Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Wayne Hussey is wonderfully flawed. On his own, or with The Mission, he has never delivered the picture perfect performance, or at least not to the best of my rather limited knowledge, having been stationed on the other end of civilisation for most of his career. This makes him endearing and honest. And last night I was once again fortunate enough to witness and experience one such performance, having had the privilege to "rock out with my Docs out" many years ago when he brought out the full band and Dawnrazor still called Cape Town home. (I know, because he was my major partner in paralytic crime that night, front and centre...).

Except last night was mainly acoustic, completely intimate and Wayne alone, doing a selection of songs from his illustrious career (songs that have informed and influenced the way I attempt to write to this day) as well as a few seemingly cheekily chosen covers. Allow me to lift the veil...

Ashton Nyte, South Africa's favourite son and dark romantic, got proceedings under way with is own set of acoustic gems, spanning an impressive career boasting some 18 albums, the latest of which, Some Kind Of Satellite, he is touring - hence his inclusion in the Hussey roadshow for South Africa. And not a moment too soon! Ashton has been an awesomely accomplished performer for as long as I can remember, but every time I see him on a stage I am even more taken by his charisma and presence. I only have one ... observation. Yes, I get that "that song" put him on the map and brought him to the attention of the local media and fans, but people please! He has consistently released the highest quality material - having written such exquisite songs as Maree and many more. Stop baying for damned 'Sound Of Silence' and appreciate this amazing artist for all that he has to offer.

Anyway, on with the dog 'n' pony show.

Up next, ushered in "Here, have a seat, Mister Huss!"style was, well, Mister Hussey.
Backed by an array of gorgeous guitars, he launched into his stellar back catalogue (as well as some other interesting nuggets and anecdote, most of which were him remembering the shenanigans from his last show in Cape Town, but nothing of The Purple Turtle after party...)
Since I can't possible remember everything, here then, the highlights and various other of my lustrous opinions:

'Severina' was exactly, exactly the way I imagined it would be, stripped of its stadium pomp, it was an understated, but not unassuming jewel, as was the equally austere 'Like A Child Again'.
'Wasteland' was one that I was looking forward to immensely. Wow! What a unique take on one of his biggest classics! Playing an extended version which strayed so far from the original that when he eventually meandered his way back to the memorable chorus, people were actually surprised.
The haunting beauty of 'Tower Of Strength' will stay with me for a long time. I can't really comment more.
Interspersed between these Mission classics, were a number of treasures such as a cover of Echo & The Bunnymen's 'Killing Moon' done on ukelele - smashing! He also snuck in a rather subdued 'Personal Jesus', which worked very well if you prefer the Johnny Cash version to the Depeche Mode dancefloor favourite.
At one stage I found myself outside at the bar, where I was royally entertained by the MC, Danny. So I know for a fact I missed a few songs, and you'll have to forgive me if these were played, but I felt that a trick may have been missed by overlooking 'Grapes Of Wrath' and 'Lovely', both of which make stunning acoustic numbers...
And then he went and did The Cure... Holy Shit! - as in "holy shitting on my holy cows" that is. I cringed my way through whichever song it was that he assaulted, I can't even think which one it was now. Only the Sleepers have ever successfully pulled off a Cure cover.
Also, 'All Along The Watchtower', although given the Mission treatment, just didn't do the song justice, especially since Jimi made it so famous with all his guitar wizardry, spicing up Dylan's doleful dirge.
And then all was forgiven, forgotten and forever consigned to history as closer 'Butterfly On A Wheel' brought the fucking house down! Inviting Ashton back on stage to share vocal responsibilities on what is arguably The Mission's best known title, the crowd was blown away! Ashton's immense vocal capability gave a song I have loved for 2 decades or more an added sheen, a lustre of such blinding brilliance that I sat there awe struck and dumbfounded. Without a doubt, that rendition was one of the highlights of my existence. Bravo! Both of you! For an incredible show!

Anyway, I have to love and leave you. To Jon Monsoon, thank you mate! To ASP Records - congrats on putting on a great show and thank you for bringing out one of my heroes. Again. And Ashton, it was good seeing you again. And to the few unfortunates who didn't book their babysitters late enough, you missed out on one of the singular greatest performances I have ever had the privilege of experiencing. Seriously.

And to my own collaborator-in-chief. I'm truly sorry.

Spread The Love. Just Not Like On Amelia.

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