide a warmer céad míle fáilte.
Photo credit: Dani Kammler