The first act - already on stage when we got there - were The Borg. The small venue was almost filled to the full and the crowd consisted of the expected goth girls, Gary Numan, Brian Molko and Trent Reznor lookalikes, obsessed Mesh fans dressed in everything www.mesh.co.uk has to offer and some older blokes in DM T-shirts with an addition of spiky rucksacks and flourescent sunglasses. In other words - people in black. After buying our drinks (and I must say well done to you Icelandic David Bowie barman - you never kept me waiting for more than two minutes to order my drink which I've never encountered at packed gigs like this before) we faced the stage and could barely see for all the smoke. For god sake the Borg, you are not Sisters of Mercy and there was really no need to get congealed in all that smoke unless of course there was a practical joker amongst the crew. OK, maybe you did want to create a doomsday on a cold day atmosphere, but really, it wasn't working.
In fact by this time the venue was so packed and hot that condensation started dripping from the very low ceiling. The lead singer dressed in a long black leather coat kept wiping off sweat from his bald head every ten seconds or so. And for every sip of water he took there was a mini waterfall streaming from his pores. At the end he had to sacrifice his cool image by taking off his coat, otherwise he would have most probably suffered a heart attack and/or severe dehydration. By the end the audience was in a trance and I noticed I couldn't stop dancing. He almost tricked us as well: long after their set had finished he returned on stage - surely not for an encore. No, he just came back to get his shiny coat.
After a quick visit to the toilet and ordering another drink (standing right next to VNV Nation's frontman by the way) it was time for Greenhaus. These guys are definitely doing something special. Now I knew why there was a guy in a Orbital T-shirt in the audience. Greenhaus sound similar to the dance act, but their stuff is much, much cleverer. Did I mention I started dancing again? It seemed everybody in the small venue was determined to turn the place into a sauna too. Make up was melting and running, leaving little goth girls and boys looking like Siouxie Soux after chopping onions. It was then I noticed through a glass window into the foyer two familiar faces, those of David Gahan and Martin Gore. What were they doing there? Where they here to sabbotage the gig? After all Mesh are known to have stolen more than one of their ideas. I decided to wait and see. What is it again about Mesh that DM members haven't heard before?
Anybody would think this is a religion judging by crowds reaction when Mesh opened with Someone To Believe In. Everybody knowing the lyrics by heart must have made our heroes more than proud of themselves. Heroes nonetheless for wearing those trademark wooly hats in that man-made tropical climate. No signs of suffering on their faces though. Well-known songs like So Important, Self Healing Lie, Needle In a Bruise and People Like Me (With This Gun) kept the audience going. We were also introduced to a few new songs: To Be Alive, Friends Like This and especially I Can't Imagine which made everybody stand still and listen carefully for a moment. It started with a heavy, dark synthesiser sound and I'm sure everybody agreed this song was going to take Mesh into a new direction.
The guy in front of me kept asking worringly: "Is anybody taping this?" At the same time an army of mobile phones was raised into the air and everybody was already singing: "I can't imagine how it hurts, I can't begin to say the words..." The last song before the encore was Trust You and after that they returned to finish it all with Not Prepared. Let me tell you I definitely was not prepared to go home yet. Backstage , I bet David Gahan was nodding his head in approval. These guys were more than just paying homage. Blame it on the really good atmosphere I dare to say they should be crowned the new kings of sound that DM created. Despite this, VNV Nation have nothing to worry about. These wooly hats still can't touch you. This was - and I'm sure all the goths in there would have sworn it on their absinthe spoons - a gig to remember. I want some more.