The Sisters Of Mercy were formed in Leeds in 1980 and paved the way for goth rock when they became famous in the early/mid-’80s. The goth influence is clearly present tonight in London as many of the audience members are dressed up for the theme of the night on the first of two evenings at the Roundhouse.
The Sisters Of Mercy – The Virginmarys
Roundhouse, London – 22 September 2023
Words and Photography: Razorrhead Productions
Unfortunately, after a small number of releases from the late ’80s to early ’90s, the band stopped recording new music in protest at their record company at the time. This, however, is no issue tonight as they still have a ton of songs under their belt to put on a lengthy show.
As The Sisters Of Mercy are ready, they kick straight in with Don’t Drive On Ice, Ribbons, I Will Call You and then into Alice. They did a good job of reaching out to the audience in the whole arena as they pulled in and out from different angles of the stage.
The one thing I find fascinating about this band is just how cool they look. Forever wearing sunglasses on stage, regardless of how dark it can be. I’m surprised that none of them fell off the stage at some point.
Their guitarists, Ben and Dylan, play their guitar parts effortlessly while walking up and down the stage and keeping an eye on their audience the whole time. They define what it is to be a cool goth. Andrew also has his sunglasses on, as always, while he briefly dances in between segments of the songs.
However, not all is perfect with the show. The vocals were often drowned out and became inaudible, especially when trying to tackle the heavily programmed drums and samples. This was really noticeable in some songs, such as Dominion, which is one of their all-time classics. During the choruses, you could hear the audience trying to sing more than the band itself.
As the night goes on, there seems to be a lack of energy in the arena. Granted, they have been around a long time, and the sound was a bit muffled. There was something that felt missing with this show.
Things do pick up, though, with their performance of I Was Wrong and Crash And Burn. Andrew’s vocals are very well backed up with vocals from the guitarists, while the dark stage and moody lighting add to the atmospheric gothic vibes.
They finish with an encore with songs such as Lucretia My Reflection, Temple Of Love, and finally, the ever-famous smash hit This Corrosion.
It was a decent show that gave the audience a feeling for something a bit more. Now, let’s hope for news about the fourth album.
Up first were The Virginmarys. An English duo from Macclesfield formed back in 2009, they have released a number of EPs and have had lots of previous touring experience in the past with the likes of Slash, Terrorvision, and Queens Of The Stone Age.
Their sound is a great combination of rock, punk, indie, and alternative rock that provides a somewhat refreshing sound with a great range of vocal tones from their singer, Ally Dickaty.
While Ally sings, their drummer, Danny Dolan, hits his drum like there is no tomorrow. The expression on his face is like he is trying to demolish his worst enemy.
All in all, it was a great performance from these two. Their stage was empty, but they proved that they did not need any fancy lighting or props to win over the audience. This is a great example that British rock will not be dead anytime soon.