Live Reviews

Review: Fields of the Nephilim + The Church at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London

On a cold, rainy Wednesday evening I made my way to Shepherds Bush in anticipation of seeing the goth rock legends Fields of the Nephilim for the first time. I had heard lots about the band over the years and their aesthetic resonates with how I enjoy my music: dark and mysterious.

On the way to the venue, the streets were awash with leather rock hats and long coats. Black, purple and red clothing all around and strangely not a single trick or treater in sight… maybe the thought of fallen half angels amongst the mortals was enough to scare them all away.

Inside the venue, the usual merch stand was set up with a great selection of shirts, badges as well as signed copies of Fields of the Nephilim’s 2016 release Prophecy at very reasonable prices. I bought the tour shirt as it was laden with occult symbolism – how I love the symbols…

It wasn’t long before the Australian special guests graced the stage, The Church. This band have been labelled with many different styles over the years and have been going since 1980, but I found them to be essentially a progressive rock band with psychedelic influences. The band were very well received and the venue floor was approximately half full. The crowd enjoyed the music and it was bright, toe-tapping and head-nodding stuff. The setlist consisted of ‘Destination’, ‘Tantalized’, ‘Ripple’, ‘Century’, ‘Reptile’, ‘Toyhead’, ‘Milky Way’ and ‘Miami’.

Darkness ascended and the fog permeated the air all around the stage area. Disconcerting for those at the back of the venue as they looked on to a wall obscuring all sight beyond. Two white lights hit the fog and the guitarists emerged onto the stage as if summoned from the veil beyond. The intro for ‘Harmonica Man’ began and as it ended, the legendary frontman Carl McCoy appeared on stage for ‘Preacher Man’. McCoy’s voice, just as soul penetrating as ever.

The band were on top form and the setlist was a great selection of fan favourites from the back catalogue, celebrating the pagan festival of Samhain AKA Halloween. As expected, the atmosphere was ethereal and made me feel as though I was lost between this world and the one hidden behind it. The setlist also included ‘Trees Come Down’, ‘Endemoniada’, ‘Love Under Will’, ‘Dawn Razor’, ‘Watchman’, ‘Moonchild’, ‘Psychonaut’ and ‘Last Exit’.

It was an absolute treat to see Fields of the Nephilim on Samhain, they seemed in their element and they tailor their set lists to each tour, so what you see this time might not be the same as the next visitation. I would highly recommend them to anyone interested in the darker side of music.

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