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Mission - West End Centre, Aldershot, 28/5/2003

  by Julia Willis

published: 18 / 7 / 2003

Mission - West End Centre, Aldershot, 28/5/2003


Julia Willis has been a fan of both Wayne Hussey and the Mission for years, but at the West End Centre in Aldershot she is forced to reflect on how some things aren't meant to last...

Solo tours of ageing frontmen from decades past are volatile beasts to be treated with suspicion: scavenging on morsels thrown by ardent fans, clawing at the already scarred ankles of the way they were once remembered, trading tattered scraps of worn press coverage in back alleys in return for the brief sweet taste of stale adulation. Public and press alike are cruel, fickle masters who’ll grant your heart’s desire so that one day, they can snatch it back, and bait you with the promise that only they can restore the glory, beating you cruelly by reminding you that it was never yours to begin with. I am that bastard. Rarely, very rarely do you leave such a gig grateful that a band you revered in your younger days spawned a frontman so enigmatic, so individually talented that his merits can stand alongside those of the former collective and often, eclipse it. Despite his lavatorial mores, George Michael briefly transcended the embarrassment of Wham, whatever else you may think of him, and despite the press lampooning a penchant for rainforests and jealously documenting tantic sexathons, Sting has produced acclaimed work distinct from the Police, though arguably hasn’t eclipsed his previous incarnation and why would he want to? But McCartney will never be free from Lennon and Jagger just won’t quit. Grohl, however succesful, will always be Nirvana first and foremost in the same way no one’s really noticed that Graham Coxon’s not in Blur anymore. "Don’t-bite-the-hand-that-feeds" sang Miles Hunt solo, before the PR emails went round about the Wonder Stuff reforming for reunion gigs, finally bowing to public demand. Whether or not his reasons are artistically ethical, public and press alike are cruel, fickle masters. With this in mind, you’d think that Wayne Hussey, former frontman of gothic 80's giants the Mission would think twice about flying round town on the shirttails of an era better remembered, not relived. Well, he didn’t and he really, really shouldn’t have. But the lure of becoming the tortured solo artist with something to prove was obviously too strong. The flailing arms of the reverent drunk at the front told a cautionary tale, without even needing to listen to the whole set. When you were young, drinking was glamourous, fun and the vehicle for endless nights of debauched excellence of which you recall with a knowing smile as hangovers begin to last weeks, rather than hours and age begets wisdom. You can’t drink that way forever without running the risk of cruelly withering and gnarling youthful halcyon days of reckless abandon turning into alcoholism. No. Some things aren’t meant to last… The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Matthew Williams

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Mission - West End Centre, Aldershot, 28/5/2003

Mission - West End Centre, Aldershot, 28/5/2003

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