The Sisters of Mercy return to DC.

Nov 06, 2008

As if there wasn't enough going on right now, last night Lyssa and I had tickets to see The Sisters of Mercy once again at the 9:30 Club in downtown DC. Because Lyssa had to work on-site yesterday, however, the timing of things got a little messed up... I got home in plenty of time to clean up and change; Jason arrived around 1730 EST5EDT, maybe a half hour or so before Lyssa got back. There was a bit of excitement involving a phone call from Lyssa, a mad dash out the front door to let her in while wearing socks, and falling on the steps before I could let her in but thankfully nothing really came of that. It appears that Jason's wedding gift has held me in good stead insofar as taking the odd spill on tile floors are concerned. On top of that, we were also waiting for Laurelinde and Jade to arrive because we were supposed to drive out there en masse, all the better to find parking. Laurelinde was driving back from Philadelphia that afternoon and so got caught in rush hour traffic on the beltway, which meant that she'd arrived around 2000 EST5EDT. Jade arrived around 1930 EST5EDT and all of us wound up crashing on the couch to conserve energy. None of us had eaten dinner yet, you see, but we couldn't go until Laurelinde arrived. After she got there and changed, however, we packed up Jason's van and headed down the street to the Silver Diner to catch a quick bite, and then off to the show.

We wound up getting to the 9:30 Club and finding parking shortly after 2100 ESTS5EDT - we found the last parking space at the nearby diner, paid The Big Guy (who runs the safest parking lot in that area, so named because he could have given Jerome Bettis a run for his money) $15us to park, and walked the short block the club. As usual for the Sisters, if you skip the opening act you're probably not missing a whole lot. It didn't take us long to find The Wrong Hands and L-, who'd guided us in with text messages to my smartphone. I stayed back to talk shop for a while while Lyssa and the crew staked out space closer to the stage shortly before the Sisters spun their show up. This time around, the Sisters played mostly older songs, with a few of the newer ones that they haven't released yet. The Sisters technically haven't released an album since A Slight Case Of Overbombing, which was a greatest hits album with a new song or two thrown into the mix. They didn't play any of their very old songs from the early 80's, which are pretty rare even if you know where to look. Much as everyone expected they put on their usual smoke and mirrors show - one thing they're known for are loading the stage with lots and lots of colored pin spots and leaving the smoke machine running full blast. By the end of the show, even the lobby of the 9:30 was full of smoke. Needless to say, this makes taking photographs very difficult; I highly recommend using a good digital camera and no flash if you happen to find yourself at a Sisters show.

Of the older songs in their setlist for last night they were all newer, or at least different versions that were usually not immediately recognizable. At a live show, you'll never hear precisely what you remember from recordings. In fact, chances are the music won't sound anything like what you heard on the recording. That said, the guitars sounded completely unfamiliar to me, which made placing melodies very difficult. Between that and Eldritch's basso voice (his is the gold standard of classic goth's "so low my ribcage's resonating and I still can't understand a word you said" voice), I often couldn't tell which song they were playing until about a third of the way through. I'm not particularly proud of admitting this fact, but neverless that was the case. Much to the amusement and enjoyment of the crowd the band played some old favorites, like Dominion/Mother Russia (which was somehow appropriate given that yesterday was Election Day), Flood II, Marian, Alice, and even Giving Ground from their one-shot album as the Sisterhood.

There was also a strong political component to their show, in fact moreso than usual due to the recent presidential election in the States. Eldritch's political comment for the show was, as usual, succinct: "Every day is a new beginning. You've got your country back."

The Sisters wound up playing two encores to their concert, the first preceeded by someone picking out the opening melody of The Star Spangled Banner before launching into Vision Thing. Much to everyone's surprise the band also played This Corrosion, which is variously regarded as the greatest song ever written, the most overplayed song ever recorded, or the one song the DJ plays when they need to go to the bathroom really, really badly because it's over seven minutes in length. Not that I've ever done this.

The encores were interrupted a few times by some guy down by the stage who kept heckling Andrew Eldritch, which lead to a few tirades in English as well as German. My command of the German language is only sufficient to embarass myself while singing the third verse of Marian in the car, but I'm pretty sure that what Captain Von threatened to do with the guy's boots was neither kind nor physiologically possible.

For unknown reasons, a mosh pit broke out on the floor around the time they started playing Vision Thing and lasted until the end of Lucretia, My Reflection. Kids these days.

They closed the show with the song Temple of Love (which Amazon informs me that there appears to be a karaoke version of). After the Sisters left the stage for the last time, it was very much like shell shock: what were we supposed to do next? The obvious answer to that question was to hit the swag booth (Lyssa bought a hooded sweatshirt, I picked up a pack of badges) and then head back to Jason's van because our "twenty minutes after the show" parking window was almost up. Still, we hung out for a few minutes with The Wrong Hands before actually heading home.

I'll post the pictures I took later this week.

(obDisclaimer: There are some Amazon Associates links in this post.)