The prospect of the Fields of the Nephilim and The Mission touring together has bought out a massive crowd to the Birmingham O2 academy and it’s eerily dark confines are packed with the black clad minions of darkness eager to see Carl McCoy and his troops of doom in action once again. The atmosphere is electric as the band take to the stage amidst swirling dry ice and deafening cheers and as the band kick in to ‘(Dead but Dreaming)’, it is with a harder edge than might have been expected, the band attacking the song with genuine vigour, no doubt spurred on by the appreciation of the sweltering crowd. Moving on from ‘Elezium’ to the band’s self-titled effort we get a harrowing rendition of ‘chord of souls’, all jackhammer riffs, ethereal solos and Carl’s inimitable vocals wrapped into a beguiling, gothic package that takes on a frozen aspect as Carl rasps out the song’s refrain of “ice!” over and over again. On this kind of form the Fields of the Nephilim can do no wrong and the night’s third track, ‘for her light’ is a thing of atmospheric, guttural beauty. No one makes music like this and as arcing feedback and huge, droning chords build to a tribal climax, the crowd seem hypnotised by the band’s transcendent power.
As the set continues the Fields take the audience on a dense, dark trip through moonlit countryside and desolated wastelands via classics such as ‘the watchmen’ and the evergreen beast that is ‘psychonaut’ before climaxing with ‘mourning son’. The band leave the stage to a roar that overpowers any attempt to play interim music, only to return for a two track encore that includes a blistering rendition of ‘moonchild’ (YESSS!!!) and ‘Last exit for the lost’. Leaving the stage for the second time there is no doubt in anyone’s minds that the band is on the form of their lives and their career-spanning set highlights just what an important influence on modern music Fields of the Nephilim have been.
Appearing on stage to an ominous intro, the bass washing over the black clad and eager crowd, the band take the stage to the tribal intro and feedback of ‘black cat bone’ from recent effort ‘the brightest light’. Cutting Cure-esque guitar figures, the band provide a tumultuous backdrop for Wayne Hussey who takes the centre stage looking effortlessly cool. ‘Beyond the pale’ similarly sounds cool before things take a turn for the strange and the band kick out the somewhat pop-orientated ‘hands across the ocean’ before the band take a brief pause for Wayne to call out the dick who threw water towards the stage. Returning to the new material we get ‘The girl in a fur skin rug’ which sounds, for all the world, like a slightly heavier version of Suede, whilst ‘everything but the squeal’ showcases the band’s rock ‘n’ roll spirit riding high, as does the band’s reworking of Neil Young’s ‘like a hurricane’ performed in the encore. Bringing proceedings to a close with ‘tower of strength’ was always going to bring the house down, but more than anything else the ‘revelations tour’ demonstrated the lasting resonance of two bands of immense importance. With the venue buzzing and the crowd hell bent on getting as close to the bands as possible, both The Mission and Fields of the Nephilim lived up to their own impressive legacies and dug deep to deliver powerful, well-rounded sets.
Amazing photography courtesy of Jola Stiles