The O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London

The Fields Of The Nephilim

It is three days before Christmas and there is a light dusting of self-raising flour on the ground, as it is once again time for gothic royalty, Fields of the Nephilim’s now annual Saturnalia (an ancient Roman festival in honour of the God, Saturn). The band have only played a handful of dates this year and this is the only London date of 2017, so the O2 Forum in Kentish Town is completely packed. It reminds me a little of when the original line-up played here and filmed their iconic “Forever Remain” video in 1988, except most of us are now a lot older. Before the headline band take to the stage, we have a couple of hand-picked bands to warm us up ready for the main event.

First up is Salvation, a band from Leeds who have toured with The Alarm and The Mission, as well as headlining many shows over the years. They are also no strangers to Fields Of The Nephilm as they have shared the stage with them several times before. Opening with “The Answer” from their 1986 “Seek” EP, the band sound on fine form with their psychedelic sounding twin guitars. Vocalist Daniel Mass apologises to the London crowd saying he is suffering from the lurgy, he need not have as his voice sounds fine, belting out tunes such as “Thunderbird” and “All & More”. Much of the audience know the lyrics and join in with the band on a very pleasant trip down memory lane.

Salvation 12345678910

Things really get started when the Skeletal Family take to the stage, they inject a huge amount of energy into proceedings, really warming up the crowd with their infectious enthusiasm. The original line up of the band started in Yorkshire in 1982 amongst a bustling goth scene taking their name from a David Bowie song, “Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family” from the 1974 album “Diamond Dogs”. The flame-haired Anne-Marie Hurst stalks every inch of the large stage belting out huge vocals to tunes like the epic “Celebrate” and “She Cries Alone”. Stan Greenwood’s epic guitar sound atmospherically fills the big music hall while Roger and Adrian dutifully keep perfect rhythm. They end their set with the iconic “Promised Land” which gets the excited crowd moving. The four-piece leave the stage for a massive amount of appreciative applause.

Skeletal Family
Skeletal Family 12345678

As masses of customary dry ice billows over the stage, the familiar intro of “Dead but Dreaming” marks the arrival of this much-loved band. They have a beautiful knack for commanding a certain atmosphere with just their music. The band barely communicate with each other throughout the gig and iconic frontman Carl McCoy rarely speaks a word apart from the odd “thank you” or “goodnight”. They create a mystical aura about themselves with their songs, taking influence from the dark arts and the very controversial works of Aleister Crowley. This aside, their music is totally uplifting and you cannot help being taken in by epic tunes like “Dawnrazor” and the totally dazzling “Psychonaut”, which sees a mass of bodies moving together, lifting their hands high into the air celebrating the great feeling this music provides.

Fields Of The Nephilim
Fields Of The Nephilim 12345678910

Over the past few years the band’s output has certainly slowed and with only one new track, “Prophecy” released during that time, you cannot but wish to be hearing some new material. For most people though, the older material is what they have come to hear, along with a few surprises such as “Vet For The Insane” and “DarkCell AD” and most are completely satisfied. During the encore we are treated to a monumental version of “Last Exit for the Lost” which sees Carl unusually at the front of the stage with his arms stretched out, encouraging the audience. The set ended with a reworking of “Celebrate” which gives some lovely atmospheric sounds using a 12-string guitar and an Ebow. The band exit the stage with the crowd giving them the adulation that they fully deserve after a stunning performance … happy Saturnalia to you all!!

Set Lists
Fields Of The Nephilim
(Dead But Dreaming)
At the Gates of Silent Memory
Love Under Will
Zoon (Part 3) (Wake world)
Mourning Sun
Vet for the Insane
Darkcell AD
Last Exit For The Lost
Encore 2

Skeletal Family
So Sure
She Cries Alone
Far & Near
Hands on the Clock
The Last Train
Promised Land

The Answer
Diamond Child
Pearl Necklace
The Shining
All & More
Listen to Her Heart
Why Lie



Words & Videos by David Chinery
Pictures by Jon Musselwhite

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace