Wednesday, 19 February 2014

'Tower Of Strength' - The Mission (1987)

“And you’re true to me,
And still I need more”

If you were looking for me on a Saturday night in 1987/88, the best place to start would have been The Astoria. Formerly on Charing Cross Road. Now dust on the wind. (Oh, how very poetic. Wayne Hussey would surely approve.) And much missed.

Not my pic. Happy to remove if anyone wants to claim it.

Snake-dancing to All About Eve. Moshing to The Wonder Stuff. Choking on dry ice to The Nephilim. So very many formative gig experiences happened for me within its dark-to-the eye and tacky-to-the-touch walls. Most always in the company of my cousins or my friend Chris. We’d go back to school the following Monday laden with tales of taking an elbow to the face from a zealous stage-diver during ‘Too Many Castles In The Sky’ by Rose of Avalanche, while our classmates talked about a great pair of Hi-Tecs they’d bought in Farnborough. Could never understand why others didn’t want to share our world. “Hey, I got elbowed in the face. You don’t see the great joy of life in that? No?” 

Let’s avoid making a list. But if we were making a list, and it was called ‘Bands I Saw Most Often At The Astoria’, then straddling the misty peak like a gothic colossus would be (you guessed it) The Mission. They seemed to be the house band in those years. Even when they weren’t actually on the bill, various band members would pop up on stage for other people’s shows. And every time I saw them was a petal-strewn delight.       

My final visit to The Astoria was for Kate Nash, Soko and Noah & The Whale. In 2008. There had been almost a twenty-year gap. But nothing had seemingly changed. Those walls were as dark and tacky as ever. Except, I noticed for the first time there was a balcony. It must have always been there, but us teenage goths had no time for balconies. Now none of it remains. Pushed aside to become an underground station entrance when they finally finish rebuilding Tottenham Court Road. Unlike all the ‘80s bands I saw there that have since come back together, this is one icon that unfortunately we won’t get to see reform.   

Oh, yes - those beloved multi-formats.
Here's the limited 12-inch Bombay Mix.

With insert and sticker.

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