The UK’s most legendary Gothic Rock band extends its Another Fall From Grace tour… with a dry hire lighting package from its long-time production supplier

Last September, The Mission successfully coincided a European tour with the release of their 11th studio album, Another Fall From Grace, which gave the band their first top 40 placing in over 20 years. In May, this recent return to commercial form encouraged the band to put out a limited edition deluxe box set of the album, providing the perfect excuse to extend touring plans with Entec onboard once again in its capacity of lighting provider – a role the company has been proud to maintain on a variety of levels for more than three decades.

George Allen, the band’s manager since 2004, explained: “When we were offered a spot at the Wave-Gotik-Treffen festival in Leipzig in early June, we decided to build a tour around it with another run of European and UK dates in cities that we missed last year.”

After a week of rehearsals at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Wiltshire, Entec delivered its equipment to Silver Gray, the band’s bus supplier in Heathrow, as the band began their tour with a show at The Waterfront in Norwich. In preparation, founding frontman Wayne Hussey, George Allen and lighting designer Paddy Farr reviewed the production design from 2016, and chose to go with a different look. Said Allen: “Wayne wanted more in the way of white light and smoke, and less saturated colours. We also dispensed with the Le Maitre confetti cannons that had been part of Entec’s package last time. It had been fun but we needed to make some changes. Quite frankly, the fans bring enough confetti anyway!”

Supplied as a simple dry hire solution, Entec has provided a package of eight Robe 600 LED Wash moving head luminaries for the current run which, notably features support sets from fellow British goths The Skeletal Family and punk goddess Pauline Murray.

The west London-based company was also instrumental in securing The Mission’s new LD. “I joined the crew last October,” said Paddy Farr. “The job came directly through a chat with Entec who told me that a position with the band was available, so off I went. Having also worked with Fields Of The Nephilim, I’d seen The Mission before so it helped that I knew what they were all about.

“We’ve moved away from the iPix Satellites that we used last year and chose the Robe 600 LED Wash instead which, for me, was a big step forward because they’re so impressive. I have six of them upstage distributed across four upright stands and one at each side, downstage, up-lighting Wayne from floor level, and that’s all the front light I use. I like that level of simplicity.”

During the production review, Wayne Hussey drew inspiration from Jules Fisher’s back-to-basics lighting design for David Bowie’s 1974 Diamond Dogs tour (documented on the album David Live), which majored in white light. Before the show at Oxford’s O2 Academy, Farr commented: “I’d done something similar recently with Slowdive for a webcast they did from The Garage. The video people requested that I abstained from using vivid colour, so I ended up using lots of hot whites, cold whites, red whites, and so on. I liked it so much that I’ve taken that approach here. There’s so much you can do with white! That said, there are a couple of moments where I revert to deep blues for things like quieter acoustic numbers and greens for ’Serpent’s Kiss’, but that’s about it.”

While the Robe fixtures remain in place on the tour, Farr otherwise relies on house rigs from venue to venue for the remainder of the lighting. The same applies with his control desk although the Avolites Pearl 2008 provided by Entec means that the LD has a range of options at hand. “Tonight in Oxford,” he said, “I’m running the show from the in-house LD’s ChamSys MagicQ which is one of my preferred models.”

As Hussey and his colleagues Craig Adams (bass), Simon Hinkler (guitar), Mike Kelly (drums) and backing vocalist Evi Vine treated fans to a wealth of classic songs, the backdrop of the Another Fall From Grace album cover served as a reminder that this band is as relevant as ever. On most dates, it is a constant feature throughout the show until the closing anthem, ‘Wasteland’, the first chorus of which sees an Entec-supplied Electro Kabuki system reveal an all-white drape boldly stating “The Mission Since 1986”. “The double Kabuki drop provides one of my favourite parts of the show,” claimed George Allen. “It’s unfortunate that we can’t use it at every venue, due to some width constraints. Nevertheless, it’s a real highlight.”

As well as managing The Mission’s day-to-day business affairs, Allen assumes the role of tour manager when the band is on the road. “There are 14 people in this entourage, including the band,” he said. “And because we’re all on the one bus I also get lumbered with the production aspects with the help of our techs.

“The great thing about working with Entec is that as soon as they’ve delivered the kit, they don’t usually reappear on my radar until the end of the tour. In my experience, there’s never been anything to be concerned about because if any issues ever arise they take things very seriously, very quickly, without any fuss.”

The band’s leading light, Mr. Hussey is in agreement: “Entec and [assistant head of lighting] Adam Stevenson have been permanent fixtures all the way through, since 1986. Invariably, he’s my first port of call whenever we are preparing for a tour and, naturally, [MD] Noreen O’Riordan is also involved. I’m not going to go anywhere else; it wouldn’t make any sense. Entec are always fair with us on costs, the equipment is the best you can get and so is the service. They’re part of the family.”

The Mission will join The Tubes as special guests on Alice Cooper’s arena tour this November.

Photography by Mark Cunningham