The Cult + The Mission @ O2 Academy, Birmingham – Saturday 15th September 2012

When this tour was announced it was announced as a UK arena tour. Three classic indie, alternative, rock, goth bands. The Cult, The Mission and Killing Joke. All on one bill. Wow! At The LG Arena – huh? Slightly confused by this – whilst The Cult and The Mission in their hey-day did indeed fill the NEC as it was known then, could they really fill it now? Well the answer became clear – the tour was downgraded to the more intimate 02 Academies across the country. These they did indeed, unsurprisingly, sell out. Then there was the further adventures of Killing Joke. Lead singer Jaz Coleman suddenly mysteriously disappeared to the concerns of the band and then equally suddenly re-appeared in Africa. A web post appeared, allegedly from Coleman, berating The Cult and not wanting to be part of this tour. Apparently a fake post – whatever the story – sadly Killing Joke are no longer a part of this and as we enter the main Academy room we are greeted with a little sign stating no Killing Joke and that The Mission and The Cult will be playing extended sets.

The stage is darkened, spotlights on the band and dry ice everywhere, The Mish, Hussey still in black, now grey-haired but still wearing those shades: “Cheers, thank you very much… I’ve been told to keep it short between songs – someone reckoned I talk to much…” He announces a new song ‘Falling’ to which the crowd cheekily boo. With this being a ‘double headliner’ gig you get two batches of fans, those for each band. Some talk while the Mish are on, clearly waiting for The Cult — bless, the goths have grown up – parents with kids, the odd punk, the odd goth in hat and black shades.

Hussey is clearly enjoying the gig, his voice is well on form – ‘Sacrilege ‘ gets a cheer, ‘Wasteland’ gets the crowds arms waving; someone throwing the traditional paper pieces in the air. No ‘towers’ of people, this is the Academy, health and safety rules, the odd person on a shoulder get a security guard shining a torch on them. So much for the good old days, when the ‘towers’ were layered four ‘storeys’ high with people. ‘Deliverance’ gets everyone singing along, a quick break then to Hussey once again: “ Thank you… we will be back soon… December…. I’ve a meeting Monday morning …. with Carl McCoy.” (So speculation of a double ‘goth’ headliner – The Mish and The Fields of the Nephilim then). Next up their version of Neil Young’s ‘Like a Hurricane’ before another quick break, as Hussey returns to the stage, he nicks a hat from the audience, akin with black scarf. He pops it on, before circulating it to another band member. For the finale we get an extended, extended rendition of ‘Tower of Strength’ to which the crowd enthusiastically join in. An enjoyable set, while they may have been away for a while, they certainly haven’t lost it.

So as the audience swaps, The Mish fans vacating the front of the stage to be replaced by Cult ones, the break between bands is supposed to be about 30 minutes. A slow hand clap starts from the fans, and heading towards a 50 minute interval, The Cult appear, introduced by a dancey Native American chant. The enigmatic Astbury’s hair is slicked back, in shades and fur-collared coat, tambourine in hand. Duffy, the underrated class guitarist that he is, strikes the cords and we’re into ‘Lil Devil.’ The crowd cheer as they do all night. After the psychedelic ‘Rain’ from the ‘Love’ album – Astbury says “Good evening (to a place that didn’t sound like Birmingham!)” in his full on American drawl. The set features new tracks from new album – ‘Choice of Weapon’ – Astbury: “This is for the survivors…. We are the come back kids….”, as well as classics from throughout their career. But don’t expect ‘Resurrection Joe’ which gets a swift brush off from Astbury as an audience member requests it.

This is a five date tour – Killing Joke didn’t make it, but have been out and about gigging recently with new material in tow. The Mish, after a hiatus (Hussey declared in 2008 it was the end of the band) have clearly enjoyed this little tour and are putting together new material and sounds like they will be back in Birmingham soon. The Cult have become perennial tourers, appearing on the gigging scene pretty regularly. While their arena days in the UK are behind them – they still put on a class show. Duffy’s guitar riff intro’s on tracks like ‘Lil Devil’ and ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ will send the hackles up on the back of your neck.

This was a nostalgia tour, with a smattering of the new – worth £35? Well tonight’s gig, regardless of the pre-history of venues and line-ups, sold out. All three bands (here tonight or not) loved or hated in equal measure, are well worth seeing in their own headlining right. They’ll be back — take a peek.

The Mission:

  1. Beyond the Pale
  2. Hands Across the Ocean
  3. Naked and Savage
  4. Severina
  5. Butterfly on a Wheel
  6. Falling
  7. Sacrilege
  8. Belief
  9. The Crystal Ocean
  10. Wasteland
  11. Deliverance


  1. Like a Hurricane

Encore II:

13. Tower of Strength


The Cult:

  1. Lil Devil
  2. Rain
  3. Honey from a Knife
  4. Nirvana
  5. Embers
  6. Fire Woman
  7. Horse Nation
  8. Lucifer
  9. The Phoenix
  10. The Wolf
  11. Life is Better than Death
  12. Rise
  13. For the Animals
  14. Spiritwalker
  15. Wild Flower
  16. She Sells Sanctuary


  1. Love Removal Machine

Review: Zyllah Moranne-Brown



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1 thought on “The Cult + The Mission @ O2 Academy, Birmingham – Saturday 15th September 2012

  1. Great review as ever, I have to admit I was looking forward to seeing all three, but KJ would have blown both the Mish and Cult away, however, The Mish did what they always do and were excellent. The Cult were better than expected, thanks to a superb set and Mr Duffy (who looks more like the son of Gordon Ramsey each year), but Mr Astbury seems to have lost his vocal range.

    A superb night, up the front like the old days, but with ear-plugs in and ralgex for the knees

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