TVD Live Shots:
The Sisters of Mercy
and Jesus Jones at the Roundhouse, 9/10

The Sisters of Mercy returned to the Roundhouse to up the ante on their two sold-out shows back in 2017—and add a third. The Sisters are a national treasure here in the UK, and their shows remain bleeding edge with mastermind Andrew Eldritch firmly at the helm. These shows are so fucking cool because they not only breathe new life into genre-defining songs, but they add the sonic upgrade that can only be delivered in a live setting.

Although the Sisters only gave us three studio albums, they each stand on their own today as goth rock classics. Eldritch goes beyond the pigeonhole of goth and calls them a rock ‘n’ roll groove machine which paints a much more vivid picture of what to expect. Clad in black leather jackets and mirrored sunglasses, these guys are the essence of cool, and the look adds to the mystique. The swirling spotlights and smoke bring the feeling of being at a rave in the ’90s, but the sound is big enough to fill an arena. Half dance party, half rock show, half-man, half-beast—all fun and very entertaining.

The setlist pulled heavily from the three studio records while also pulling in a few rarities and new songs. For years, there have been rumors that new music will be recorded and released, but no official dates or reliable expectations have been set. It seems that if you want to hear new music, you have to go to the live show. Pretty ambitious move, but again, it all adds to the mystique, and it works. While Floodland remains the favorite, I particularly loved Vision Thing (that could be based on my love of ’80s hair metal), but “I Was Wrong,” “More, and “Ribbons” were highlights for me, along with the new song and opener “But Genevieve” which fits right into that era’s sound.

On guitar is Ben Christo; he’s the second longest-serving member in the group’s history, with 15 years and counting as lead guitarist and backing vocalist along with Dylan Smith. Smith took the open spot from Chris Catalyst, who left in 2019 and is rumored to be a nameless ghoul in Sweden metal goliath Ghost.

Christo was born to play this part and often carries the cool factor of the band on his shoulders. If you haven’t read the story of how he got into the band, it’s pretty incredible. Smith played the perfect counterpart, and the two guitars together have a monstrous tone that brings that live feel to the programmed beats.

The surprise of the night for me, though, was getting there early for Jesus Jones. I’d always been a fan of these guys but never got to see them live. Mike Edwards looks to be in better shape today than back in the ’90s. This guy doesn’t age. Keyboardist Iain Baker was absolutely out of control the entire time as if he was fronting a punk band in the late ’70s, and guitarist Jerry De Borg laid the foundation with his larger-than-life Les Paul. These guys were fucking brilliant, and I can’t wait to see them again later this year when they bring this epic performance to the intimate and legendary 100 Club.

JESUS JONES

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