It takes a brave man to perform on stage in Manchester with a Liverpool Football Club flag adorning the front of his keyboards. It takes an even braver man to sing “Walk On” as part of his set.
However, this is no ordinary man. This is Wayne Hussey, singer and leader of The Mission – on a solo tour marking the release of his new album “Songs of Candlelights and Razorblades” whilst 2 of his Mission band mates tour with Spear of Destiny.
This was my first time at Gorilla. I was impressed. The intimate room with scaffolding and a corrugated iron ceiling was ideal for this very civilised sit down affair. It’s opposite The Ritz, where I saw The Mission back in November 1986 on their God’s Own Medicine Tour and not a million miles away from The Apollo where I last saw them, supporting The Cult a few years ago.
Hussey was on form both of those nights and he was on form again here. He’s in fine voice and treated the gathering to a selection of tracks from his new album, several covers and, of course, some proper Mission classics from those heady days and nights in the late 80’s.
What surprised and impressed me too was Hussey’s wide rage of instruments in use during his set. I didn’t expect “House of the Rising Sun” or “The Killing Moon” on the ukelele.
I didn’t expect that All About Eve classic “Martha’s Harbour” either, which Hussey delivered beautifully with a moodiness and emotion that the song deserves. He had fond words for Julianne Regan too, the singer with All About Eve and with long standing Mission connections.
The highlights for me – unashamedly – were those classic Mission tracks. That opening to Severina brought a cheer from the mesmerised crowd, whilst even the acoustic version of Wasteland made me want to rip up my ticket and throw the pieces in the air!
A quick burst of 1969, a deep and moody version of Like A Hurricane and a much demanded Love Me To Death were plenty to keep the old Mission fans and followers happy – made even happier by the brilliant piano version of Kingdom Come.
This was a wonderful evening. He clearly enjoyed Manchester, despite his Liverpool FC allegiances. Vice versa, I reckon!