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Friday, November 28, 2008

Wednesday Night: The Sisters of Mercy at the Regency Center

Posted By on Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 6:08 AM

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Sisters of Mercy with Hypernova
Regency Center (Sutter at Van Ness)
November 26, 2008
Notes by Janine Kahn
Photos by Christine Kahn

Better than: 25 whores in the room next door.
Download: This live recording of "Vision Thing" from the NYC leg of the tour, which I snatched off the Sisters message board. Not bad at all.

In lieu of the traditional Last Night review, here's a loose blow-by-blow recap of Wednesday night's events:

8:02 p.m.
We arrive at the Regency Center and weave through a crowd clad in predictable black, ascend a winding stair to check our coats and then head out to the ballroom, which is at this point lightly populated with folks in trench coats and corsets (as well as some in your less flamboyant jeans-and-black shirt combo).

8:10 p.m. The opening act, Iranian indie rock four piece Hypernova, take the stage. Lead singer Raam's voice is almost Eldritch-esque at points. He dips, dances with himself and swirls dervish-like as he sings and we dig his thick-rimmed glasses and attitude.

8:21 p.m. A couple in the middle of the floor starts sucking major face. I guess that's the highest compliment a band can get.

8:30 p.m. Hypernova appears to have won over the jaded goth rock crowd. A guy with teased hair and a silver-studded jacket raises his beer and others who seemed dance-adverse start moving in place.

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8:38 p.m. The band wraps up with their signature tune, "Fairy Tales," a spirited number with fun lyrics, and the Sisters crowd seems entertained. (Check out Hypernova's video for the single here if you want a taste.) Raam throws his pick to the audience when it's over, puts his hands together in a sage bow and walks offstage.

8:40 p.m. Two guys in front of us sink to the floor and the wait for the headliner begins.

9:04 p.m. Blue mist floods the stage and the drum-machine-heavy opening to "Crash and Burn" has the crowd screaming in excitement. Andrew Eldritch waits for the scene to be San Francisco foggy before sauntering onstage in a yellow and black ensemble, coupled with that ever-present pair of dark shades. His voice is drowned out by the storm and a guy behind me screams "louder!"

9:12 p.m. The Sisters launch into "Ribbons," which is punctuated with blinding strobes that submerge the band and make the frontman almost impossible to see. That eventually segues into "Train/Detonation Boulevard," to which we all sing along with relish. There are more yells about the soft vocals, and Eldritch pats the side of the house speakers and says something - presumably something witty - but that too is lost under the mix's thunder.

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9:25 p.m. Several lasses in devilish dresses watch over the scene from the balcony. Andrew's guardian angel walks away. The Sisters start up "Marian" and the crowd sings and sways.

9:33 p.m. We leave the almost-mosh pit and head to the back of the room where a guy with a massive Mohawk bobs his head to the thick beat and a girl in black does the robot (or something like it) for songs on end. "Corrosion" comes on and we slide to the floor against the ballroom's wall and zone out, content, but thankful we spent that $1 on earplugs. This is one eardrum-killing show.

9:40 p.m.
A loud roar of approval is heard as "Dominion" comes on. It occurs to us that there's just something very creepy about hearing a pack singing "Mother Russia rain down down down!" at the top of their lungs.

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9:48 p.m. Blinding red lights flash for "First and Last and Always." We notice a woman forcibly dragging her partner out of the venue. Curious. This gig is good for people watching when all else fails.

9:56 p.m. Speaking of people: A couple steeped in the shadows of the backmost part of the ballroom appear to be mating...or something close too it. The Sisters appropriately play "Something Fast" for them.

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10:12 p.m. The band appears to be done. "You fucking suck!" yells a guy by the bar. But then they're back with "Vision Thing" and everyone (including me) is cheering.

10:26 p.m.
The lead guitar weaves the melodies Ofra Haza sang for "Temple of Love," the final encore (and fan favorite) of the night. This song is lovely - and even if you aren't a Sisters fan, do give it a listen.

10:35 p.m.
House lights are on and the line to the coat check is staircase-long. We check out the merch booth, but alas, hard times dictate against spending $30 on a shirt.

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Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: I really wanted to hear "More." Ah well, can't have everything.

Random Detail: We overheard one of the guys next to us spinning a yarn in which someone threw a large bone at Andrew Eldritch's head during some show, managed to hit and bloody him and get said show canceled. Not sure if that's true, but there you have it. And googling "bone+head+andrew+eldritch" doesn't help so there's no verifying this rumor. Boo.

By the Way: Below is the set list, if you're curious.

Crash and Burn

Train/Detonation Boulevard
Flood I
Giving Ground
First and Last and Always
Never Land
Flood II
Something Fast
Vision Thing
Top Nite Out
Temple of Love

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Janine Kahn


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