Butch Dante: The yr is 1985. The metropolis is Hull, on the desolate and arctic North East Coast of England. The venue, hilariously, is Tiffany’s nightclub. The tickets are £3.50. The band is the Sisters of Mercy.
That is the age of peak Sisters, as they tour in help of the launch of First and Final and At all times; Alice and Floodland are already established membership bangers; their goth cred has but to be dented by the irrelevant Imaginative and prescient Factor; and nobody but is aware of that Andrew Eldritch is definitely type of an arsehole.
A cry has gone out from “the kids” in London—“Goths Assemble!”—with the promise that attending the present will ship a superior goth rawk expertise. So right here we’re, the three amigos: Butch Dante, Colin “Col” Overland, and Del Boy. We’re younger, we’re skinny—Colin nonetheless has hair. We’ve smuggled in a £2 bouteille of nasty whisky from the nook retailer (it was referred to as ‘the paki’ in these days—disgrace on us, inhabitants of 1980’s England!) which we combine with membership-bought Coca-Cola drinks beneath the desk whereas ready for the enjoyable to begin.
The first tune (First and Final and At all times) kicks in, and the bass beat is like being punched arduous in the chest by a giant blobby fist made out of pillows; there’s a drum machine, not drummer, and it makes the sound … completely different. Copious dry-ice fog utterly envelopes the band and the entrance of the pit. At one level a precipitation catastrophe strikes and the fog machine stops working leaving Eldritch and his Sisters marooned, uncovered for all to see. They shuffle sadly like penguins out of water till somebody kicks it again into life and they can disappear again into their fogbank.
It’s LOUD. Like, 115 decibels loud. Actually. Fucking. Loud.
We sally forth into the pit, the place frenzied-however-pleasant moshing is in full swing. Del could be very tall, utterly uncoordinated, and fairly drunk. He retains falling over, amusingly. Kindly goths choose him up the first few instances till I inform them to not hassle and he’s left to flop round on the flooring like a floppy factor. There are tons of match goth birds (the place did they come from?!? Leeds, not Hull, is the consensus) which provides to the common frisson.
And one thing bizarre occurs. There’s a shared consciousness amongst the crowd that that is one thing completely different, one thing particular. We’re like the convict inmates of the leadworks in the third Aliens film: alone at the fringe of the universe/North Sea, sharing a quasi-non secular infatuation, bonded collectively by a sound that has by no means been heard earlier than. Strangers smile at one another, nods are exchanged. It’s all very un-goth. We all know we’re in on a joke on the remainder of the saddos listening to their Dire Straits and A-ha!
In truth, it’s principally good, and a present that lives vibrantly in my reminiscence 37 years later.