Wayne Hussey: Esquires, Bedford – live review
3rd May 2018
Turning 60 years of age this month, Wayne Hussey is currently on a global solo mini jaunt to celebrate his imminent entry into the seventh decade. Paul Grace reports from an intimate show at Bedford’s Esquires.
The Aniversário tour sees Hussey play a handful of solo dates across Europe and South America, and he finishes up on his actual birthday with a show in the city he now calls home, São Paolo.
Esquires is a great setting for tonight’s show; a dark box like room with a few tables and chairs in from of the stage suggesting tonight’s performance will be more sedate than the usual riotous Mission affair.
Support comes in the shape of Luke James Williams, who does a great job warming up the crowd with some confident acoustic strumming and a voice that reminds me of Bon Iver only with an English accent.
By 9pm the room is packed and the crowd gives Wayne Hussey a scorching hot welcome. He announces he’s had a fair few to drink, which in true Hussey fashion comes as no surprise to anyone present (well it is his birthday tour after all!).
Rather than a defined set-list, he plays pretty much what he wants and also encourages requests from the crowd. The set is so loose in fact that it feels like we’re hanging out with a mate in his living room. Hussey’s on top chatty form; between tracks there are jokes about goths as well as musings on life and other humorous anecdotes.
Aside from a mix of Mission classics, we’re treated to a selection of spontaneous covers; All About Eve’s Martha’s Harbour gets an airing as well as a couple of Depeche Mode tunes. Keeping true to his goth roots though, he performs a heart-stopping version of Wasteland steeped in tension, while the mood turns lighter later on with a tender version of Dragonfly.
As a solo show, instruments are stripped back to basics with a guitar and/or piano (the latter is comically covered in a Liverpool FC flag!). As always though, it’s Hussey’s vocal that is the clear trump card here; a deep and “swoon-some” growl, and like the red wine he’s so very fond of, his voice seems to be getting better with age. A sentiment that echoes 2016’s “Another Fall From Grace”; the best sounding record The Mission have made since their heyday back in the 80’s. After a wonderful two hour journey across multiple genres, twists and tales, the show draws to a close with the fabulous rendition of Swan Song.
A genuinely heartwarming performance, punctuated with heaps of Hussey humour, and a clear indication that there’s plenty of life in the old goth yet. Happy birthday Wayne – here’s to the next ten years!