see all the photos from this concert here

Dream Disciples
Whitby Gothic Weekend
Saturday 24th April 2004
~review and photos by Duncan Bryceland

The renowned Whitby Gothic Weekend is set in a breathtaking location on an idyllic coastal sea town in north east England, which is of course known for it¹s historical connections to Bram Stoker's Dracula and Captain Cook.  Although there are plenty of bands and events over the three day gothic-extravaganza, we are here predominately to witness the final gig of the Dream Disciples.

Support band Libitina come on just as the crowd starts to arrive, but their monotone droney vocals, seemingly obligatory drum machine and spacious sound produces a grating and dated 80's gothic sound that is less than inspiring.  Although their take of Pulp's "Common People", now renamed "Gothic People" may be catchy, sadly this gothic karaoke number is the highlight of a rather drab set.

This is the last gig of a ten date European tour for headliners The Mission and the veteran gothic rock outfit seem to want to go out with a bang. They swagger through more rockier and at times rawer renditions of classic songs like "Crystal Ocean", "Serpents Kiss" and "Wasteland", and more contemporary numbers "Evangeline" and "Slave To Lust" with intoxicating efficiency, but the highlights are undoubtedly an emphatic "Tower Of Strength" and a rousing "Deliverance".

The Dream Disciples started out over 14 years ago, having initially been influenced by bands like The Mission, the irony being that it takes their swansong for them to finally share the billing with their once mentors. The Disciples have of course transformed from their early gothic-pop-rock sound, to a more innovative hybrid of genre breaking, electro-goth and industrial-rock and that is why travelling a 500 mile round trip to see this fantastic band on their final outing is worth every mile.

With the venue packed and with a rather over the top introduction from a somewhat camp compere, the Dream Disciples take to the stage to a deafening reception.  "Good evening Whitby, this is the end!" declares vocalist Colin Lowing as they energetically launch into "Black Widow". The fast n' frantic "The Enemy" is accompanied by fit inducing strobes, which competes with the intensity of the amphetamine-fueled "Cobalt (Blue)", illustrating why the DD's have been one of the most exciting bands on the live circuit.

There seems to be a relaxed, if not an almost party atmosphere and a real connection between band and audience as the frontman invites the crowd to sing the chorus of "Care Of The Devil", joking afterwards "that was the jazz version". To prove this isn't a time for mourning, but rather a time for celebration of the DD's prolific career, a cocktail waitress, complete with basque, high heels and feather headgear comes onstage to serve mid set refreshment of pints of gin and tonic to the band, "gin anyone?" asks the guitarist Sid as the band slide into the passion laced and wonderfully grandiose gothic romanticism of "Aradia".

The tightly coiled "Veins" unleashes into a ferocious live number, with the power surge of the duel guitars of the eclectic "Velvethead" making it a surprise stand out, but it's the dark electro grooves of the club hit "Room 57" that enthrals the captivated audience, igniting and activating the crowd as the floor is packed with Goths of all persuasions feverishly dancing to end a brilliant set. With the crowd not just shouting for an encore, but rather demanding one, the DD's return, responding unequivocally with the dark riffage of their Industrial slanted rendition of Blondieís "Atomic". As the enthusiastic frontman announces "We¹re going to end, how we started"  the seminal gothic-rock anthem "Pray" carries the ecstatic crowd along on a euphoric wave, raising the roof to end the gig and their career on a spectacular high.

The fans still incessantly shouting for more, seem oblivious, or perhaps just refusing to hear Colinís poignant last words of "Thank you Whitby, Good-bye!". With the Dream Disciples more popular than ever on this, their final gig, irony seems to be the theme of the night. A sublime performance and a memorable night.

see all the photos from this concert here

The Mission:
The Dream Disciples:
Whitby Gothic Weekend:
Duncan Bryceland: