Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Mission UK at Irving Plaza

Wayne Hussey of the Mission UK
Vocalist Wayne Hussey and bassist Craig Adams left the Sisters of Mercy in their native England in late 1985 with the intention of forming a new gothic rock band. They formed the Sisterhood in 1986, soon to be renamed The Mission. In the United States, that name was already taken by a Philadelphia-based band, so the British band was renamed The Mission UK on American shores. The band enjoyed some success in England, but lost its spark and split apart by 1996. Hussey assembled a new lineup under the same name in 1999, and lasted until 2008. Hussey repackaged another version of the brand in 2011. Altogether, the Mission UK recorded 12 albums including The Brightest Light, which becomes available on September 13.  The Mission UK presently consists of Hussey, Adams, longtime member Simon Hinkler on lead guitar and new member Mike Kelly on drums.

The Mission UK’s performance at Irving Plaza tonight was the first New York concert for the since about 1998, Hussey told the audience. Originally a gothic rock band playing a lot of industrial music, the band has morphed into a fairly mainstream band. As in the past, both old and new songs maintained a strong rock dance beat, but the former cutting edge sound was replaced by and large with a more conventional sound. The band included rocking covers of Neil Young’s “Like a Hurricane” and Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” into its set. The band’s biggest problem, however, was that Hussey was unable to reproduce his former dark, hyper-masculine, Billy Idol-type vocals. The performance had enough of the old sound to enthuse its cult following, but now sounding more like a fine but somewhat ordinary rock band with few remarkable features, it may be challenging for the Mission UK to pick up a new audience.

Visit the band at